It's a little past midnight on a cold, October night. The setting felt and looked like something out of a horror flick. The misting rain began picking up tempo. Thick, milky fog was beginning to set in. I starred at the reflection of the blue flashing lights on the hood of my car. Off. On. Off. On. Click. Click. Click. Click. My leg was shaking with angst. Sitting. Waiting. I am horrible at waiting. I slam the throttle to the floor boards, dump the clutch, the car leaps out of the grass and slides sideways as the tires try to grip the wet asphalt of the back country road. I hear the sirens and the loud squeal of friction. Quickly, I reached 70mph and with both feet I stomped on the brake pedal the car fish tailed and slid sideways again. The brake dust and smoke from the rubber drift past the front of the Crown Victoria police car. :exhale: Everything grew silent again. "Cut" was the word that buzzed through my ear piece. He walks up and leans into my window, "That was perfect. Got it in the first-take. Good job driver." I stuff back my anxiousness and give him the typical "know-it-all" smirk. (That smirk is a trademark of mine. Typically, it gets me into more trouble than good.) Deep down I was relieved. That was five years ago this week. It was my first day on the job as a stunt driver. As I look back at it now I remember it being so fun, intense and performance driven. But sadly, at the time, I wasn't enjoying it. I was frustrated. Ever since I first moved to Charlotte I have had a plan, become a crew chief. That plan seems to get sidelined all too often. I have had some really cool things come across my plate, such as stunt driving, but I never allowed myself to enjoy them. It always felt like I was cheating on my dream. I was having fun but I was wasting valuable time.
And as it turns out, females who actually enjoy wrecking vehicles are hard to find in Hollywood. (Let’s just say I had plenty of practice when I was racing, I am rather numb to the drama of it all at this point) Any who, I was given a pretty neat opportunity to move to California and pursue my career as a stunt woman but I turned it down. In end it wasn’t what I wanted. I landed a few gigs, got my SAG card and never went back. I regret never taking the moment in and enjoying it.
I find myself here again. I have accepted a really interesting job at a brake company where I have the opportunity to design, engineer, maintain and sell high performance braking systems to the race teams. I get to travel to the race track and do technical support which fills my weekends with travel again rather than yard work. Conveniently, working on brakes is my favorite thing to do as a mechanic. And now I am being given the opportunity to learn and truly be a brake specialist. And just like five years ago, in the back of my mind, I am frustrated. I have no idea how this detour is going to help me pursue my dream. I am still hoping that being a crew chief is somewhere on the blueprint for AP. I wasn't gifted with the ability to see the future. Outside of the super power of being invisible, the ability to know the future would be my second choice. I have awesome memories of my days as a stunt driver and somehow, some way I ended up as a car chief four years later. I wish I could have told myself, “Enjoy this. Stop worrying. It will all work out.”
How I will get back on my breadcrumbs path to success I have no idea but this time I am going to enjoy the here and now and make the most of my opportunities.