(Happy, Ramzi? French articles are, surprisingly, not in my vast collection of talents.)
I don't even really like cars.
Or maybe I do.
I've always preferred manuals, and though my car now is an automatic, I'm endlessly thrilled that it also has the sport shift option. I use it mostly in traffic when I'm angry, or to merge onto highways. I have a teensy little control issue, and a manual shift is clutch. (See what I did there?)
The Grand Prix caused Baltimore residents a pretty headache in the year or so it took to create. Major roads blocked off for repaving caused agonizing gridlock. And let's not even talk about GRIDACALYPSE THURSDAY last week when pre-race road closures caused the worst traffic Baltimore city has ever seen. I left work two hours early and drove home on the verrrrry west side of the city...to Catonsville. And then snuck up 95 to come into Federal Hill the back way. A good thirty miles out of my way just to avoid downtown.
And cabs anywhere this weekend? Forget about it. I think I walked a total of ten miles to get to various places in the city.
But, I'll admit - along with the rest of the race-goers - it was pretty fantastic.
I made it down on Friday, and was glad I did. Friday was general admission to all areas of the race, which meant that I could go and sit with all the rich people in the VIP areas to watch the practice races. Disappointingly, there was only one crash that day, and I didn't even see it.
COME ON. I go to hockey games to watch the fights, and car races to see the crashes! I AM A SENSATIONALIST. I make no excuses.)
There were some pretty sick crashes on other days (thanks, YouTube). And the best part? You could enter and exit various points of the race with open containers. It was as though all of downtown Baltimore were some giant stadium. I am a huge fan of Events With Beer, and therefore I was a huge fan of the Grand Prix.
I didn't go near it Saturday or Sunday, however. Saturday, I was lucky enough to escape the mayhem for a beautiful wedding down in Annapolis of one of my college roommates. Sunday, I stayed far away from downtown until early evening and, even then, the carnage of drunkards and tourists was extreme.
Still. Way to pull it off, SRB. You were in the hot seat there for a while, but it seems you done good in the end. And, somehow, Baltimore came off looking sparkling clean in all of that IndyCar footage. The cameras didn't really pan about five blocks in any direction to showcase the rows and rows of empty rowhouses and rampant poverty, but hey, that's not what the world wants to see, right? Grand Prix sure as hell wasn't about poverty. Millions of dollars whirring by at 120 miles per hour is a sharp juxtaposition to homelessness.
I'm going off on a tangent here, so I'll pull the focus back to this: I want to ride in a race car. The noise, the speed, the flying-low-to-the-ground...I might need to add this to the bucket list. I always thought I wanted to drive a really expensive car (don't ask me for details, because I have none regarding automobiles) on the Autobahn. But maybe this race car ride might push that one down a few on the bucket list.
Anyhoodle. Labor Day, summer is drawing to a close, but I am packing my suitcase and getting ready to head off to Key West on Thursday for the first real vacation of the year. Because I don't count Vegas as a restful, restorative vacation.