The guest of honor was late, not that any of the few thousand of us waiting in the arena of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center cared.
I’m sure most who had waited for roughly an hour for their arrival would gladly have waited for another. Maybe even two if we were really determined and had nothing pressing to attend to.
(I was and didn’t).
What could be more pressing than an hour or so spent in the same room as Carrie Fisher?
Let’s get any mortality misconceptions out of the way.
I’m not obsessed with death.
I am obsessed with the passage of time.
During a lull in party conversation, I’m the guy who will start a sentence with, “Did you know it’s been five years since…?”
I’m the living version of really annoying Google alert you forgot you created.
You receive life-altering news only a few times.
The tooth fairy isn’t real.
That girl in your career orientation class agrees to go to the dance with you.
You were accepted to the only grad school program you applied to.
Jerry Jones miraculously didn’t draft Johnny Manziel.
Eventually, some girl will say yes to your marriage proposal.
Someday, you’ll be told you’re going to be a parent.
But in the middle of all that is Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. Continue reading
The birthday party was at Alfredo’s Pizza & Pasta in Lewisville, Texas, sometime prior to the turn of the century.
The only memory I have is of unwrapping a pair of walkie talkies. Walkie talkies in the form of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, the rainbow-colored car that had been a part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since 1992.
After opening the present, I looked across the table at whichever kid had gifted them to me.
Instead of saying thank you, I made a declaration over the noise of the party.
“I don’t like Jeff Gordon.”
“Kenseth takes him out! Logano into the wall! Caution comes out and the crowd roars!”
What were they roaring for?
It was the kind of noise level usually reserved for when Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins or Danica Patrick takes the lead.
At first glance, they’re cheering for retribution as Matt Kenseth ends Joey Logano’s chances at winning Sunday’s Martinsville race, just as Logano did two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway, when he sent Kenseth around in the closing laps.
Or they were cheering for what the accident set up. At least 40 percent – OK, maybe 30 percent – of the frenzied crowd was celebrating that Jeff Gordon had taken the lead and was within 45 laps of his first win of 2015, his last year in the Sprint Cup Series.
But there was undoubtedly another segment of NASCAR fandom – that doesn’t swear allegiance to Kenseth or Logano Nation – who was just relieved.
I was just in shock that it actually happened the way it did. I’m even a little disappointed.
But it still happened.
For once, after two weeks of hype and “will he or won’t he?” speculation that would make your grandmother’s favorite soap opera blush, a hypothetical fireworks display was lit in full view of everyone and God.
It’s hasn’t been this quiet in three months.
For 62 days my apartment was a playground for first seven, then six kittens. The sounds they produced were my soundtrack for 10 weeks.
The soundtrack finally finished at around 2 pm today in the Humane Society of North Texas in east Fort Worth.
While my apartment will still be home to two cats, Susie, the mother and Snoopy, the one kitten I’m keeping, it won’t have the same tune or feel.
They’re favorite instrument was my bed.
Seven days into this thing called “life.”
Seven days ago I saw both death and life.
Thankfully, the former was cancelled out seven times over.
As I’ve done many times this summer, I set out from my apartment complex on foot, the sun setting on west Fort Worth as I went for a walk through the subdivision just behind my apartment complex.
Dan Harmon’s “Harmontown” podcast blasted in my ears as started to trace my usual route in the August heat that used to be July heat.
A few blocks in, I walked around a bend and saw a motionless lump sitting at the mouth of a driveway.
The lump was a white cat.
That the cat was dead was made clear by the flies buzzing around it.
All of this registered in less than five seconds. By the fifth, I was quickly walking in the opposite direction, toward awaiting life.
“In order to understand the future, you’ve got to go back in time.” – “Back in Time” by Pitbull
Yes, there’s a Pitbull song on my Spotify “Starred” list. It was added on April 28, 2012.
Stop judging me. It’s a catchy tune and eight days earlier the music video for the “Men in Black III” theme song was released and I was looking forward seeing the movie when it was released on Memorial Day weekend.
Pretty simple. But then again, I also added Jimi Hendrix performing the Star Spangled Banner, so maybe I was going through a crisis.
It was finals week, so I shouldn’t be blamed for any decisions I made under duress.
By week’s end, one of my more memorable summers was getting underway.
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My NBC Sports story on Jeff Gordon’s final NASCAR road-course race, today at Watkins Glen.