Day two of “official” live-blogging the Trip.
Lisa would’ve been shocked. I had dinner last night at Duke’s Beach Bar, named for the surfing legend. Ate mahi-mahi, drank judiciously, then came back here because at yesterday’s end I was, as they say in MMA, gassed out—too damn tired to continue. But that might be what this week has been for: actual rest. In many ways I haven’t truly rested since Lisa died; there’s always been something occupying time, energy, and attention. But now, I’ve let down a little. The emotionality of it is obviously still with me, though. Yesterday while the doctor was examining me, I said something about Lisa or started to but I couldn’t finish the sentence, suddenly realizing I was tearing up. The doctor saw that, too, which might’ve been part of the reason why he concluded I was having anxiety/panic issues and not the opening act of a heart attack.
It reminds me, though, of the emotional weight associated with something that shouldn’t normally carry such baggage—a “vacay.” This is no simple vacation, of course; it’s a pilgrimage, purely and simply, to honor someone I love like no one else. No matter how it might hurt it remains necessary to finish it off well, and honorably.
So, I leave here tomorrow morning and take a Metrolink train to Fontana. Then the NASCAR part of the Trip begins. As you racing fans know, Fontana’s almost a carbon copy of MIS. That track was Lisa’s first exposure to Cup racing in person; it did not help when we saw an ambulance leaving the facility as we were arriving, and found out that Ernie Irvan had just had the crash that cost him his career. Also, our seats for the Sunday Cup race were just beyond pit road, meaning we were breathing the exhaust fumes from the pipes than run from the left side of the cars. We found bandannas very useful. That was also the day the infield vendors ran out of food (before race time, I must add), so Lisa, wearing a white sundress, simply walked into the Dupont tent where there was catering, and walked out with two giant plates of food. “We should thank Jeff Gordon if we see him.”
What a beautiful grifter you were, beloved. And I’ll remember if I see him.
Now for the weather forecast….it doesn’t look good for Sunday, folks. All I can say is this: have tickets, will travel. Supposedly we have a deal whereby if the race is delayed we’ll still have rooms at the (Hampton) Inn. We shall see. My hope is to blog at least something all three days and to photograph everything that moves on the track. Pace cars, bits of stray paper….
Some folks might think this is a screwy way to honor one’s wife. I halfway agree. But I was the one who got her interested in motorsports in the first place, to where she could impress anyone with her knowledge and grasp of history, facts, and issues. She was simply amazing. So, this is for her more than for me, even if it might not seem that way. I know for a fact that if I’d been the one who died instead of her, she’d be sitting at this desk getting ready to go to Fontana tomorrow. So I owe her this.
I’ve come to a conclusion: after I get home, I want to “go public” with this whole Oxycontin business. That was the drug on which she overdosed, and because it’s a time-release medicine, people can overdose through impatience. “When will it kick in?” I think Oxy is a damn dangerous drug. I should know. I’ve taken it myself, so I know how it can “get good to you.” But that’s just it—in the end, it can still kill you. I’d like to tell people what happened to a manifestly intelligent soul. She should’ve known better, sure; but at that moment, everything she knew gave way to everything she felt, and on that basis she died. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair, and there is blame to be assigned, for sure; but it’s too late now. As the doctor told me yesterday, all I can do now is live. All I have is time.