Jul 202012

Alternately Titled: How Erin & Henry Almost Broke Up at the Fair Because of the Law Firm Walking Challenge

Oh, the fair at night. Time to smile dreamily at the lights, cuddle up close to your meatslab, look at your pedometer and realized JESUS FUCK IT’S 10:48PM AND I’M ONLY AT 17,000 STEPS AND THE FAIR CLOSES AT 11PM AND IT TAKES AN HOUR TO GET HOME HOW WILL I EVER REACH 20,000 BY MIDNIGHT?!

At the moment of my discovery (and subsequent high-voltage freak out), Henry was already walking toward the exit.

“Wait!” I exclaimed. “Everyone should go on the ferris wheel one last time.” (This made the kids cheer and who wants to say no to cheering kids? I mean, besides me?)

“Aaaaand, while that’s happening,” I added in my creepy salesman tone, “I’ll just go ahead and walk around the fairgrounds in a quick pace.”

Seri volunteered to accompany me on my walking race against time, with the stipulation that her flip flops were very thin and she would prefer to walk upon grassy surfaces only. I pretended to be sympathetic to her podiatric handicap, for about FIVE MINUTES. And then I was back to yanking her all around the grounds, atop gravel paths and Skoal cans and the discarded spirits of rookie carnies.

Most of the vendors had packed up for the night; the lights were off inside the game tents; and all the food slingers were milling about their snack trucks, smiling at the thought of single-handedly progressing the American obesity epidemic. It was a side of the fair I’ve never seen because we never stay that late, and now I’m kicking myself as I realize I probably missed some prime carny antics. Carnies After Dark, can you image the debachery that goes on inside their moist, beefy underpants?

Someday, I’m going to go behind the scenes.

Seri and I made it back to the ferris wheel right before 11PM. Henry was trying to hide his irritation since we were among new people, but he had that strained,  simulated smile on his lips – the kinds that serial killers apply before they ask that hot co-ed if she needs help crossing the road to her sudden death. So I knew he was trying to appear jovial despite a burgeoning need to garrote me with piano wire when I pointed out that I still hadn’t accumulated 20,000 and hey here’s nother great idea — perhaps I could walk back with Seri, Pete and Corey who all parked in a very faraway lot, and then Henry and Chooch could just drive over there to meet me. That way I would certainly meet my goal in spite of the fairgrounds closing.

“Whatever,” Henry huffed, exiting the fairgrounds with Chooch.

Corey, Seri and I walked ahead of Single Dad Pete, who was busy trying to placate two exhausted mini-Chooches. It was hilarious to me (but not to Pete, I’m sure) because they sounded JUST LIKE CHOOCH with their “This was the worst day ever!” complaints because HENRY had lied to them and told them all the games were shut down before they actually were. Way to go Henry, you dick.

However, for all the vocal vitriol they had going on, they were actually presenting very little of a struggle. I even turned around and commented on the fact that despite all the whining, they somehow looked calm. Seri was all upset about it and I pointed that the scene would look pretty casual to a deaf person.

Seri and Pete had parked a good distance away from the fairgrounds, and Corey was even further away. It was well past 11pm by the time we reached Seri and Pete’s car, and most of the grass lot was dark and empty. As we were all saying goodbye, Henry called me to see what was going on. All I was able to get out before we got disconnected was, “I’m saying goodbye and then I’m going to walk back.”

And by “back,” I meant “back to that particular lot’s entrance,” which was what we had agreed on before splitting up. However, when I reached the entrance, Henry wasn’t there waiting like a good puppy. I called him and he said, “Well, you said you were walking back, so I turned around and went back!”

He had gone all the way back to the other lot.

Let me tell you something about the Big Butler Fair – it’s the largest fair in Western Pennsylvania. I don’t know anything about square miles or acreage or anything that might help a person understand just how great an expanse these grounds really are, so just let me say that they are really fucking large and pretend like you understand.

The grounds are really fucking large.

At first, I exclaimed, “No! That’s even better actually. Just stay there and I’ll come to you.” I was practically licking my lips like those pedometer numbers were a big bloody steak and I was someone who might actually get turned on by big bloody steaks.

Everything was going great! I was pumping my arms and powerwalking toward the direction of my estranged love when suddenly my path was obstructed by a large fence.

I do not climb fences.

There was no other way to get back to the other parking lot.

“Walk down the road!” Henry barked when I called him and hysterically filled him in.

“I am not walking down the HIGHWAY AT NIGHT!” I screamed, not like it mattered because there was NO ONE ELSE IN THE PARKING LOT BY THAT POINT. NO ONE ELSE YOU GUYS I WAS ALL ALONE.


Meanwhile, Henry is doing that thing where vignettes of fantastical murder scenes dance through his head like blood-lusting Sugar Plum fairies, and then snaps, “Well, what the fuck do you want me to do, Erin!?”

What a stupid question. Call Punjab and have him helicopter over to me and hoist me over the fence with the sheer strength of his unraveled turban, Henry you cocksucker.

“I don’t know, maybe COME BACK AND GET ME!?” I yelled, marching back to the parking lot entrance, fighting that awful sting of angry tears that Henry is so good at conjuring. He should be next year’s magic act at the fair.

Henry kept saying he didn’t know where I was, and every time I would have to yell, “I am right across from the motherfucking general store where you tried to buy sunscreen a few hours ago, dickhead!!” over again, it felt like my eyes were going to squirt out of their sockets. Oh, rage!

By now, I’m at the entrance. There is a cop parked nearby which makes me feel a sick combination of safety and anger. ENJOYING THE SHOW, ASSHOLE? And then I see Henry pull into the parking lot of the general store and proceed to sit there. I called him and asked, “What are you doing?”

“Walk across the street,” he barked, as 56 motorcycles and 87 big rigs went roaring by. Oh, I see what you’re doing there, Henry. Nice try. I refused, but he couldn’t turn into the parking lot to get me because there were barrels and cones all over the road, so he had to keep driving away from me in order to find an exit and turn around so he’d be on the correct side of the road to pull in.

Needless to say, when he finally came back, I huffed over to the car, threw myself into the passenger seat, slammed the door and tersely said, “Do no talk to me.”

“Yeah, like I even want to,” he mumbled.

But our silence only lasted for about 10 minutes because I always end up laughing and how could anyone stay mad at my adorable face?!

The next day, Chooch randomly mused, “Wait, weren’t you guys fighting last night?” He was half asleep in the car when everything went down.

Henry pointed at me with his big dumb thumb and Chooch said, “Ooooh. Because of Mommy’s walking.”

You’ll be happy to know that I got my 20,000 steps that night though! The last 1,000 of which came coated with Ju-on.

[Side Note: The Law Firm Walking Challenge concluded on July 8. Team Apple wound up in 15th place overall, and as an individual I placed 7th out of 249 or something. I am not pleased. My last week of walking was totally pathetic. There were obstacles that not even someone with the steeliest of wills could overcome, 100 degree heat being one of them. But good news, guys! We were instructed to keep our pedometers BECAUSE THERE MIGHT BE ANOTHER CHALLENGE BY THE END OF SUMMER! I’m totally picking my own team this time.]


  4 Responses to “Big Butler Fair 2012, Part 4: Lowlights”

  1. several years ago when i was living in small town texas and working as a police dispatcher, we would get to work extra duty at the county fair. it was pretty cool because afterall, who doesn’t want some extra cash? and because we were there really early til really late and got to witness all the carnie action… it was really something else… the cops developed the habit of simply looking the other way because if they didn’t, well, they’d be in the jail writing reports all night long lol

    how much longer is this walking thing going to last? poor henry may have some health issues before it’s all over with ha!

    i bet you are getting into really fantastic shape with all that walking… or maybe you already were in which case you are getting into even better shape and enhancing what already was :)

    • Oh man, that sounds amazing! I bet you have a ton of stories!

      The walking challenge is over but I’m doing some mild training to stay at the top of my game for the next round!

  2. What you need to do is start hitting up the people in first through sixth to put an unstoppable team together for the next round. Weed out the weak ones and you’ll for sure be unbeatable.

    I dated a guy once whose family owned the carnival, so we got to see the carnies completely outside of the carnival sometimes. I think they are even more creepy when they aren’t surrounded by amazingly fun death traps.

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