My apologies up-front, this may get a bit incoherent and ramble-ish.
A good friend of mine is going through a divorce. I’ll call him Ed here. It’s probably a good thing in the long run, but he’s gutted and sad and confused and frustrated. All probably pretty normal things to feel in his situation. They have a two-year old boy, so that makes it infinitely harder. I can’t imagine not sleeping in the same house as my kids, and that’s a reality that he will have to face very soon. What makes it even harder is she wants full custody and residency of the boy, no every-other weekends with dad, as is so common it seems almost automatic in divorces.
I met Ed in grad school, we worked together for a few years, we stood in each other’s weddings, I know him vey well. He is one of the kindest and most generous people you could ever hope to meet. He’s also got a mouth on him that can get him in trouble, so I hope he hasn’t said something so stupid that he loses his boy completely.
Ed is, among other things, my racing buddy. We’ve gone to the Indy 500 together every year for the last eleven years. This past year, as we rounded the corner and got within sight of our annual pre-race camping spot, he blurted out everything that was going wrong in his life and his failing marriage all at once. It was this bizarre gleeful exclamation because he was so happy he was going to have a chance to get away from it all for a couple days, that all the bad just came pouring out of him. I was so stunned I almost crashed the truck.
Ed wanted more than anything to keep his family together. Months and months of counseling and all the things adults do to try and remain together. I know Ed well enough to know for certain that he would stay in an unhappy marriage just to be with his boy. When only one person wants it though, things are doomed to fail.
The end came to my attention this weekend, when I texted Ed to tell him that my tickets for the IndyCar race at Road America arrived in the mail. He told me he might not be there. When I pressed how come, I got the answer. They’re getting divorced, the house is being sold, and she wants full custody and control of their son.
We haven’t had a chance to talk. I don’t want to bother him too much, but at the same time I want to know what’s going on and if I can help in any way. I’m sad for him. As much as I love racing, I’m not sure I even want to go without him.
Which bring me to racing. The deaths, the concussions …. I can’t help but think what’s it all for sometimes. I applaud the drivers who retire early so they can live lives, but yet I keep watching. I don’t want to see anybody hurt, but I watch the most dangerous sport in the world. I’m not sure how to reconcile that in my head.
I can’t find anything to replace the Roadmaster. I want a Blazer or a Bronco, but I want something with a manual transmission, but I don’t want one that’s a rusted out piece of crap, but I only have $3000. Oh, maybe just anything that’s fun, that can fit my kids, that has a manual trans, that isn’t full of rust. Yeah right. There were several vehicles that I was interested in while I was trying to sell the Roadmaster, but as soon as I have any money ... nothing.
I’ve also been thinking of using the money to buy an enclosed trailer that I can convert into a camper. Then I can take my family on vacations in that, and use it to camp at racetracks with Ed … oh crap, or not. I don’t really want to camp at a racetrack by my damn self.
Shit, is this middle age? Is that what’s happening when people start getting divorced (Ed is the second close friend in a month), and you start to question the things you do and why you do them? I’m not depressed by any means, but I’m sad for my friends and confused about what to do next.
My life, within my own family and the four walls of my house, is pretty damn good. I don’t want to come off like I’m complaining, and I honestly am not really looking for solutions from anybody. The sun will come up tomorrow, and life will go on, and shit will continue to happen, and we will continue to deal with it. I just needed to vent a bit.
Fuck, I hope Ed’s OK.