Well, there's hope for you out there ... . And that's because the trading universe is made up of a ton of instruments that focus on various sectors, various markets, and individual companies. Naturally, some of these don't trade 24/5 like SPX500 or /ES, but if you can't figure out how the S&P , /ES, or SPX500 should be traded here, you should quit banging your head against the wall and move on to other instruments. (Unless you enjoy banging your head against a wall ... ).
Some of the more obvious things to look at are naturally instruments like GLD (the gold ), SLV (the silver ), and TLT (the treasuries ). For non-US broad market exposure, look at things like EFA (the world market, ex. Canada and the U.S. ) and EEM (the emerging markets ). And for U.S. equities sector exposure, look at sector SPDR's, such as XME (mining), XBI (biotech), XRT (retail), XLF (financials), etc.
Naturally, getting into individual stocks can be a bit of a slog due to the number of companies involved. However, you can contract that universe to liquid stocks trading an average than 2 million shares daily and that are within the price range you want to devote to a play.