27 March 2010
Race Weekend in Martinsville
It's that time of year again...well, at least one of them.
Twice a year the population of our county triples with the influx of well over 150,000 people from all across the U.S., just to watch some cars and truck drive at a break-neck pace in a circle.
They come from everywhere; Maine, Wisconsin,New York, Florida, and I've even seen a license plate from Texas sporting around town. Everybody here for the thrill of watching their favorite drivers battle for the lead and wishing the driver they love to hate would hit the wall in the turn. It's all in good fun though.
Dedicated fans start rolling in about three days before the Sunday race and set up temporary housing in parking lots and rented out front yards. For the next few days they are our neighbors, blending in with the happenings of the locals. They shop in our stores, buy our gas and patronize our restaurants and you would never know they were foreigners unless you happened to catch the hard accent of a Yank.
Some of us just tolerate the influx of the fine folks from all over and of course the business owners can't get enough of them. I would dare say that some business owners peg their entire business on these two times a year. All in all, it is good for our economy and it does lend a certain excitement to the air.
For me it's just more of the same. Somewhere either at the track or in the surrounding area I'll have an oppertunity to make an impression on somebody and introduce them to our locality as a representative of our EMS system.
There will be the drunks (my favorite), the falls with broken bones and inevitably, without the shadow of a doubt, there will be at least one cardiac arrest in the stands where the whole world can watch you perform your art. The heightened sense of awareness will be on our minds though, knowing that this environment could be a prime target for terrorism. We'll be vigilant and bring our "A" game at every turn, but we too will get caught up in the smells of high octane fuel and the thunder of thousands of hosepowered engines hurling around the track.
So yes, once again go I...out into the crazy masses to distribute my charm and charisma, and possibly some quality-of-life sustaining care to the energized masses who will fall prey to their own inhibitions. But I will do it with a smile because I know that they will soon be gone and leave nothing but their trash and other remnants of their brief visit.