Last weekend the city of Baltimore welcomed a bunch of high-speed cars and their international drivers to careen around the city streets that us city dwellers merely use for gridlock. This is the 2nd year Baltimore has hosted the Grand Prix, which at first I only liked because it brought attention and dollars to the fair city (charm city) in which I live. But since my boyfriend just happens to be a prix fan, or rather a Fan of Fancy Cars That Drive Around But Definitely Not NASCAR, he loaded up on tickets for the weekend and I let him drag me there for one of the days.
Outside events typically aren’t my thing. There’s something about the combination of aluminum bleachers + burning hot sun with no shade + port-a-potty’s that can ruin a good weekend day. This is why, years ago, I dragged my boyfriend away from a Ravens game to go sit somewhere cool and air conditioned before the game was over (he claims we were there only 5 minutes; I claim 10 days). But for the Grand Prix I decided to put on a brave face and suck it up. A brave face and lots of sunscreen, and a hat.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d witnessed a bunch of races on TV, but in person I was worried I’d get vertigo trying to track the cars zooming by. Luckily my boyfriend had picked some killer seats, not only high up in a corner with no one in front of us, but also in a spot where we could witness cars careening by one way, then turning around and heading back towards the other. This allowed me time to figure out which car I needed to root for, and I settled on a green Ferrarri.
My boyfriend informed me it wasn’t JUST a green Ferrarri, but the Team Patron Ferrari 458 Italia. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize there was not one, but TWO of them on the track. I had actually chosen this particular green car initially because it had the funniest, loudest PUTT-PUTT-PUTT sound as the driver was down-shifting around the corners (using the flappy-paddle gear box, as the Top Gear boys have taught me to say). So I kept clapping for it, which was pretty stupid since I wasn’t the only one wearing earplugs.
Blissfully, after an hour the sun disappeared behind some hazy clouds and the seats weren’t nearly as unbearable. I enjoyed myself (after wolfing down a giant pretzel), and it was hard to deny how exciting it was just to hear those cars zooming around, trapped between the concrete barriers like a pack of angry wasps, let alone see them. My boyfriend graciously let us duck out early to meet a friend at a bar with a view of the track, and I was proud for our city to have successfully hosted such an event. It’s rare when I experience moments of civic pride, but I do indeed have them. (Also, I’m proud of myself for not being an indoors-only spoilsport as per usual).
Go green car!