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GUEST BLOG: CATALYST 317

Tales from The COVID Quarantine 

What a crazy time. I’ve thought about a million more elaborate or articulate ways to address our current state of affairs, but that’s all I’ve got. What a crazy time. Disney World is closed. March Madness didn’t happen. I just got done watching professional athletes play video games on live television. The Month of May is just a few days away, and for the first time in a generation, that doesn’t come with the promise of IndyCars ripping around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Crazy times. 

Yes, COVID-19 has made an indelible mark around the world – it’s attacked our health, our economy and stripped us of the normalcy that has defined our way of life. It hit the motorsports community hard last week with the passing of Bob Lazier – a former IndyCar driver who, you could argue, was one of the kindest and most perennially upbeat people in the entire paddock. This threat is formidable and, to put it into fancy medical terms: It sucks. But, we need to remind ourselves that this virus is not going to win. Let me tell you something: And it may be hard to believe this if you read social media all day, but the human race is actually pretty awesome. History has proven that we’re always game for a fight – and we have an innate ability to rise to the occasion when shit hits the fan. Sure, COVID may have come out of the gate strong, but this is a long game. And we’re going to win. 

In Quarantine: A Low Moment

This is so bad and so embarrassing I have to share it. Mainly because it speaks to the craziness of this situation, but also just because it’s so awful I have to get it off my chest: Last week my wife and I had a serious discussion about having McDonald’s delivered to our house. It was early in the morning. We were tired and hungry. Neither of us had coffee yet, which in retrospect may explain why we weren’t thinking clearly. Regardless, it was a real discussion that lasted longer than I care to admit. Bottom Line: We didn’t do it. Sanity prevailed. I swear. Chalk it up as a big win for common sense and self-respect. But the discussion, for a moment at least, was serious. Crazy times. *Please consider this a formal public apology to my mother and father.

In Quarantine: A High Moment

I’m absolutely loving all this time with my family. We all (most of the time anyway) genuinely enjoy being together. I’m sure many people are like us: Quality time like this is rare when our jobs are at full speed. In the racing business the hours are long, weekends away are commonplace and – even when you’re not traveling – you can sometimes become a stranger in your own home. So lately, when I start to feel the angst of what’s going on in the world, or get pissy that I can’t go into the office or because another project we had planned got axed, I remember all those long trips away from home, the delayed and cancelled flights, the missed birthdays and baseball games – all of it. So, please, take as much time as you can to appreciate these moments. Because I have a feeling, when things get back to normal – or as close to normal as they can – we’re going to look back on all this time together a lot more fondly than we realize now. 

Things I Miss: Handshakes & Hugs

I miss so many things we can’t do right now. Going to restaurants was neat. Getting a haircut was a pretty cool deal that I’d clearly taken for granted. Grabbing a beer or seven at a bar with a few buddies. Watching actual real sporting events on television. But as the days go by I find myself missing the simplicity of handshakes and hugs. Sounds crazy, I’m sure – but I think about it all the time. I met my new next-door neighbor a few days ago and we had a nice little chat – standing what seemed like a mile away from each other and without a basic handshake. What’s more neighborly and welcoming than shaking a dude’s hand? The whole interaction felt woefully incomplete. Hugs, too. I miss hugs. I lost a lifelong friend of mine a couple weeks ago very unexpectedly and, because of all this madness, there wasn’t a funeral. I never thought a time would come in my life where I desperately wanted to go to a funeral, but man – here we are. What I wouldn’t give to share a round of hugs with all the people who would have been in that room. Crazy times.  

An Introvert: Reexamined

I’ve grown into quite the introvert in my old age. In the last 15-ish years I’ve gone from the “life of the party” to the dude that’s “always late to the party” down to my current state of “the guy who gave us some B.S. excuse to skip the party.” At the peak of my anti-social behavior I couldn’t have dreamt of anything more enticing than the idea of having to stay at home for weeks on end. But, in the last couple months I’ve had to reevaluate that lifestyle. For real. I’ve never wanted to go to a social event and hang out with strangers so bad in my entire life. I’m sure, once life goes back to normal, that sentiment will wear off quick. But, nonetheless, I have developed a renewed appreciation for the ability to go out, to meet people and otherwise be social. So, consider this an official warning: I may be a psycho-extrovert-serial-hugger once we all get let out of our cages. 

Let’s stick together, guys. This is an unprecedently tough time personally and economically for all of us. But, while under this threat, we’ve never been more united: Rich and poor; young and old; black, white, green and pink – COVID don’t care. And, like I said earlier, humanity is the weapon that’s going to ensure we win this thing. Let’s follow the guidelines of medical professionals so we can keep our families safe and beat this together. And, once we do, let’s remember to appreciate the value of everything that has been stripped from us now. From the most irreplaceable things like our health and livelihood – to the simplicity of a handshake with a stranger.  

 

All the best, 

Mike Kitchel

Co-Owner

Catalyst 317