November 18, 2009

My husband and I attended the NASCAR race last weekend.

So at this Nascar race thing, a bunch of guys get in cars with lots of advertisements painted on them, and they drive around in a circle about 300 times. It’s the big draw, apparently. But it is not why I go to The Nascars.

I go to The Nascars for the people-watching.

My husband’s sister, his cousin, his best friend, and his sister’s two friends flew out from the Midwest to join us at The Nascars. Two of our other friends who lived locally, Sleepy and Orange County, also joined us for a weekend of fun.  It was the first Nascar race for his sister’s friends, and unfortunately we forgot to lay out the ground rule to the newbies.

There is only one ground rule, and it is: Don’t Pay Attention to the Rif-Raf.

Camping at Nascar (and by “camping” I mean, parking our RV on a dirt parking lot) is as much a part of the event as the race itself. Hundreds of people spend the weekend or, for the hard core – the week –and it is essentially a giant party where no one has to worry about driving anywhere afterwards.

Due to the parking-lot arrangement, people are constantly walking by your campsite and, eventually, one of them will stumble in to your personal space. Since usually alcohol is involved, this stumbling is both figurative and literal.

You see, the thing is, most of the cool people have their own friends. That they are busy hanging out with. At their own campsite.

So you learn the art of deflection. You are polite (because it’s never a good idea to piss off a redneck), but impersonal (you don’t want them to feel welcome, either). In other words, don’t pay attention to the rif-raf.  Well since we forgot to debrief the newbies, Fashion and Sassy, they accidentally paid too much attention when our drunken neighbor wandered over to say hello.

“Hey,” he slurred, “can I hang out with you guys for a while? My friend had to go to the hospital so I don’t have anyone to hang out with.”

Fashion, in an attempt to be polite, feigned interest in his friend’s hospital story and -- just like that – he was perched on a camp chair telling us all about the many times he managed to catch himself on fire.  No, seriously. Rif-Raf has caught himself on fire not once – not twice – but THREE times. You see what I mean about the cool people having their own friends to hang out with.

“What, did you miss kindergarten through first grade?” Sassy interrupts. “You know, stop, drop, and roll?”

“Hey,” says Rif-Raf suddenly, “Does anyone have an iPhone charger? I need to call my friend in the hospital. He tripped and gashed his head open and he had to go to the ER.”

There was a pause, while the three of us with iPhone chargers fidgeted in silence. No one wanted to give the rif-raf an excuse to stay longer. Unfortunately, Chris’s sister, A-star, had never really gotten the debriefing either.

“Oh yeah,” she says helpfully, “I’ve got one!”

In between Rif-Raf's burn stories, we managed to pull Fashion and A-star aside and explain the cardinal rule of Nascar.  With Fashion there is no middle ground. She immediately began her campaign to rid us of Rif-Raf. A short while later, we went inside the RV to make ourselves some more... um... root beer floats... when Rif-Raf wandered in to check on his phone’s status.

“I don’t think it’s charging” he said, looking intently at his phone.

“Oh yeah, it’s charged.” Says Fashion in her best dismissive voice. She unplugs the phone and hands it to Rif-Raf. “Here you go.”

“But it’s not even turning on…” Even in his drunken state Rif-Raf could recognize that the phone hadn’t been plugged in long enough to charge.

“It’s charged.  Buh-bye.” And she all but shoved him out the door, phone in hand.

He went outside, looking confused. “I think they hate me,” he remarked to the guys sitting around the campfire, “and I didn’t even try to hit on them!”

Eveuntally Rif-Raf “got the hint” and wandered back to his own campsite. Later that night, his friend Stitches returned from the hospital.

Yes, that’s right. His friend WENT TO THE HOSPITAL and got SIX STITCHES on his forehead. And then RETURNED TO CAMP AT NASCAR.

Luckily, we did not see much of Rif-Raf and Stitches the rest of the weekend. I think it might have had something to do with “YourphoneischargedBUH-Bye.”