Friday, April 17, 2009

Whoopty Freaking Doo!

It's Thunder Over Louisville this weekend, and I have never been happier to live on the other end of town.

I've been to three of these collective insanity episodes. What a great idea. Let's get a couple hundred thousand strangers together, throw in sun, liquor, and explosives, and then try to get them out of downtown Louisville at the same time all at the same time. Hopefully a race riot doesn't break out in the middle of it. This year I think they're trying to set a new record for obnoxious twits getting on camera flashing gang signs while some poor reporter tries to put a good spin on the whole thing.

Here's how a day at Thunder goes:

You get up at 6 AM to throw some food down your neck and load the car. The kids are still sleepy, so they move in slow motion. By the time you back out of the driveway, you can feel the throbbing starting in your temporal lobe.

When you get either downtown or across the river to watch it from Indiana, you park about 2 miles away from the event. All of the things that you didn't want to bring but were deemed necessary by your spouse are then strapped to your back and you trudge to the waterfront.

If you're there with family or friends, it's a fun afternoon. The two times we've done it with the Irish Woman's family, the kids have really enjoyed playing with the cousins. The family will usually rent a few camper spaces in a lot over in Indiana, and it makes the day much better if you have a place to relax that's not crowded and actually has a flush toilet.

If, on the other hand, you try to do this alone, you're continually either allowing your kids to run off with strangers or you spend the day trying to not end up on an Amber Alert interview.

While you're enjoying your afternoon, the air show is going on. Sometimes you look up and a neat military or civilian aircraft is going overhead. A lot of times you look up and a bunch of nutballs are flying way too fast, way too close, way too loud, and way too low.

Then you get hungry. You discover that all of the food you brought is gone, so you end up satisfying your hunger with a deep fried Snickers, a funnel cake, and steak on a stick. Wash all of that down with a $5 Pepsi.

Now you're broke. And the nearest port-a-potty is half a mile away, which isn't that bad because that's how long the line for it is.

Then it gets dark. You're shivering because your sunburn is bleeding off of the heat from your body. You and your kids and family watch 20 minutes of fireworks that are pretty impressive. Hopefully the wind is blowing away from you, or you get to inhale the smoke from all of those fireworks to add to your later case of black lung that you get just from living in IndiUcky.

Then you begin the death march back to your car. If you're lucky, you don't get mugged or lose a kid in the crowd. Extra points if your kids are so tired and worn out from running around all day that you end up carrying one or more of them, along with all of the things that your wife wanted taken along, but never got unpacked. Last time, I wondered if it would be better to just strap Little Bear and Girlie Bear to my backpack with bungie cords rather than have to pull them along.

Once you get to your car, you strap the semi-conscious kids and wife in, re-pack the car, and spend an hour getting out of the parking lot. On at least 3 occasions you will be scolded for your language by the wife.

You then spend 2 hours trying to get to the interstate to get home. If you parked in Indiana, welcome to a 4 hour ride home, since it makes no sense to let people just come over the river on the bridge that leads directly to Louisville. No, the powers that be will make you drive 25 miles west, then get on a bypass, then get on the interstate that leads you home.

If you parked in Kentucky, welcome to a road company remake of Road Warrior, in which you get to watch nuns cut people off and then threaten their lives. It still takes 4 hours to get home, but at least you have a show to enjoy on the way. The city always has some Rube Goldberg plan for getting people out of downtown without World War III breaking out, but I'm pretty sure they're actually trying to reduce the population using car accidents, shootings, and starvation.

If you're lucky, you arrive home in that sweet spot where you've caffeinated yourself enough after a 16 hour day that you make it home without falling asleep and killing your entire family, but you're not so wired that you can't fall asleep for 4 hours after you get home. Good luck on that balancing act.

Congratulations, you smell of old beer, sweat, and SPF 200 sunblock, and you've survived another Thunder over Louisville. OK, your kids will sleep all day Sunday, and you and the wife won't speak to each other for a couple of days, but wasn't it grand to spend quality time together?

No thanks. I'll stay home tomorrow, maybe cook out, but definitely stay away from all things Thundery. If I'm feeling froggy, I might go to the range and make my own Thunder.

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