Add to the list of “Things I Never Thought I’d do’ (especially in my senior years) is become a member of a Pit Crew. Again, before anyone thinks Nascar or the Indie 500, allow me to dampen the expectations. Or, perhaps, since regular readers know what kind of an operation (shitshow) we run here, lowered expectations should be assumed. Well, as of yesterday,I became a member of Crazy D’s pit crew. That would be his biking crew. L’il Sis and I, in an effort to support another of Crazy D’s unusual life choices, spent an hour standing in frigid temperatures and biting winds cheering him on in a local bike race. He suggested we come to the finish line at 1:30 so we could see (and take a picture of) him crossing the line. Since everything was going according to plan for a Sunday, L’il Sis took my car off to yoga class. Halfway through the hour class, my phone rang. It was Crazy D in panic mode. Why was I not surprised? “I forgot my helmet! And my car battery died. Could you bring me the helmet?”
“I would love to help but L’il Sis has my car. She won’t be back for a while. What time do you absolutely need it for?”
“11. ” We hung up with my promise to leave for the race with the helmet as soon as L’il Sis arrived home. If I drove like a bat out of hell, I might make it.
He called just as she walked in the door to say he’d been able to borrow a helmet. His car was still dead…a problem to be dealt with AFTER he’d made us proud riding through Mennonite country (possibly taking out an odd buggy or two), over train tracks, past maple syrup shacks and through cow pastures in the race. I have noticed that, since he left the Big City behind, he has developed a new appreciation for all things rural and pastorally scenic. Good thing, too, because after all the mucky spring races, he is wearing much of that pastoral scenery on his backside.
L’il Sis and I arrived on time and took up our vigil.
And waited. Where was Crazy D? I knew he didn’t plan on winning this race and was doing this one mostly for fun and experience, but still…the crowds were thinning and soon we found ourselves standing with the three remaining families. This was verging on embarrassing. It was the old feeling from school when I was always the last kid to be picked for an athletic team…any team. I was awful at everything. I wasn’t aiming for him to come in first, but last?
Then the cry came up for the paramedic. Rumours started to fly…someone wiped out on ice at the last turn. Somebody hurt his knee. L’il Sis and I looked at each other. The way Crazy D’s day was going, it had to be him. By the time I finished extrapolating, I had him with a shattered knee, being airlifted out to the nearest hospital dealing with traumatic knee and back injuries, his career up in smoke, with a dead car in the parking lot being towed away by the cops. (Oops, no, I believe double jeopardy applies to towing as well as murder trials. They already towed his car in Toronto last week.)
The trickle of riders kept crossing the finish line. L’il Sis had the camera at the ready and, convinced that each rider was her brother, snapped away with abandon. In her defense, you couldn’t distinguish the bikers at a distance. We didn’t know what color his jacket was, what his borrowed helmet looked like, and it was so cold that the riders’ faces and beards were frozen, some completely iced up. We hope he’ll excuse us and understand why there are so many pictures of riders NOT HIM!
We had been standing in the cold for an hour by this time and couldn’t wait for the warmth of the community centre. When he managed to thaw out enough to speak, his first comment was: “Thank God the borrowed helmet wasn’t pink!” Yeah, ’cause that was his biggest problem!
Thawed out, we traipsed to his car with the jumper cables I had managed to borrow from a neighbor. I stood, the cables dangling uselessly from my hands like a dead snake, expecting Crazy D to do something with them. He did…he walked up to the nearest man wearing a recalled company jacket (this, in Crazy D’s frozen brain seemed to suggest he might work for a vaguely mechanical company and thus might know something about fixing broken things), and asked if he knew how to jump a car battery. He explained, “Well, I saw your jacket and figured you might be The Guy…” Stereotypes, anyone? But it worked. The guy looked at me and remarked, “You don’t want those ends touching…” I think it was when I heard him mutter the word ‘electrocution’ that I wrenched them far apart lest I go up in a crackle of flames. He tried to explain to us how to use the cables but, seeing the blank looks on our faces, just did it for us. Lovely man. And here I was under the misapprehension that it was just helpless looking females who played that”poor helpless little me” card. Well done, Crazy D.
We huddled in the community centre after the race, the loyal pit crew, so Crazy D could inhale warm liquids and his bike could drip mud and slush the entire length of the building. As his mother and one accustomed to cleaning up muddy bike tracks from my halls, I was empathetic towards the cleaners and was about to suggest that we leave the bike outside. But his bike cost more than his car (the one going through death throes in the parking lot) and couldn’t be left unattended. The bike could be stolen…we should be so lucky that someone would steal his car!
When Crazy D’s beard thawed out, it was time to go. It had been a grueling day and the entire ‘crew’ was exhausted. We limped into our mudroom to discover a very welcoming, tail-wagging Pig. She had again managed to get herself locked in the mudroom for hours. While there, she went on a search and destroy mission, consuming a couple of protein bars Crazy D had left in his gym bag.
Feeling not a lot of empathy for The Pig, Crazy D informed us that just ONE of those bars did a number on HIS digestive system and he is ten times The Pig’s size. We went to bed that night waiting for the explosion in The Pig’s belly…and the subsequent trips outside in the middle of a very cold night. To our amazement, nothing happened. I swear, after the day’s cold, exhaustion, and stress, The Pig once again rose triumphant. She’ll be the only one standing when the world ends. I’d tap her for MY pit crew anytime.
When I regaled Gill with the story of our day, she said, “Ma, I told you it was easy when you had just me to contend with. All I ever forced you to do was take me to the Supercentre.”