Wednesday, September 07, 2016

A Day at Del Mar

We decided to take Amtrak to Del Mar to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday. Our train was supposed to depart at 1:00 in plenty of time to arrive for the first race. When we arrived in Oceanside, we were told the train would be at least 45 minutes late. Goodbye first race! Jim, Richard's brother noted that "getting there is half the fun." We killed time looking at pictures on the iPhone, taking pictures of each other and discussing our various fool-proof techniques for picking winning horses. 

There were no signs indicating where to wait for the trains—both north and southbound trains run on the same track which is a bit confusing. The person who checked the tickets as we finally boarded was surly and unsmiling. I noted that the service level was about the same as the Chinese trains we've been on. The 20-minute ride was uneventful; seats were comfortable. 

At Solano Beach, we got on the complimentary shuttle along with a busload of ancients. Most of the seniors heaved themselves up the bus stairs and waddled down the aisles, collapsing in the seats with much huffing and puffing. The aroma of lunchtime martinis and Mai Tai's drifted over us all.  The bus driver in a ploy for tips, sported a lei and played Tiny Bubbles on his ukelele. People were discussing their various potential winners in uber loud voices—hearing aids were being turned up and down accompanied by the usual squealing feedback. I could detect a whiff of cigar smoke. As we drove to the track you could close your eyes and identify the various restaurants we passed en route from the waves of aroma we encountered: barbecue smoke - ribs, grilling meat - steaks, Chinese food, McDonalds. As we de-bused, everyone ignored the driver's huge tip vase, conspicuous on the dashboard and seeded with fives and tens.
It was a beautiful day. 

Track Monkeys
California seniors seem to a man person to have recently experienced the removal of those pesky pre-cancerous skin flaps and barnacles. Half of our bus companions wore tell-tale band-aids on cheeks, foreheads and arms. My doctor is a gerontologist; he carries that freezing instrument they use on moles around with him from examining room to examining room. You don't get out of there without having something frozen off. I've suggested he get a holster for the device and practice whipping it out like a pistol. Everyone our age has mottled arms - thanks to the baby oil/mercurochrome basting sauce we used to slather ourselves with at the beach. We're still slathering but now instead of inviting the sun, we fight it off and you can see the ashy residue of sunscreen SPF80 on the exposed body parts sticking out of the ubiquitous Hawaiian shirts. To complete the costume, racing forms protruded from shirt pockets or sticking out of pant's back pockets. Everyone wore big sunglasses. 

After we settled at our table and ordered lunch, I noticed a man walking around in a pure white suit with a pastel shirt and a lovely tie. You might think "Kentucky Colonel" but he was in good shape and had a nice head of white hair, no beard or mustaches. It was the woman with him who got the most attention. She was probably sixty-five with over-bleached hair, streaked with colors. Heavily made up, she sported a set of puffy "soup cooler lips" you can buy at your local plastic surgeons. You could hear her coming, she was wearing so much jangling jewelry. Her leather mini-skirt exposed her thighs which had succumbed long ago to gravity and slid down to her knees where they stopped abruptly and lodged in rolls creating an effect similar to when sleeves are pushed up to the elbow. Above the knees, above the rolls lined up like waves waiting to break on a beach, her thighs looked wasted and were puckered with cellulite. Teetering along in 6-inch hooker heels, she looked freakish and every step must have been painful. It was a sad spectacle indeed but then, the man in the white suit must have thought she looked pretty good—"a chacun son gout." 
Declaring $.24 winnings to the IRS.
In counter-balance to this scene, we had a group of twelve women "of a certain age" (appropriately dressed) next to us, all having a wonderful time celebrating a birthday. The up-beat ladies were enjoying the races, the wagering, and most of all each other's company. Martini glasses, margarita glasses, and tortilla chips littered the table tops; the laughter was non-stop. 

It was bad, bad day for me. I think I won $.40 on one race. Richard won $10.00—Jim and Paula a couple of bucks. I bet on a couple of long shots who performed as expected, "sucking the hind tit" all the way, but who can resist 80-1 odds? 

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