Monday, October 2



Krissie and Nick.

I intended to wish both Nick and my sister a happy birthday here, but I ended up coming home after the fair and passing out. Which is why I'm up at 7 a.m. (Actually, I got up shortly after 6, before the sun was even up.)

Luckily I remembered to call them both — my sister in the morning and then Nick yesterday evening (I would have called yesterday morning but I don't call any non-family members before noon) — before the delirium sat in and I couldn't see straight thanks to the gnarly demon baby in my skull, kicking the back of my right eye.

When I laid down at 8:30, I didn't intend to be down for the count. I thought as soon as the ibuprofen kicked in I could hop back up and go about my merry way until the wee hours, as is my custom. But I woke up again at 11 or so and the hellspawn was still kickin'. And again early this morning and Satan's Littlest Minion had finally dozed off, but was still twitching in his sleep, his kicks inspiring a dull ache.

Now, finally, he's comatose until the next time I decide to spend more than a few hours outside.

So, the fair.

Good grief.

Phil's mom and brother and cousin came down to join us. We walked across East Parkway and into the fray at a little after noon, plunked down $5 to get in, and then waited in line for several minutes to plunk down $20 for a wristband so we could ride as many rides as we wanted.

That ended up being about five, as the place was PACKED — I'm talking half-hour wait times for rides and a sheer inability to walk around without trampling young children or their cheaply made stuffed animals.

It's been years and years since I went to the Mid-South Fair. I guess I was still in high school the last time my family went. I don't remember it being so crowded and I definitely don't remember it being so expensive (obviously; my parents ponied up all the cash). Libertyland was open then, so at least we could wander over there and ride the roller coasters. Now you can peek through the gates and see all the empty little cottages and store fronts, and the stacks of metal drums (containing what, I'm not sure), and it's just sad.

Anyway, there was this one ride yesterday that was awesome — Fireball or something. It was this huge pendulum and on the end was a circular bank of seats. So that part revolved as the pendulum swung higher and higher. Simulated death, over and over. Gets the heart to flutter and the bowels to tighten. What silly things we do when chasing thrills.

It's sad to get older and more uptight about that kind of thing. When I was younger, I would have ridden anything. A wheelbarrow on top of a 300-foot slide? Outta my way, chumps! But now? I get nervous standing in line. I eye the bolts and metal parts of the ride and analyze each noise and shudder. I silently implore God for forgiveness of my stupidity. And then I ride and I yelp like everyone else, except instead of the frantic excitement often seen in kids getting off a thrill ride, I now exhibit a weariness unbecoming of a 24-year-old. If I keep this up, I'll be just my mother and Phil's mother: Here's some money to ride, now I'm going to go sit over here and smoke a cigarette and watch you ride, because that thing looks scary and unstable.

Maybe it's just the fair that scares me a little. I mean, knowing that you're hundreds of feet in the air relying on some machinery that was assembled in a couple of days is unsettling to say the least. Even Phil got a little spooked at the thought when we rode the ferris wheel:


We left the fair at 6:30 or so after realizing that we'd have to wait for a loooong time to ride anything, even the crappy rides. And we were already drained and getting increasingly agoraphobic as the crowd grew and grew and pulsed with life and sweat and more bedazzled blue jeans than you could imagine (when did that come back in style, by the way?). It was too much.

But it was fun. Pictures are here.


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