Our society today is consumed in self-absorption, wallowing in our own thoughts, issues, happiness. With eyes glued to phones, T.Vs, and computers, the large problems fade into the subconscious.
I’m guilty. It’s no secret I love Twitter, and, if my phone isn’t at my side, I’m practically lost. All my emails, Facebook notifications, text messaging -if it’s not at the palm of my hand, something is seriously wrong.
To be perfectly honest, my dependency on technology sickens me. Everyone’s dependency on technology sickens me. We forget how do things ourselves. We forget what priorities that once hung in the forefront.
We forget how much our emotions and actions can impact those around us.
I was reminded of this recently during one of my least-favorite activities: riding the bus.
Per the teenage stereotype, I usually slouch in my seat and shove my earbuds in, making the kids’ loud laughter barely nonexistent. Block out the world and think. It’s what I do best. As I rushed to my usual seat, I was ready to shut reality down when, through the bus radio’s speakers, my favorite artist came on. My headphones remained in my purse as I propped my knees up against the seat in front of me.
Halfway through the song, the bus stopped at the next house. I didn’t think anything of it unless someone sat in the seat across from mine.
The girl looked frightened when my eyes settled on her, as if the gaze I sent her was made of ice. Looking out my window, I was a bit confused. That wasn’t her assigned seat, and I had never seen her before. My body shifted towards her again, and I smiled, my hand giving a little wave. Her eyes lit up, her hand slowly moving back and forth. It was weird how mesmerized she became when I noticed her. She had a tiny body, fragile features, and the longest blonde hair I had ever seen.
With another smile, I returned to my previous form, glazing out the window at blurred cornfields and the red-streaked, brightening sky. Some time went by, and I mindlessly began to play with my hair as I always do. The little girl did the exact same thing, as evident through her reflection in the window. When I looked at her, she turned away, embarrassed. She had her shoes pressed against the back of the bus seat, as I did with my knees.
Such a simple situation like a younger girl mimicking me doesn’t seem eye-opening, but it was all I thought about the rest of the ride. Of course, my head applied to NASCAR, which is the whole point of this article anyway.
We have so many different personalities in the sport, which is a good thing. It spices things up, stirs the pot when things get bland. These personalities are loud, obnoxious, yet insightful.
When is the time to walk the walk?
One driver that stands out in my mind is Brad Keselowski. The Twitter Terror. He types with no mercy, but each statement is well-thought and seasoned with opinion. To me, he’s a breath of fresh air. There are many two-faced icons: with fans, they are one person, someone else while alone. Brad isn’t like that. He’s human. Real. Relatable.
Even better, he backs his word up. In general, people don’t do that enough. Broke promise after broken promise, shattered on the floor. Keselowski walks the walk. He lives the walk. That’s what makes him so pivotal in the sport. Not only does he open his mouth a lot, but he sticks to whatever may come out. That says a lot about his character, which, in my eyes, is important. Very important.
Drivers like Brad are rare, and that’s the sad part. Where did all the Old-School driver personalities go? Into retirement with the drivers themselves? Or did this species of racer, one who is loud on and off the track, somehow diminish over time?
Take Kyle Busch, for example. The guy is crazy talented. Insanely. But how he acts around cameras and fans is more distracting. Given, he has been able to handle it better now than he has before, but that Kyle is always hovering in the fan’s mind. Everything said also goes for his older brother Kurt.
There is a line in racing when it comes to voicing opinions. Some go overboard, letting emotions get tangled up. There are those drivers who are hushed, saying nothing at all. Only a select few fall in the gray area, which is the best place to be.
Maybe some drivers need to ride the bus without headphones. They’d learn that doing something, whether driving more aggressively or finally speaking up, is more effective than silencing thoughts.
Actions are always louder. Doing something is better than nothing. Walking the walk, racing the race.