When we first moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, we lived in a high-rise apartment in downtown. In March of that year, we experienced our first Grand Prix. The city sets up a track in the middle of downtown (no kidding!) and that process takes about three weeks. Traffic is diverted and people find roadblocks everywhere. That’s not the bad part. More than 100,000 people converge on our town for one weekend. You can’t get a table at any restaurant. You can’t find a parking place. Even getting to the grocery store can be a pain in the backside. That’s not the bad part, either. We learned that you just have to shelter in place. Many folks here simply leave town for the weekend.
No, the bad part is the NOISE. If you’ve never gotten up close and personal with a car race, let me describe it to you. You’re calmly sleeping on a Friday morning and you are suddenly lurched into wide-awake mode because a swarm of large, prehistoric mosquitoes has converged right outside your window. The sound is positively DEAFENING. It goes on for a few minutes and then it stops. And, then it starts all over again. It lasts from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. But, if it’s your very first Grand Prix, you don’t realize on that hellish Friday morning that those are the small cars. Oh, no….you have NO IDEA that the BIG ones will be racing on Saturday. Friday morning’s sit-up-in-bed wide-eyed episode will be a small blip in your memory by the time you wake up on Saturday because those mosquitoes have suddenly turned into gigantic wasps with megaphones attached to their wings!
Our boat is docked literally 100 feet from the track. If there wasn’t a pandemic, we’d have left town, like we have done every year after the first when we learned our lesson the hard way. We are hunkered down in the boat with all the ports and hatches closed, the loud ACs running, and a huge fan on, and we are wearing the ear protection that we usually wear at the gun range. And, guess what? YOU CAN STILL HEAR IT!!!
And, it’s not just the high volume. It’s the ongoing, monotonous, repititious RRRRRrrrrrr, RRRRRrrrrrr, RRRRRrrrrrr over and Over and OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER – for hours and hours and hours and hours. And, then there are the press helicopters hovering RIGHT OVER THE MARINA and racetrack. CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP…
And, THAT is why I want to, right this moment, stick a screwdriver in both my eardrums because I am, quite literally, about to GO INSANE!!!
On an interesting side note, we checked on the status of the race yesterday morning because of the pandemic. It was still on, which seemed ludicrous since the virus cases in Florida jumped from 28 to 50 in mere hours. Just after lunch yesterday, they announced there would be no general admission. Last night, they decided to bar all spectators. Food vendors had to pack up their stuff and leave and all race events were cancelled (there were LOTS planned, from a festival to a run). Only the people who work for the race participants are permitted now. People who flew in from all over the world were complaining to the press. And, all I could think was, “You people FLEW at at time like this?!”
Anyway, we are very much looking forward to Sunday evening because then…it’ll all be over. Hopefully, by then, I won’t be in a straight jacket.
- The Grand Prix is Coming to Town…So We’re LEAVING!
- Escaping from the Horrific, Excruciating, Deafening Race!
- THE BIG REVEAL – What’s the Big Secret We’ve Been Keeping? You May Know the Answer by Now!
- A Cool Front Turns Our Floating Home Into an Exciting 4-Day Carnival Ride! (includes video)
- When the Boat’s A-Rockin’ (Heh…)
Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.
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