Skip to main content

The Indianapolis 500

I lived in Indianapolis for five years before I made it to my first Indianapolis 500, but since then I've been to every single one. This year's -- the race's 101st running -- was my fourth in a row, and though I no longer live in Indianapolis, I will be going back every single year I possibly can, for as long as I can. It is without a doubt my favorite holiday and my favorite day of the year.

Here's basically how a typical day at the Indy 500 breaks down (well, my typical day at the Indy 500):
  • Assuming you're staying in Indy, you leave for the track at about 8:00 AM
  • Traffic depending, you get to your parking spot by about 9:00 AM
  • 9:01 AM start drinking
  • 11:45 AM leave for the walk to the track
  • Noon, get settled in for all the pre-race festivities ("America the Beautiful," "Back Home in Indiana," and the "National Anthem")
  • Noon - 3:00 PM watch cars go whizzing by you at 200+ MPH
  • 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM work on getting back to your car and clear of anything having to do with the 350,000 people with whom you've just spent the day
  • From 5:00 PM to bedtime you will walk around in an exhausted stupor, maybe drinking a few more beers, until settling down somewhere comfortable to "rest for a minute" and passing out
Granted, each Indy 500 experience is different based on whom you go with, but this is generally the outline of the day. 

This year my buddy Mike and I:
Displaying IMG_20170528_091531589_HDR.jpg
Me and my new friend Sue

  • Helped a woman park cars on her lawn (still haven't seen our commission)
  • Met and became "best friends" with just about everyone who crossed our paths
  • Gave out free beers like they were life-rafts on the Titanic (and still had enough to get and stay consistently hammered over the course of 8 hours)
  • Took a rickshaw to the track, bypassing the ugly walk
  • Ate enough grease-laden fair food to raise our cholesterol levels for the next three years
  • Oh yeah...watched the actual race
  • After which apparently Mike stole one of those "for rent only" stadium seats
  • Apparently we sang Billy Joel songs on the drunken walk back to our car
  • ...which had a dead battery, just as it started to pour rain...
  • ...and which was jump started by a kind hearted Latin American man who saw us in distress from across the street and bounded across the traffic with small jump starting device and started our car, leaving before we could even say Thank You or offer him a beer. Thank You, whoever you were...
  • Ate some fried chicken given to us by a girl who asked us for permission to "use our bathroom" ....inside what was not even our house.
  • Spent a good hour+ trying to navigate the back roads of Speedway, Indiana because I "know there's a quicker way out of here" 
And there you have it, folks. Another classic day at the Indy 500. If it doesn't take a year off your life, you've done something wrong. 


Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review: "The Apologizer" by Milan Kundera

Issue: May 4, 2015

Rating: $$

Review: It took me five years and three separate attempts to finish Milan Kundera's famous novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but in spite of that, quotes and insights from that book still rattle round my head on a weekly basis. What I mean to say is: my feelings on Kundera are very similar to my feelings on Haruki Murakami. I enjoy reading his work, but in small doses, like this short story.

Like Murakami, Kundera uses elements of magical realism, but where in a Murakami story you might encounter a flying dolphin or a disappearing hotel or a person who has lived his whole life in the same room, refusing to leave, Kundera's magical realism offers more direct insights and perspective on real life.

In Kundera's worlds, time and space are malleable and everything that ever happened in history is happening at the same time, and the narrator is a completely omniscient, caring, witty, and hands-on god-like being.

And so it is with "The Apo…

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "Meet the President!" by Zadie Smith

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. If you told me when I was 12 that I'd be doing this I'd have been like, "Dork. There's no such thing as blogs," and I'd have been right...

Issue: Aug. 12 & 19, 2013

Story: "Meet the President!"

Author:Zadie Smith

(Please note: I've developed a highly sophisticated grading system, which I'll be using from now on.  Each story will now receive a Final Grade of either READ IT or DON'T READ it. See the bottom of the review for this story's grade...after you've read the review, natch.)

Plot: Set in England, far into the future (lets say 2113) a privileged youth of 15, named Bill Peek, encounters a few poor villagers from a small, abandoned coastal town on the southeast shore. He meets a little girl named Aggie, who is going to her sister's funeral. Peek is cut-off from real life by a sophisticated video game system that is implanted in his head, therefore th…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…