Hibernation: A state of inactivity. To spend the winter in a dormant condition, as bears and certain other animals, i.e. NASCAR fans.
It happens every year, after spending 38 weeks with some of my most favorite men, that final race feels like a break up of sorts. With any break up, we all go through a grieving process and sort out our feelings in our own familiar ways. My way is to shut down the hurt, sleep a lot and try like hell to keep myself occupied with a myriad of other activities during the waking hours.
Since my last article and the end of the season I have moved into a new home, so I've spent lots of time that I will never get back unpacking and decorating. Something that is nearly as painful to me as a true break up. Thanks to the flu season I have also racked up lots of overtime working in the ER.
Basically I've managed to stumble aimlessly through the off season by preoccupying myself with everyday tasks. This kind of existence may work for most of the public, but not so much for me. I need my NASCAR!
Sure, in my groggy state of mind there were misty water-colored of the way we were. I recently spotted Tony Stewart's mug on a discounted can of Van Camp's baked beans at the grocery store. Although those beans probably have a shelf life of 10 years, the discerning NASCAR connoisseur knows that anything with Tony dressed in the bright orange hues of his Home Depot fire suit is so last year!
Out with the old, in with the new. Red is the new orange. It is time to pick up the pieces an move on!
This week finally felt like a reawakening. Through bad behavior (thanks Tony Stewart for making that socially acceptable), I was able to get my NASCAR synapses firing again. I was called out of town for a family emergency.
During my hibernation I haphazardly allowed both my license plates AND inspection lapse. I knew that I would be taking a chance by driving long distance, but for family the reward far outweighed the risk, so I channeled my inner Steve McQueen and flippantly got behind the wheel.
I made it to my destination by flying under the radar and irreverently drove all over town patting myself on the back each time I managed to evade the police. For a short time I fought the law, but of course, as always, the law won!
I made it back to Northern Virginia on Sunday unscathed, but just five miles from home I saw those familiar blue lights flashing in my rear view mirror. I pulled over with driver's license in hand, I knew what was coming. I drove away with a fistful of tickets for all my wrongs, but in some twisted way I felt oh so right, like an all American rebel!
With 31 days until Daytona and just 24 days until the Bud Shootout, I figured it was high time that I got back into a NASCAR state of mind and let the driving be handled by true professionals.
So with that, I'm back! I've emerged from my vegetative state, cleared out the cobwebs in my mind, and am ready to start writing again.
Here's to kicking off the 2009 NASCAR season together. It's going to be another great ride!
"Ground control to Major Tom. Commencing countdown, engines on. Check ignition and may God's love be with you."