Saturday, October 21, 2006
The complex side of simple.
Standing beside a man and his family all wearing white trash hats we realized just how far out of our element we were. Talladega speedway, 2 weeks ago with just under 400 000 drunk, overweight and very simple people. We walked down 3 kilometers of 'Talladega blvd' which was comprised of side by side fully decked out motorhomes each with their own unique storefronts of amusing, entertaining and sometimes crude displays of food, games and sex. People were cruising around on their motorized coolers!! It was like girls gone wild meets Let's make a deal with the Clamptons.
When we strolled into to our r.v. site, we were bookended by Union Jack flags and missing teeth neighbours who presented as hardened criminals yet turned out to be some of the most hospitable people we had ever met.
The story went like this. We were fortunate enough to get pit and garage passes as part of our package. Naively, we assumed everyone who camped in the infield would have these passes, but after speaking to the neghbours (who had been there for 15 straight years) we found out that not once had they been to pit road or the garage [pre race]. No problem... they could have our passes. Well you would think we had given them the winning numbers to the powerball lottery. They went, their kids went, their friends went and when all was said and done, we had turned from the Canadian misfits to the Kings of Kensington. After that, we did not cook one meal or pay for one drink.
These people were not affluent, nor educated. Speaking to them, it became clear their entire savings were put towards this occassion when they could 'come and see the cars race'. They drank and talked, and drank... and talked... and drank and while they spoke you could see the sparkle in their eye over what (to us) seemed rather mundain.
Perhaps it was the juxtaposition of being amongst a group of high maintenance people the day before or maybee it the whole atmosphere of the event, but there was something really appealing about keeping it simple. We thought about how many times in our lives we make things way more complicated than they need to be and we though about those 'little things' we take for granted. These people didn't. They hadn't seen the other side of opportunity (to the scale we had) and they were just fine with that. We had to admit, there was something more to the experinece than 'a bunch of cars going around the track at over 200mph'.
There was the complex side of simple... and for at least that weekend... it sure was nice.