Today we took Captain Vulgarity to the Apple Fest in the ultra conservative farmlands of Western Pennsylvania. One has to park in various fields several miles from where all the apple action goes down and board chool buses doubling as shuttles. Our bus was pretty quiet, and the whole way there I sat with clenched muscles and pinched nerves, praying that Chooch wouldn’t start snarling spontaneous “Asshole“s to the elderly couple adjacent to his seat. The excitement of being on a school bus for the first time seemed to work effectively as a cuss retardant, thank the fucking Lord, so I was able to focus on the adorable lesbian couple in front of me, mouthing along to West End Girls and kissing the top of each other’s heads. Seriously, I wanted to paint a cupcake couple painting for those lucky assholes. (I don’t know WHERE Chooch gets that word.) I tossed a few resentful glares over my shoulder at Henry, who does NOT mouth the words to awesome synthpop songs or kiss me lovingly atop my crown. BUT MY GIRLFRIEND DOES.
If you like kettle corn, the apple fest is a fine place to spend a Sunday. If you like personalized wood-carved toy flutes and crafts made with puffy paint, then the apple fest could potentially complete your mantle collection. Do you like face paint? YOU WILL LOVE THE APPLE FEST. How about the tones of Jimmy Buffet cover bands colliding with whining kids and the grinding horror of chainsaws? Then the apple fest is like one mother of an orgasm contained on one whopping acre. Is the tied and bound body of your latest victim incomplete without an apple gag? You can buy ’em by the BUSHEL at the apple fest!
For someone who is not interested in any of the above (the last one, maybe someday), my typical I Hate The World venom was sort of tempered. I only said, “This is so fucking lame, ” once. ONCE. (I’m either growing up or someone plopped a Valium in my tea.) I had one goal, and one goal only: Eat some applelicious delicacies. Keep that pulled pork away from me.
We let Chooch go on some kiddie rides and molest some farm animals. (I saw a retarded man clap after he pet a sheep and I seriously almost died. Between that and the drugfreeworld.org commercials, I’m wondering what the fuck is going on with my heart-frost and estrogen levels.)
Ninety percent of the apple-humpers there were sporting Steelers jerseys and I felt slightly angry about it. But then I saw THREE WHOLE PEOPLE in Penguins shirts and I felt less alone. Chooch cheered when he saw one of those people, too, and I shouted, “That’s my boy.” Then I looked up to the heavens and mouthed “Thank you” when Chooch didn’t tack a gritty “Asshole!” to the end of his cheer.
We followed some shoddy and ill-placed signs for a hayride, hoping to keep Chooch’s attention masturbated since it was growing close to his naptime and his ornery side was beginning to peak. The designated area for the apple fest just isn’t large enough to hold all the fruity wonders and delights that are to be had, so the activities and vendors tend to leak down onto a nearby street. The hayride depot (I don’t know what I’m talking about) was situated next to a church. Henry pointed to a sign on its steps and said, “Let’s go see that.” Because my eyes are as bad as my ears (if not worse), I read it as “Come see the trans.” I was intrigued that a church would have transvestites on display for us hee-haw apple-folk. “How progressive,” I said out loud.
But it was just some model train display.
In the church’s basement, a bevy of booths were set up. As I walked past a stand of necklaces, I accidentally made eye contact with its purveyor, who flitted her hand and said, “They’re made from paper mache!” I fake-smiled and said, “OH OK” and hurried along before she compelled me with the Holy Spirit and Mod Podge. It stunk really bad in there, like church craft fairs often do. Some kind of horrible odor bomb of cooked cabbage, Avon perfume and shitty diapers. Chooch began acting like an orphan who was force-fed caffeine capsules and then turned loose on the world, so we yanked him out of there in time to go on the lamest hayride ever, where I was seated across from some older God-fearing woman who glared at me every time I looked up at her and her teenage daughter who had a broken foot and chowed on a bag of kettlecorn while staring dispondantly off into the horizon. Chooch only said “asshole” once, but no one heard him over the put-put of the tractor’s engine.
The tractor-driver let the wagon glide to a rest on top of a hill, where our screams would be heard by no one for miles and miles and miles. Slowly, he turned around, and as though he were in some sort of cigar and whiskey-flavored fugue, he slurred, “Six feet of snow….nothing but the moon in the sky….what do you think the view would be like up here?” No one seemed to know what to say, so I looked at Chooch and said awkwardly, “Pretty awesome, huh?” The only other person who humored him with an answer was the God-fearing woman, who curtly replied, “Nice.” I kind of felt bad for that old hick; he was just trying to fire up some camaraderie, after all.
Maybe if he would have added flagellation stations and bleeding Stigmatas to the vision, God-Fearer would have been more excited.
There really wasn’t much to see out there. Several cows, but that novelty wears off pretty fucking fast, especially when Chooch got to pet pigs and sheep on the actual festival grounds. In fact, I’m not even certain the hayride was a part of the apple fest. It was probably just some neighboring farmer trying to make a quick buck because his crops sucked this year.
After that disaster of a hayride, I finally got to have some sugary apple slop. Standing in line, I was certain I wanted apple crisp, but as we got closer to the front, that apple pie looked simply to die for, so I changed my mind. Henry went with the apple crisp and we took our plates of fat and calories inside where some old broads were quilting on a raised platform, watching everyone eating at the tables. Awkward.
After two bites of my pie, I stole a bite of Henry’s apple crisp, deemed it tastier than my pie, and arranged for a switch.
“Good thing I know you so well,” Henry grumbled. “I was going to get pie myself, but I figured you would be disappointed and wish you had ordered the crisp.” It’s a good thing, having someone studying my indecisiveness so thoroughly since 2001. He’s somehow always one step ahead of me.
After that, we got in line to board a bus back to the lot. Some older gent, who took his job way too seriously, shouted commands at us before he’d let us get on. “THE BUS IS APPROACHING. BEGIN FOLDING YOUR STROLLERS NOW. GET IN THE BUS AS FAST AS YOU CAN AND PLEASE FILL UP THE SEATS STARTING AT THE BACK OF THE BUS FIRST.” A hearty brow-swipe followed, and then he stepped to the side to let us through. I’m certain he was reliving the good old days of the Korean War.
We were the first ones on and I was determined to follow instructions. That guy seemed like the type to march aboard the bus and throw out the rule-benders by their ears. So I plunked down in the very last seat, just like my friend Rosa.
Five minutes later, the bus was pulling away, and there were only about ten of us on there. An old man in front of me mumbled, “He was so adamant that we fill up the back of the bus, and there’s hardly anyone on here.”
IT WAS FUNNY BUT I GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE.