Race weekend preparations are stressful. For all of us.
Here’s the Coles Notes version:
- The race car isn’t working.
- It needs to be track ready in less than two days.
- The part that ‘s [insert: busted/missing/too small/obsolete/unavailable except if shipped from California at great expense] has yet to materialize but there’s some wily plan unraveling that will make it do so in the nick of time.
- The Gearhead skips meals in order to gain time twisting wrenches, then arrives at the dinner table with grease covered hands, hair spiked electric, a purple face, low blood sugar and a temper you could light a greenwood fire with…from a distance of several meters.
- The children, sensing an easy challenge, make a game of it.
- The Gearhead accuses you [wife edits: repeatedly] about not offering your support. He means going to the track with him. You avoid this as much as possible. [Gearhead edits: Why?] [Wife edits: read through each bullet carefully then start at the beginning and read through again. Repeat as necessary.]
- You grit your teeth and hold the biting comment about your emptying bank account, let’s call it support. Chomp on your tongue until it bleeds.
- Relish the taste of blood, the sound of it beating between your ears, and the silence you’re able to muster, ringing like church bells sounding heroism.
- The Gearhead hands you his race weekend shopping list. It includes steak and shrimp and garlic and butter. Also, snickers bars, potato chips, and oddly, candied smoked salmon.
- You think about mentioning your swindling [wife edits: ha, Freudian slip! Gotta keep that one in], dwindling bank account. But you wouldn’t be heard above the cursing, swearing, banging and clanging Gearhead, who straddles the race car, inappropriately, outside your front door. [wife edits: yes, that word is meant to be ambiguous].
- Refrain from asking if he missed the caviar and oysters on his list. Head to the cool, muzak-filled, fluorescent-calmed grocery store. Consider lying down horizontally among the steaks and raw chicken legs in the freezer section. Remember how you actually did that once, in your twenties, with a couple of old friends, high on sex and drugs and rock and roll. Try not to cry.
- Yell at the children to help load the race car into the trailer. Note that your patience has flown away. It shimmers in front of you, silvery and taunting, like a vitriolic fairy. After turning your back for a moment, the race car begins to roll away down the driveway. The children, charged with holding the car in place are distracted: one is climbing the lilac tree; the other is texting. Scream at them to watch the worth of their university educations roll into a ditch. Marvel at how the Gearhead dives at the front rubber tire, arresting disaster. Well, at least the impending physical one.
- Hold your breath while the Gearhead maneuvers the truck and trailer out the driveway. Pray he hasn’t forgotten anything.
- Head inside and breathe deeply. Prepare to repeat for the next race weekend.
Then I usually head into the back garden, pick what needs preserving [wife edits: including myself], and begin the methodical, restorative process of canning or pickling. This weekend it’s tomatoes. Probably next weekend too. Only two more race weekends to go before season’s end. I’m still considering the freezer… [Wife edits: for tomato sauce. Wink.]