Last year when I graduated from my 6 month training program at the academy, I’d decided that I need to do something with The Narrator since over the course of my training, coupled with my day job and other nonsense- I had hardly been more than a biological father to him.
Knowing his fondness for all things vehicular, I opted to take him up to the ‘local’ (60 miles away) race track where they feature monster trucks twice a year. He got a grand kick out of it, but at four years old he was still a little overwhelmed by the noise and crowd, and asked to go home before it was over. So I thought I’d try again this year, and he was became very excited about the idea.
So, we went again this year.
Now, I’m not a big monster truck fan. I mean, they’re cool and all, but I don’t get into it like some people might. I don’t know any more than the handful of regular trucks they have at these shows, I don’t watch them on TV or even buy any related souvenirs when I go to these things. I enjoy it, but I’m not hardcore about it. It’s something fun to see now and again. I’m not a huge crowd person, and constant loud noises set me on edge. But The Narrator loved the idea of going back and I was more than happy to oblige him.
We got there early as I tend to do. We bummed around the arena for a while taking in the sights of the tracks and the trucks they had parked against the fence so early arriving patrons like us could see them and take a few photos.
Believe it or not, that face is a mixture of excitement and terror. As far as my overly-cautious five year old was concerned, this was too close.
After the wandering and photos were taken, we went up to our seats and the rain started. The stands cleared as people rushed down to concessions where there were tents and overhangs for shelter.
….and this is where the scalping started. You see kids, the ticket prices for these shows couldn’t be beaten. I paid about $35 for two reserved seats right near the finish line. Bargain right?
Yeah….except once you’re IN the place, they might as well hold you at gunpoint and say “Empty the wallets.”
Not sure how long the rain would last, my ear picked up on the hawking voice of a vendor selling rain ponchos. Thinking I needed to protect my precious son, I went over to the lady and told her I needed one. And that is the story of how ended up paying five bucks for a “rain poncho” which was little more than yellow saran-wrap with a hood on it that could have holes punched in it with a swift fart, so you can imagine what sitting on a wooden bench did to it.
….but again, but boy was dry and happy, so we went back to our seats.
Then the rain stopped.
For now. It would come back later, so my irritation at having wasted the effort of getting the poncho was only momentary.
In true little-kid fashion, we went back to our seats and waited for the show to start, and he asked me in a timid little voice if he could have a snow-cone. So we went BACK down out of the bleachers which at this point are starting to fill up with people who know how to show up to events on time and not two hours early, and headed again to concessions
I find the snow-cone tent manned by a pleasant young lady (pleasant because it was still early) who cheerfully took fifteen of my dollars away. For one snow-cone. As we went back up to the bleachers, I tried to ponder how shaved ice with syrup could run $15. It must have been the “Limited edition” plastic cup that it was served in. It was so limited edition that there were thousands of them being dolled out to suckers like me all week long.
Again…he was happy, so I didn’t care all that much.
Then came the “I have to go to the bathroom.”
So we went down again.
Then back up.
By now the show started, and so did the rain again. Poncho back on, as well as his windbreaker (that we had to go back down to the car to get) he was happy as a clam as the trucks raced around the now-muddy track. I wasn’t so thrilled, since I refused to shell out for another poncho and stubbornly and slowly got drenched for the remainder of the night. I ended up putting our camera in the boy’s pocket under the poncho and wrapping my cell phone in the cellophane wrapper that the snow-cone spoon came in so it would stay dry in my sodden pants.
He had a ball.
That’s what counts. One of the trucks rolled badly in the mud eliciting a massive cheer from the crowd, my son among them. At the end of the night, they haul out “The Green Mamba,” which is essentially jet engine with a few wheels and a steering wheel attached to it. They back this contraption up to an old junk car, fire up the engine, blast out the afterburner and melt the balls out of this old car.
….it was always my favorite part of the night. My son’s too. He talked about it until he fell asleep on the way home.
Speaking of the way home, between the rain outside, wet clothes inside, and a contact lens that decided at some point to do whatever it could to wreak havoc on my cornea- it was the longest 60 mile drive I’d ever done.
Cold, wet, having to pee very, VERY badly, and with a right eye that I was ready to pluck out, we rolled into the driveway at eleven PM, and after attending to body’s numerous complaints, we went immediately to bed.
Thus ended a long, awesome day, and I think we’ll do it again next year.