We went to the state fair last weekend. After the fair (which is held a couple hours away from our home), we stayed overnight with some friends who were kind enough to host us in their home.
We arrived at the fair at around 10 a.m. We headed to a vendor expo building first because it gets really crowded as the day goes on and we wanted to get it out of the way early. The building is packed with companies hawking magical mops and amazing! fantastic! knives and onion choppers. I have actually been tempted by some of the mops (which promise to solve all of my housework challenges) but have no interest in toting one around all day. I bought some soap, some bug spray that was touted as being the end to all mosquitoes everywhere (active ingredient: catnip oil. no lie), and a gift for my unborn nephew. Did I tell you both of my sisters are knocked up? My middle sister is expecting her offspring first, and we already know the baby has a penis. My wee baby sister will find out about her fetus next week. The other thing we bought in the expo building: a $4 pickle. Our kid is gaga for pickles. We first handed her one when she was a baby, because we thought it would be funny to see her make a sour face. She gobbled it up and asked for more. The whole scene was not nearly as funny as we'd hoped it would be.
We then went in search of junk food. Deep-fried oreos, comin' right up! The three of us split an order. I came upon a wine bar at around noon, and since everyone knows that it's perfectly acceptable to have an adult beverage anytime after noon, I ordered a sangria. You see, we were baking in oppressive heat. It was inescapable. Throughout the day I think we spent roughly the equivalent of our mortgage on slushies, water, root beer . . . basically any form of hydration we could find.
After lunch, we headed to the midway so that the short one could hit the rides. We bought her a wristband so that she could ride as many rides as she wanted. She just hit 43 inches and a lot of the rides require a minimum height of 42 inches, so she was psyched. There was one major problem with the midway, which is that there was no shade or buildings anywhere. I finally ended up sitting under a sparse tree that was next to a sideshow. Yes, a sideshow. There was a sign touting the world's smallest horse. You could get in to see the horse for fifty cents. However, once people got up to the gate, they found out that for anyone older than an embryo, the price was actually a dollar. So, people paid the buck, then walked around an open trailer, looking down into an area that I couldn't see (because I hadn't parted with a buck, ya'll) and then descended the stairs with a slight frown. I had to admit, I was curious. It didn't take long for me to figure out what was going on . . . mostly because some bowlegged fellow hopped off the sideshow trailer and announced, "It's a fucking Shetland pony!"
Speaking of horses, we walked through the horse barn and saw some beautiful Clydesdales. Have you ever seen the testicles on one of those animals? Like grapefruit. No lie. Anyway, as we were leaving the horse barn, I spotted a little boy walking towards us, crying. "Hi," I said, "Did you lose your parents?" He nodded. Oh my, what do we do now? I figured if there was one thing I could do for him, it was to be a grown-up and assure him that nothing would happen to him. I asked him his name (Matthew) and asked him where he'd last seen his parents (in the horse barn). Keep in mind, this was a huge fair with thousands and thousands of people. The horse barn was ginormous. I pulled out my park map. The nearest "reconnection center" was pretty far away and it seemed like a bad idea to take this four-year-old boy too far from where he'd last seen his guardians. We stood with him for a while while we decided what to do. Finally, I called the local police, who said they'd send someone over. A few minutes later, a rotund fellow with a beer in his hand sauntered up to us and nodded at Matthew. I realized he was the dad. I told him that we'd just called the police and that I'd go ahead and cancel the call. He nodded again, mumbled thanks, and walked away with his son. I didn't really expect any thanks, but he sort of acted like I'd inconvenienced him in some way by looking after his child. Whatever. If nothing else, I taught my child that if someone needs help, help them.
We spent the rest of the afternoon sweating our arses off. The fair boasts a skyway . . . one of those deals where the tram cars hanging on cables make their way across the fairgrounds. We thought, "Hey, maybe we'll catch a slight breeze up there." It turns out that we forgot one thing: the scientific principle that requires heat to rise. Going up in the skyway basically just brought us closer to the sun and we baked like cornbread. We left the fair shortly thereafter. When we got to my friend's house, I sat in front of their window air conditioning unit the rest of the afternoon and evening. I'd probably still be sitting there if I hadn't needed to be back at work on Monday.