Cupid drives a stock car
April E. Clark
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
I’ve tiptoed away from the Valentine’s Day holiday weekend learning two life lessons.
One involves NASCAR. The other has to do with Canada.
I should preface the first story with a few facts. I’m an Indiana girl. Therefore, I have an ingrained appreciation for Indy Car racing. Big Ten basketball. And sweet corn on the cob. Typically, NASCAR has not been my thing. I’ve always preferred my racecars as close to the track as possible. Sexy and streamlined.
Just how I like my corn.
Up until a few days ago, I still treated NASCAR as my least favorite Barbie doll. I liked the outfits, but I wasn’t so interested in playing. Then I discovered Jimmie Johnson.
Dave Matthews meets Speed Racer.
Why no one turned me on to the marvel that is Jimmie Jonson’s racing team until now is beyond me. It’s as if everyone was in on the funniest joke in the entire world and I was the only one who wasn’t. It’s as if the biggest slumber party of my fifth-grade year was happening, and I was the only one uninvited. It’s as if Dave Matthews were actually a famous fencer and I’ve been ignoring the sport this whole time.
It’s actually quite possible.
Jimmie Johnson is all that is right in the world. And to think, every weekend he’ll be out there racing around the track in his blue and white car. With Jimmie Johnson out there to root for, I could watch a NASCAR race any day of the week.
Jump back 48 hours.
Looks like my Valentine’s Day will be spent watching the Daytona 500. I have yet to see Jimmie Johnson race. But I’m a Danica Patrick fan, so this NASCAR stuff could be bearable. Why stock car racing on the most romantic day of the year? I’ve offered to help nurse a friend who possibly blew out his knee skiing. Of course there’s nothing else on TV on Feb. 14 but the Daytona 500.
Sometimes I’m too nice.
On this day, I am being nice because I believe in karma. And I know my friend is not feeling so cheery. This is because in Colorado in the winter, any time the words “blown out” are used in the same sentence as “knee,” it’s never good. That can be a season ender and that’s unfair when it’s only February. This is the equivalent of getting knocked out of race after a wreck in the first turn. So I felt it was best to be nice and let the patient pick the programming.
Luckily an episode of “The Bachelor” is in my future.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day while watching a NASCAR race is like eating corned beef and cabbage while planting a tree on Arbor Day. To make such a wrong a right, I started really paying attention to the flags and how they are a lot like love’s signs.
If only relationships were more like racing.
In racing, the green flag is a go. This is the moment when a guy asks for a girl’s number. This is when the girl accepts the date. This is a first kiss that leads to a second.
This is when the getting’ gets good.
Along comes a yellow flag. This means caution. Hazard on the track. Ex-boyfriend showing up at the same places. Ex-girlfriend sending a text out of nowhere. This flag doesn’t mean the race is done. It’s just a temporary solution to a little trouble in paradise.
Muck like “The Break” made famous in that “Friends” episode.
The red flag is never a welcome sight. This means emergency, rain delay, a cease in return of text messages. The situation could be in peril and the only saving grace involves flowers sent to her work and a homemade meal for him followed by a sifter of Scotch.
Or, in racing’s case, a tarp.
In true romantic form, the white flag always saves the day. This is racing’s cue there’s one more lap to go in the race. A bride wears white on her wedding day. See the connection?
OK, that might be a stretch.
When the race is done, the checkered flag flies. In love, these are called divorce papers.
In both scenarios, someone’s usually getting a big payout.
That’s about as romantic as racing.
April E. Clark also learned that Canada loves Anne Murray. Forever. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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