My Fair Lady

30 Aug

Summer may not be officially over for another month, but for us, it’s done. School has been back in for almost two weeks (thank God) and a few of the maple leaves out front have even started to turn an orangish-red. Sure, it’s 103 degrees and so dry it makes your eyes hurt, but Fall is close. I can feel it. Cooler weather and quenching rain are on the way.

A few weeks ago though, to end our summer with a bang, we decided to hit the State Fair.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan. It’s always hot, too crowded and usually just gross. (When I was younger, some kid spit on my mom from the top of the ferris wheel. Every time I walk by one, I still cringe).

So after a giant plate of curly fries and some funnel cake, I’m over it. And to be honest, I don’t really like funnel cake. It’s just a long day full of spinning backwards and flying upside down on noisy rides I don’t want to be on, while the greasy-haired carny who’s in charge of my safety picks his fingernails with a rusty pocketknife he won from the bearded lady in last night’s midnight round of quarters. Not that I judge. It’s just not my thing.

But every other person on the planet seems to like this stuff, so we went. We parked half a mile away (another bonus) and hiked to the entrance. As we stood in line to have our bags searched, I could feel the tickle of sweat already running down the backs of my legs. We hadn’t even gotten through the gate and I was miserable.

We paid the admission and pushed through the turnstile. After waving off the “complimentary” photograph (such a racket), we huddled around the ticket booth and started calculating the best deal for a day’s worth of rides. A few hand stamps later and we were good to go. Not five feet from the entrance and already $150 in. Nice.

And then I heard a woman behind me say this:

“I know someone who clawed her own eyes out, you betcha, and now she’s blind. Straight up.”

Huh. That’s a new one. I wonder if this unlikely event was the inspiration for Paula Abdul’s hit in the 80’s. YouTube – Paula Abdul – Straight Up (Video). Or better yet, how about for a new website:  Seriously, WTF? Is that even possible? I want to meet the cat that can claw their own eyes out. I have questions.

When I turned around (how could you not?), the long-haired, leathery old woman was wearing a bright orange vest. An employee. Of course. I can’t be sure, but I thought I saw a rough patch of stubble on her chin and the faded outline of an old pocketknife on the back pocket of her jeans. You know, like the burners in school used to get from their Skoal cans. Tough break. But like Everlast says, “it comes that way, least that’s what they say, when you play the game.” YouTube – Everlast – What Its Like.

And then I smiled. Because all of a sudden, $150 and a little bit of sweat seemed like a bargain. Definitely worth the price of admission.


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