Thursday, July 21, 2011

Going to the Races

I was considering naming this post ‘The Most Boring Day of My Life’. Just so you know where this is going…
So, the first time I was ever in the US was in July of 2000 with my then fiancé. For the purposes of this story, let’s call him Jed. (By the way, I married this man and also divorced him, but that is a whole different story…) Jed was from a small town in Indiana. It was a big culture shock for me, but overall I enjoyed my time there.
One day, Jed’s father, who was also the sheriff of the county we were staying in (random fact), asked me if I would like to go to ‘the races’ with them. I was excited and told him I would be happy to go! Unfortunately, I was under the impression that we were going to go to a horse race, when the sheriff had actually meant a car race. I caught onto this fact when I realized that I was the only female going- none of Jed’s sisters, not even the sheriff’s wife, wanted to come with us. I asked them why and was told that they didn’t much care for car races. Neither did I, but Jed’s father was so excited about me wanting to come that I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d changed my mind.
I was fairly optimistic on our hour long drive to the race track, picturing something like the Formula One races. When we arrived, I quickly realized that my assumptions had yet again been a little off. It was a rather small dirt track with some seats around it, very simple. Although I was less than enthusiastic, I sat down and tried to see the positive. There were lots of interesting people there- some with teeth, some without. Despite the fact that the cars were producing a deafening volume of noise, some ladies (I am using this term loosely) decided to bring their young infants to the race track.
I spent the first race with my mouth wide open, taking in all the different people, smells, and sounds. I ate the first corn dog of my life, which I thought was delicious. I marveled at the variety of mullets and the fact that, even though they had gone out of style at least a decade earlier, they matched the ladies’ perms and bleached hair rather well.
After about two hours of this amusement- it was around 8pm or so- the cars stopped racing around and I was ready to pack up and leave, mentally patting myself on the back for being such a good sport and not getting too bored. I bravely inquired after our ETD, expecting to be sitting in the comfortable car within the hour. Nothing could have prepared me for the answer I was about to receive. Apparently, the racing we had witnessed had not even been the qualifying rounds, but only the warm ups. I was informed that we had around six more hours (6!!!!!!!!!!!) of racing fun ahead of us.
My heart sank. I tried to keep myself entertained, but not even the fact that we were sitting in a potentially deadly spot- a man sitting next to us had kindly informed me that someone had died in our general seating area just a few races ago after being hit by a flying tire- was able to retain my attention. I went to the bathroom A LOT. I also chatted with concessionaires. I ate a lot of corn dogs and drank a variety of sodas. It was truthfully the dullest, most monotonous activity I have ever taken part in.
Finally, around 1:30 am, it was time to leave. The funny thing is that the sheriff didn’t want to bother staying until the end of the main race because he wanted to beat traffic, so I didn’t even get to see the big finale. That was fine by me, though. I don’t think I have ever been quite as glad to get back into a car as at that moment.
So, from then on, I never agreed to come to anything that I was not 100% sure of again. Ladies, if you are invited to the races and you do not find watching cars drive around in a circle for eight hours entertaining, just say no! Unless you really like mullets…


  1. WOW!! Six more hours?!!

    I'm glad you didn't die of boredom.

    I can not even imagine having to be there that long. You were a good sport.

  2. I really could not imagine watching anything, let alone a race, for six hours! Good for you for sticking it out and going with the flow! I don't know if I would have been so pleasant by hour two.