Thursday, August 24, 2006

Part One

I’m sitting at my desk staring at an envelope. I have yet to open the plain brown letter, but I already know what it contains. I have spent the last 10 days sweating, thinking, wondering, dreaming and dreading the contents of this very plain, unassuming looking package. While I know what the envelope contains, I do not know where it will take me. What lies ahead could be turmoil, disaster, heartache or pain. It could also be joy, passion, laughter and desire. In all likelihood this little package contains the key to all of these emotional experiences in various combinations and degrees. I rip the closure free, not mindful of tearing it along the dotted line, and tip the envelope to empty its cherished contents into my waiting, trembling hand.

“It’s here”, I think to myself, “I’m going. I’m really going.”

Ten days ago I did not know anyone in Europe, I had only just started reading about the World Endurance Championship and I did not even possess a passport. Today, all of that has changed. Sitting in my hand is my very first passport, a small paper device that grants its bearer a broad scope of travel options, paths to adventure and means of acquiring debt. Ten days ago I was daydreaming about a trip to Europe; now my trip looms only a month away and I am only slightly closer to understanding what it all means.

Ten days prior I had read an article on the website for the FIM World Endurance Championship (WEC) that detailed a struggle that many, if not all, of the teams faced when finding crew members for their assault on 24 hour races, in particular the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Being small teams racing on even smaller budgets, they called upon friends and family to fill out their crew slots and have warm bodies to change tires, add fuel and run errands during the grueling event. Upon reading this, I had a whimsical fantasy about flying to Europe and becoming part of a team competing at Le Mans. Of course, I knew no one in the series and had no connections to teams in the championship, as they are all based in Europe. I chalked it up to whimsy, perhaps attempting to contact a team for the 2007 event as the 2006 race was well under two months away.

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