The worst part, as I have mentioned, is trying to sleep, and waking up in the box, near coffin, like bunk bed in the camper. Yes, it does have a full size bed, but that is my son’s bed and the confines of the bunk does block most of the frigid air my son insists on filling the camper with. Well, would have if the generator had not run out of gas during the night. Saturday morning, buried under blankets I woke to the sounds of rain filling the silence of no generator running. Managing to unwrap and untangle my arm from the covers, I pushed the curtain of the small window and looked out at a miserably grey sky and the trails of raindrops down the pane. Shoving the covers aside I turned myself into an amateur contortionist and escaped the box.
I made my way to the table and taking a seat pushed the blinds up to look out at a day that did not look promising. Even my son was looking out on the day through the window near his bed. Had we come all this way to be denied the race? My son stood and opened the door, the distant sounds of the track driers drifted across the field. They were trying. My son kept reminding me that the track at Atlanta was supposed to be some state of the art track, so maybe. Then it started raining again. Not hard, not storming, just a good summer shower ruining any progress the driers had made.
At one point my son mentioned that the track had a free breakfast but we only had an hour to get there. Dressing quickly I grabbed my bag and phone and we headed for food. It was simple but good. Scrambled eggs, sausage link, and biscuits and gravy. While we ate we listened to the conversations going on around us, then headed back to the camper through misting rain.
That was how the morning went. It would rain, it would stop, you could hear the driers and it would rain again.
My son, after making a trip for more fuel for the generator, turned on the television. He brought up a streaming site and we watched movies. Until that moment, I had not seen any of the Avenger movies. I can’t say that now, because now I have seen how Ironman came to be and the one where the Hulk body slammed the weak god Loki a few times into the pavement. But, is it just me, that had thoughts of the original Star Trek running through my mind when the Avengers were arguing amongst themselves in the room with Loki’s staff. The anger that seemed amplified as the staff drew the bad guys to their location. Maybe that was just me.
Finally, we began to see breaks in the clouds. Qualifying and practice had been canceled but maybe we would still get to see the Xfinity race. We wandered over to the track and strolled around the fan zone. The friends we were meeting called, they had brought something that needed to go into the camper. My son was watching a band playing and asked if I would go meet them as he really wanted to see this concert. Taking the keys I looked at him, asking if he really trusted me to not get lost. Assuring me I’d be fine, I took his word and headed back toward the camper. Once I could see where the shower building was I knew I was good. Making it to the camper I opened it up and put what they had brought in the fridge. The one that wasn’t working since the power was off but, oh well.
I grabbed the sunscreen and a tea that had been in the cooler and headed back. Months ago I had purchased a pair of inexpensive, safety type, sunglasses. I love those things. They may not be the coolest in appearance, but they have done what I needed them to do. Even when there was no threat to anything blowing in my eyes, I wore them.
Entering through the gate we headed off to find our seats. Along the way we came upon a group who were handing out cooling towels that had been soaked in ice water. I could not pass that up and snagged one for me and one for my son. The son who acted uninterested at first but was glad later to have the thing. I was excited to find our seats were right on the start finish line about half way up the stands.Our seats were over next to the far end of the row, a family of three had the outside seats. I did not have a cushion so after a while, those stand seats get uncomfortable. The rain clouds had fully moved on and the sun pounding down was making itself well known. Yes, even slathered in sunscreen, I burned. Even using sunscreen of a very high protection number, I burned. Because I am somewhat fair skinned? Because of any of the many weather, global, ozone reasons? I don’t know, I only know I burned.
The race was okay. I don’t recall who won, but I enjoyed the show. I was somewhat entertained and at the same time annoyed by the guy across the way from us who was obviously not happy about his driver’s showing. He stood up at one point and did not sit back down. His theatrics and physical demonstrations though not angry or threatening, showed his frustrations. I was alternating between trying to see the track past him and watching him.
An observation I have about NASCAR and racing in general, we gather in mass to watch the drivers battle to accomplish a treasured feat. In life, we often stand and watch others as they work toward their goals. In the race, drivers start out together in mass, in that mass, there are often wrecks. Some times they collide, sometimes they slide off into the grass, sometimes they slam into a wall. Humans, in their desire to reach what they desire, often do similar. They collide with others seeking the same goals. Disagreeing on methods and means and how to attain results. Some may slide off to the side, giving up the effort, disappointed in the results they are getting. Others, may find the methods they chose have them slamming into walls, stopping them from reaching what they desire. They may find the delay momentary, any damage slight and fixable. They may also find themselves in a position of being out of contention, for this prize.
There we are, the audience, the observers, the ones in the stands either cheering them on or shouting our dislike. Being there as part of the problem or part of the solution. We shout and offer encouragements to the ones we like. Waving banners as they pass. Many times smirking at the less than amazing performance of those who have fallen out of favor. Even as they tried their best. Tools may have failed them. Actions may have been blocked in various ways. They simply were not strong enough at this moment, failing through actions or inaction. Yet, even though they may not have won, they actually did not fail. As long as they use every experience as a learning moment. As long as they take what happened and build on the good and remove the not so good.
And us the observer, need to find less pleasure in the crash and burn, and use what we have, to help build up and encourage those around us. Life really isn’t a race, it doesn’t matter when we arrive at the finish line. It is a journey in which what we do along the way is what matters. It is those we help, those we encourage, those we stand with, that matters in the long run. Also knowing, that as we travel this journey, there will be times, that no matter the precautions and preparations, we will get burned. It is how we treat that burn and lesson that matters.