Tonight Willow and I went to the North Carolina State Fair. We went hungry. Now my stomach hurts.
I do not regret any of my choices.
We got off the bus and went straight for the row of buildings where there’s a church that sells amazing ham biscuits. Willow said, “Which one has the best?” and I said, “It’s either that one, or that one.” The only possible choice was to get one of each and have a ham-biscuit-off. So we did.
I’ll bet you can guess which one won. We tried to be unbiased. We tried the one on the left first. It wasn’t bad. “I mean, it’s not like I would kick it out of bed,” I said inappropriately about my church biscuit. But then we tried the other one. Cary United Methodist. Hands down. It’s the first time I’ve ever endorsed anything that happened in Cary, but I stand by this one.
After that we had Al’s french fries, like you have to do, and then went in search of the ice cream made by tractors. It’s kind of loud and diesl-y, but Willow says for those who love ice cream, it’s totally worth it. And then things started to get pretty as the sun went down.
When it was getting good and dark, we hit the midway. “I know you don’t like fair rides, so we don’t have to do any,” said Willow. “Oh! I love fair rides!” I said. “I think I miscommunicated when I said the thing about about always being sure on a fair ride that I am going to plummet to my death because I don’t trust that everything is hooked up correctly. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them.”
So we strolled around and looked for some good ones. Everything looked loud and fast.
I need someone to ride the Zipper with me. It looks kind of terrifying and awesome. Nobody I know who has ridden it will go on it again. I have to know. Willow got PTSD just watching it.
We ended up on the Enterprise, where I flattened Willow behind me, and on some Orbiter thing that started to shudder when we were on top, which didn’t sound good, but it was fun. I didn’t freak out until we rode the swings, which we shared with a bunch of six-to-ten year olds. Did not know the swings terrified me. Guess what? The swings terrify me.
The problem is, I can handle anything that’s enclosed, and anything that spins and flips me around, even if it goes upside-down, if it looks like a big, chunky piece of equipment. It’s when I’m dangling by something delicate, high above the crowd, that I envision plummeting to my death. I get to a place where I am swinging, far higher than I should be, soaring even, and the following thought comes unbidden, and repeats itself over and over:
and I realize that I am not in control of the situation, at all, this or any situation, really, and that all of my being is hanging by a slender thread, floating through the universe, and if someone along the way failed to secure something at the right moment, I will sail off of this carefully orchestrated carnival ride and there will be a most dramatic crash. There’s another voice in my head saying, trust that everything will be fine, have faith in the people around you, take a deep breath and enjoy the view from up here but if I am dangling by a thread somewhere, that other voice is a lot more persuasive.
Nothing like an existential crisis three stories high. I white-knuckled it through that one so tense that everything hurt when we got off, and my left hand was so tight around the chain that I struggled to let go when the ride was over. None of the six year olds looked like they’d white-knuckled it. Punks.
After I stopped shaking, we went to admire the cake decorating and handicrafts and 4-H displays and jars of preserves, and I made Willow get our handwriting scientifically analyzed by this very reliable looking piece of equipment called the “Televac.”
It didn’t do too badly. I thought number 4 was spot-on, given the context of the weekend.
We didn’t do this on purpose, but we ended up on the ferris wheel just as the fireworks started. We were at the very top for the grand finale. It was gorgeous up there, a perfect mild October night.
Everything below us looked like a fairy land, which is why I love the fair at night.
We stopped by the waterfall to rest, before we fortified with funnel cake and caught the bus home. I am going to have to spend the rest of the week recovering with fruit smoothies and salads and yoga.
All of that, yes, but I’m having a candy apple for lunch.