In my 27 short years, I’ve learned that the best way to snap out of a funk is doing something dangerous. Like when you have to pay super close attention to a safety video or there will be serious repercussions, forcing you to fire all cylinders of brain power or you’ll die a fiery death. Ok, maybe not death, but you get what I’m saying.
I was caught in Vegas’ hazy web again, and in hot-pursuit of some high-adrenaline activity to pull me out of it. You see those oxygen bars on the street corners, pumping life back into many visitors in this adult-Disneyland, but what’s a better alternative than sitting at an air-conditioned counter on your vacation? Ripping around a track at over 100 miles per hour, that’s what. That’ll boost your oxygen intake for sure.
I improved almost instantaneously walking into Exotics Racing. Aside from my hankering for some hardcore thrill-seeking fun, I’ve got a major affinity for sexy cars and the smell of gasoline and burnt rubber. A straight up riptide of Americana coursing through your veins.
It was almost sensory overload. Something about these glistening, powerfully flamboyant machines aggressively contrasting the desert landscape had seduced me, through and through. That, and the deliciously authentic screeching tires on the track had me so pumped, that by the time I slinked into a Corvette Z06 with a professional drifter, I was practically foaming at the mouth.
A muffled, “You ready, Sydney?” came from behind Mark’s helmet-restriced mouth and we ripped out of the start, Tokyo Drift-ing like no one’s business. Full on 180 degree angles at 65 mile an hour turns. Yelling over the engine, I asked, “Where did you learn how to drift like that??” and he non chalantly replied, “Oh, just driving school.” Like it’s supposed to be no big deal or something. And that friends, was the first time I’d experienced a g-force while keeping contact with terra firma. My life was in Mark’s hands, and It. Was. Awesome.
I could’ve no-questions-asked done this all day long, but phase two of slapping myself back into reality was planned for the afternoon: The Gun Store. Already spending the morning getting in touch with the limitations of my comfort zone, I was about to fire some serious artillery, and let me just preface this with the fact that I am NOT a gun enthusiast. It scares the living daylights out of me, and as a petite girl, I can barely pull back the slide on a hand gun. So not my scene.
I specifically remember my father taking me into the Nevada hills as a girl, having me fire guns to understand just how much power comes along with a pull of the trigger. To this point, that was about my only exposure, so being presented with a buffet menu of over 75 guns was a bit overwhelming.
A bevy of options, my lack of knowledge on firearms, and too many Vegas Mobster movies led me to the Tommy Gun [I mean ‘When in Rome,’ right?] To my relief, I would have a one-on-one instructor within a foot of me the entire time I was going to be shooting this beast. Phew.
Mike, the Grand Poobah of all instructors, toted over my piece and called me up to the range. Carefully showing me how to hold the gun without injuring my shoulder, and letting me know that 'one-one-thousand' of a trigger pull means one bullet, he told me to ‘just try to hang on because it was going to be a wild ride.’ My only reference point on this was a simulated Tommy Gun inside the Mob Museum. I had a feeling this was going to be slightly different.
Barely grasping this 17-pound gun, under Mike’s close instruction I took aim at my Nazi Zombie target and nervously pulled the trigger. It was so entrancing, and after making it through what felt like an infinite magazine, he said “you ready for the next clip?’ [Insert jaw dropping.] Just as patriotic as I had felt at the track, there’s also something about the smell of gun powder and the sound of brass clinking against the cement that gets under your skin.
So, the next time you might be feeling a little foggy after your wild night in Vegas, my advice to you is push it a little harder and come back home with some life-altering memories. And let me tell you, Exotics Racing and the Gun Store are great place to start.