That’s what Thomas Wolfe once said. And Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” And I am sure I could find a hundred other quotes about how we are constantly changing and everything is different from second to second. But it was Andrew Lloyd Webber (via Glenn Close) that said this:
P.S. Listen to the song – it’s great. And she’s great in it.
And every time I go back to racing, despite whatever cerebral fears I have about being unwelcome, or having lost my speed, and no matter how long it’s been since I have walked a course or sat in a race seat, it’s as if I never said goodbye.
This past weekend, I helped out at a rookie school, and I was late to the party, so there were more than enough instructors. I ended up doing registration and working the grid for one of the elements (aka, telling people when it was their turn). I didn’t get to ride along, I barely got to walk the course, and the most information I got was in the form of two ride-alongs, both of which I was trying to figure out why a certain element was so freaking confusing. I’ll spare you the details, but it was not a great visual.
Someone I’d never met (but somehow knew me) came over and offered me a ride in his car at the end of the day, when volunteers are allowed to take fun runs. He’s a relative newcomer (one season under his belt), but he’s hooked and wanted an “experienced driver’s opinion” on the new setup.
I was afraid I’d be super slow, but I ended up reverting back to my old habits, and beat the other person (who is generally much faster, and a guy) driving the car. I was afraid my driving style wouldn’t suit this car, but it was actually a lot better than I’d thought. We’d each had two tries, and I matched his time and then beat him. It felt good, and I felt at home. I was one with the car, and while it was a new meeting, we were talking and dancing together.
At dinner, we had a lot of fun reminiscing, telling stories, and getting back in the swing of things. I realized that the best thing about racing is that if you truly love it, it becomes part of you, and will always be your home.
No matter how much time I spend away from it, or how much I tell myself I don’t need it, racing brings me back to center. It helps me focus, and makes me happy. My friends are there, my heart is in the driving, and despite taking a good 1.5 seasons off, it’s as if I never said goodbye.