A long time ago, I used to race cars.
Okay, well maybe not that long ago. The last national event was at the end of July in 2014, and the last event I went to was in November. But it feels like forever ago. With the abrupt change in my social group, I did not spend the off-season talking about the new cars, classes, and upgrades. I didn’t spend the long winter nights planning competition strategy over beers and BBQ. I didn’t spend my downtime at work pouring over racing forums (ok, well I did that a little), talking about racing because I couldn’t actually race, while the blizzards raged on outside.
As the season starts this coming weekend, I’m feeling a pang of sadness, as I won’t be participating as much, if at all, this year. And I didn’t realize just how much I’d miss it until I had to fix my car in a parking lot.
In 2008, after securing my first real job, I bought my “I made it!” car. I realize how sad this is now, because she’s basically a glorified Sentra: A 1999 Infiniti G20t. Her name is Baby G, and she honestly wants to live, but she’s on life support. I am trying to make her as comfortable as possible, so I do try to check on her often. And this past weekend, when I turned to look to see if she’d be ok in the parking lot by herself, one of her tires looked….off. So I broke out my trusty tire pressure gauge (a begrudging Christmas present from my parents) and checked. I was 5 psi low! And so out came the portable air compressor (something my grandmother was loathe to purchase for me), and I filled the tire with air. Several people watched me for the whole seven minutes, mouths hanging open and gaping in disbelief. It isn’t every day you see a preppy little Asian girl in dress boots, surrounded by tools, getting dirty while kneeling on the ground, and not thinking anything of it.
The thing is, it felt natural, and comfortable to me. This wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. It’s what I’m used to, what I’ve always done. And then it hit me. I really do love racing, and I’m really going to miss it. No more airing up tires. No more reaching into gas tanks to find a rubber seal. No more emergency clutch repair in the middle of an event. I feel as though that part of my life is over – it’s been ripped away. And that makes me pretty sad.
I’m hoping there’s something new on the horizon – something for me to jump into – but until then, at least I can take care of Baby G.