When my brother Corey graduated college in the spring, I made him a photobook of one of our county fair adventures. Inside the cover, I wrote something to the effect of, “No matter how busy and stressful you are in your adult life, always remember to make time for deep fried pb&j and spinny rides.” I really believe this is the secret to not succumbing to suicide or madness: holding on to some delicate childhood remnant (i.e. your life when you’re riding the Zipper), ogling carnies, drinking overpriced lemonade and forgetting that you’re a parent. (Note: This should only be done if another parent is present to step up and be both parents. In other words: Thank God For Henry.)
Fanny pack? Check. Redneck Beer Belly? Check. Trailer Park Smoker’s Twang amplified to the nth power while hollerin’ at miscreant children? Check. The compulsion to publicly follow Flo Rida’s order when he tells shorties to get low? Check.
(I’m not judging. All these things happened in the span of time it took me to snap her picture. She didn’t get much lower than this though.)
Sometimes I think Life just has a way of knowing when it’s getting to be too much, and it finally gives me a reprieve by inviting the fair to town. The Big Butler Fair is by far my favorite (it’s BIG, just like its name insinuates!) and it was the only thing getting me through my last pre-vacation week of work. It was just a really bad, overwhelming week, the kind that could only make me appreciate the fair that much more. Good god do I need some carnival bullshit in my life!
Chooch got along really well with Seri’s kids, and I was glad because the poor kid usually always winds up riding stag (or worse: with some random little girl) in kiddie land. However, I discovered that grown-ups are allowed on Quadzilla, which is basically just these big dune buggy things that go along a track, but there is also a HILL and that was enough to entice me. Seri and I squeezed into one of the cars together, after the carny waved us on with something akin to annoyance, but how could anyone possibly be annoyed with me? Anyway, toward the end, our pictures were taken, like this was some giant coaster at Six Flags, but we were totally unprepared. Pete checked it out (there were monitors set up next to the ride in case anyone actually wanted to pay for that shit) and said we looked like Paris and Nicole. All I could think was, “If he’s comparing to me Nicole Richie, I hope it’s Nicole as Emaciated Mom and not Nicole as Chubby Faux-trailer trash.”
Although the latter would be apropos for the fair. I could have probably picked up some filthy hillbilly ass for sure.
Corey was also glad that Seri’s kids were there, but probably because he didn’t realize that he was still going to have to take unlimited spins on the Sizzler and Tilt-a-Whirl since the kids couldn’t ride alone. Come on, Corey – take one for the team.
Words can’t express how nervous this scene made me. Don’t worry — Pete was on there with them.
THEN DON’T DRINK IT!
We all (minus Henry) rode the Wacky Worm a bunch of times and the general consensus was: “Goddamn, Erin was RIGHT. This ride is LEGIT.”
Look how happy Pete was to catch a ride on the Wacky Worm! Henry could have been that happy, too. I guess he didn’t want to get any fun on his melon shirt.
I learned a lot about Seri that day:
- She says “to the hilt” A LOT
- Her hair is perfect
- not even 90° heat/humidity or the brisk movements of the Wacky Worm fucked it up
- seriously, NOTHING
- She doesn’t sweat
- actually, I think Chooch and I were the only ones drowning in our own summer secretions that day
- She likes a Pitbull song
My favorite part of the day was when she and I quit being parents (I know Henry is reading this wondering, “Wait, when did Erin ever START being a parent?”) and sat Indian-style in the middle of one of the midways with Corey, talking about our dysfunctional families. This was not my pedometer’s favorite part of the day, though. (FORESHADOWING.)
There were so many highlights, but the only lowlight I can think of was when all three kids hounded us about the carnival games ALL DAY LONG. Those fucking carnival games! Oh my god, I’m glad it wasn’t just my kid.
It’s totally OK for Henry to spend my future-wheelchair funds on games though. GAMES THAT HE NEVER WINS. How many of those overstuffed animals do we have in our house? OH, THAT’S RIGHT – NONE. At least not until Henry “dies” and I have him taxidermied, anyway.
Do you know what else the fair has that my house does not? Clean restrooms. They put attendants all up in that piece, and they go all out. You need to fix your curled and backcombed bangs before you meet up with Jeb at the tractor pull? They’ve got Aquanet. You feel the need to bump and grind at your reflection? They’ve got smooth r&b playing up in that joint. I was trying to bond with Pete over this later in the day, but he was not as enthused about the bathroom amenities as I had hoped he would be, but instead he began ranting about how he just wants to get in there and out as fast as possible with two kids in tow, not remark about how Boyz II Men tracks put him in the mood to pee.
I guess this goes back to that whole “parenting” thing that I don’t really know much about.
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