Occasionally, a group of us guys get together, sans wife and kids, to have a chance to hang out, unwind, and do manly things. These “Guys Nights”, or “Sausage Fests”, include such manly things as drinking beer and playing pool, or playing high stakes putt-putt where the loser buys dinner, or eating wings and catching a non-chick flick.
One time, and one time only, we headed south to Savannah to do one of the manliest things a bunch of married guys can do – go dirt track racing.
The night was started by stuffing our faces with fried chicken and pre-hydrating on Coke. We arrived at Oglethorpe Speedway around 7:00, giving us an hour or so to pick out which cars we were going to claim – and to bake in the evening sun.
After about 45 minutes of pre-race strategy, the massive combination of greasy food and Coke decided it didn’t appreciate the sun and heat. Having spent some time at race tracks growing up, I realized this was a problem I did not want to “address” here. If I could just outlast the sun, I would be good.
Unfortunately, the sun still had a good 30 minutes left before it parted ways with us for the night. I wasn’t going to make it 30 minutes.
Now I was sweating for two reasons, the latter almost like cold chills.
This wasn’t getting any better – and we hadn’t even started racing yet. And we are an hour from home. And I’m not the first stop.
It was time to man up, and as they say in Men at Work, “Do the nasty”:
At this point, I refer you to Shakespeare:
“The better part of valor is discretion” from Henry the Fourth
Continue reading at your own peril…
As you could imagine, the “facilities” at the race track are lacking. They’re underneath the stands, with no air conditioning and even less air movement. The facilities for #1 are essentially a wall with a perforated lead pipe while the facilities for #2 are third world, at best. There’s a curtain for privacy, but no light. So the curtain has to be cracked for visibility. But you can’t crack it too much because then you’d actually be able to see what you’re about to be using, and truth is worse than fiction.
In the bathroom, it’s hot. Behind the curtain, it’s downright suffocating. The temperature is increased by at least 25%, but the airflow, which was already negligent, is even less.
As you look around, you’re afraid to touch anything. Soon, the heat and the lack of oxygen take over. You can’t breathe. But you’ve committed and there’s no turning back.
You take mini breaks just to catch your breath and make the tingling in your thighs stop. But the more you stop, the longer it takes.
Finally, the stomach equalizes and you emerge. People are staring. Some chuckling, others understanding. You’re sweating. Your shirt is two shades darker, your hat one shade. The warm tap water feels like ice and you nearly bathe in it. Hands, face, arms, neck, and head.
You return to join Sausage Fest. They’re faces have a worried look to them. Then they see you – and your sweat drenched clothes. You give a slight head nod. They return the gesture. Nothing else is said because nothing else need be said.
We pick up where we left off and the rest of the night goes smoothly. We have a great time and I might’ve even won a race or two.
But that’s not what I remember, because for a few minutes underneath the stands, that was the hottest I’ve ever been.