We were only a few miles from my friend's house, maybe 10 at most, but somewhere between central Jersey and our destination we entered a strange wormhole in the gravitational pull of the planets and ended up in a different time and place -- not like Lost, though, even though we felt incredibly lost, believe me I would have preferred being attacked by the smoke monster to this... this place, this strange, weird place where people actually spend money to watch cars race at deafening volumes around a small dirt track. I just... there really are no words. I don't know why we went -- curiosity, boredom, my friend's father's friend had discount tickets and we had nothing to do... I don't really know, and I still haven't processed, not really, it's just um... like I said, wormhole, different place, different planet, and I'm pretty sure not a single Obama voter anywhere in the crowd.
Apparently every Saturday night at racetracks in New Jersey (this wasn't the only one, I was told), there are a bunch of -- um... I guess you could call them races, in which "modified" cars and trucks with souped up engines spin around on the dirt (in this case), spewing fumes and mud and noxious fear in the air at deafening volumes while an announcer with a strange southern accent narrates what's happening and those in the audience, on high school bleachers, get drunk enough from their coolers to dull the meaninglessness of their lives, spent on a Saturday night in a town called New Egypt. I'll have to admit that the lure of "bring your own coolers" had a certain appeal, especially when I'm used to buying $8 beers at crowded stadiums for any other sporting event, and that was probably the only reason we went. Insanity I don't think is a proper defense.
When we pulled in, in three separate cars, we (a) had three of the only non-pickup trucks in the packed parking lot, which wasn't so much a parking lot as a dirt pit of despair filled with 99% pickup trucks, (b) had three of the only non-American vehicles in the lot, and definitely the only Japanese and Korean vehicles, and (c) had the only Asian, Puerto Rican, and frightened white male guests in the entire place. We also saw that everyone tailgating and walking across the lot to the "stadium" were drinking out of beer cans, and although my first thought was "Damn, these people really like their Miller Lite", my second thought was "Oh shit, all our fancy bottled microbrews stuffed into three massive coolers are not going to get in." Well, actually that was Aaron's first thought. I was too frightened by the crowd full of overweight, bearded white men in camo gear to really be thinking much beyond my mere survival.
In all honesty, it wasn't so bad. We sent the women and children ahead on their own into the stadium (did we really? now that I think of it, yes) while we took my Garmin and found the nearest liquor store and stocked up on every variety on non-domestic can they were selling. And some Yuengling too. By the time we got back, the races were in full volume fervor, and we were all pretty drunk, so we probably fit in. Or not, actually, I didn't see too many people as drunk as us, and I saw a lot of families, and I shouldn't be so judgmental, no one did or said anything to us but it was just so strange, so weird, you really don't expect to enter South Carolina 10 miles from Great Adventure, but you know, I'm sure there is some appeal to watching cars ride around a dirt track in the cold and the dark on a Saturday night, even if you're not stone-cold plastered.
The only bad thing was the cold -- it was fucking freezing -- and one night after I'd frozen my balls off in the cold wet nonstop rain at the Phillies game, I chose to repeat the feat by under-dressing again for a night at the races, where a winter coat and gloves and earmuffs were needed, or maybe just thick camouflage gear like 95% of the crowd. But it was a good time I guess, we didn't stay long because of the cold, and I was too drunk to really have any clue what was happening in the races, but Karen brought a cheese spread and crackers and we drank Tecate out of a can and ate fancy cheeses on cold metal bleachers watching loud cars roar around a track in the middle of the South, somewhere in central New Jersey.
Below... proof that I was there -- and that I finally figured out how to take a video on my Droid and transfer it to YouTube. Cool stuff.
And no, that's not my drunken slurring at the end of the video, that was, um... the guy next to me...