For me, the real advantage of being a responsible adult are those times when I get to act irresponsibly. Now, don't misinterpret what I am saying. It's imperative to act responsibly when dealing with life, limb, and property, especially someone else's, but there are those times.
For starters, when you were knee high to a bumper, didn't you thoroughly enjoy running around in shorts, bare-chested, and barefoot in and out of sprinklers and hurdling into and out of pools? I sure do! I mean ... I did. Nowadays I have to be the responsible one on the staff 'cause I am almost the oldest. But now and then there are those times.
This past summer was a pretty good one for having fun with cars. It started off with the Lil' John Buttera cross-country drive and all of its exploits. This was followed by a weekend drive to the L.A. Roadsters' Father's Day get-together. Throw in a trip to Goodguys Columbus, a visit to Tennessee, and then onto the NSRA Nats in Louisville--and then finish it off with the drive home--and this was shaping up to be a pretty good summer. So far this is pretty mundane stuff, although fun. "Pain is the catalyst for creativity," as the saying goes, and, "Into each of our lives a little rain (and pain) must fall." So, here it comes.All in all, this year's Louisville Nats featured good weather. It will be a long time before we revisit the climes we enjoyed during the summer of '04--that was a once-in-a-long-time gift! I believe my memory serves me correctly when I say it was early Friday afternoon when the wind began to pick up, the skies darkened, and the "tones" became ominous. The locals (anyone who lives between the Mississippi and the Atlantic Ocean) knew rain was a-comin' and you had best get ready. Being the eternal optimist, I "knew" I had plenty of time to go out to the back of the fairgrounds where the UPS tent was located and have my roadster weighed. (For a nominal donation, which finds its way to a charity, you could have your street rod weighed; each axle, and then a cumulative weight.)OK, there I am waiting in line; first there are 10 cars, then six, then three. Any moment I would be on the scales, and then I could run to the barn and beat the rain. At least that's the way I had it figured. I had just made my donation when a light mist began to fall. As the mist turned to light raindrops, it became apparent even to me that I would have to ride this downpour out where I sat. No problem--I would cover the roadster cockpit and stand under the UPS tent.
It took slightly longer than a nanosecond to go from mist to light sprinkle to the hardest freaking rain I had ever had the misfortune to stand in. To quote the great American, Forest Gump, "This was no little itty bitty stinking rain." No sir, this was a genuine, "I can see the rain drops and they hurt" rain. The wind was something of a challenge, too! One look around the fairgrounds and you could see dozens of E-ZUPs flying across the grounds like large white birds. Manufacturers' Row, where those really big awnings reside, were twisted up and thrown about with such insignificance as to make me realize I was in for it! (Apparently one of the manufacture's tent awnings made its way to the interstate and implanted itself into the grille of an oncoming semi.)
As I stood there underneath the UPS tend holding onto the metal framework, I realized I could see the sky. The wind had taken the material portion of the tent and deposited it in the next county. I could see storm clouds and lightening. Yep, you knew it was only a matter of time before the lightening would strike while I had a firm grip of a metal pole. Like I said, "Sometimes there's no accounting for shear stupidity."
Instead of holding onto the pole, I did the next best thing: I ran around in the rain, "dodging lightening," as I had already proved I couldn't dodge the rain. While the UPS staff was busy getting themselves into a nice large brown van, I was sloshing around, picking up the numerous dollar bills that had gained freedom via the wind. Funny thing is, dollar bills sink once they get wet, and since I was standing in 4 inches of water, it wasn't all that difficult to gather up dozens upon dozens of legal tender spread over a wide area. Yes, I returned the money to its rightful place. The UPS folks were appreciative and gave me a UPS T-shirt for my efforts, although I managed to leave that behind in the excitement.
My buddies, Kevin and Ron, were under a nearby tent taking great joy in watching my dilemma. Did they help? No! They didn't come to my rescue until their tent collapsed onto their golf cart. And that's where the photo comes from. In the midst of howling winds, thunderous thunder, really bright lightening, and raindrops large enough to leave welts, they walked up just in time to be in the photo.
You may have noticed my roadster in the background. Recall that I said I had covered it. The wind rendered my cover useless. How wet did the interior of the roadster get? Place a bar of soap in it and you have a bathtub. All in all it wasn't as bad as it could have been as the three of us frolicked in the rain while the rest of the locals took cover. As for the roadster, the interior dried out by the time I had driven back to California. Sometimes it pays to have fun above all else.