Having had a lackluster Monday evening, despite all my efforts at making it otherwise, I was more than ready to head off to the fair yesterday. Nothing gets you over a serious case of the blahs like a good time with your friends, and my- did i have a good time!
When all was said and done there were seven of us that ended up going to the fair- Kitten, Oscelot, Sakura, myself, Shorty, Cookie (a coworker at Casa Bueno I've been dying to get to know better) and Flyguy, who met us up as soon as he got off of work.
The weather was perfect. I can't even imagine a better day to go. It was overcast, which was great after all of the days of relentless sunshine we've had. The weather was cooler too, which is an absolute necessity if you want to enjoy yourself. There's nothing worse that eating so much you feel sick when you already feel sick because of the heat. And rides? Much nicer when the ride seat doesn't scorch your leg when you sit down. We couldn't have
made a better day, honestly. And that's saying something, because in theory, we could have tried.
Everyone met up at our place so we could carpool. I was delighted when Cookie showed up bearing cookies for us. (Yep, that's how she's getting this name. How awesome is it, what a delightful, old fashioned, wonderful thing to do, to bring a gift to someone the first time you visit their home? I thought that tradition had passed her generation by completely. I was wrong.) We all sat and munched and chatted up everyone's recent personal life updates and had a grand time until it was time to leave.
Cookie and I ended up in Sakura's little toaster looking car, while Shorty headed off to ride with my ladies. We beat them to the fair, and had a few moments to let Cookie orient herself while we waited for them to meet us at the A&W. It was her first fair experience, and I was having a blast watching her take it all in.
In case you're curious, the photo, in order from left to right, is Cookie, Shorty, Me and Oscelot. Sakura took it, which is why he wasn't in it, and Kitten was off getting a Tater Twister, which is why she isn't in it. It was during our massive gorge break. We had giant turkey legs, cheese sticks, tornado taters, a caramel apple, hand dipped bubblegum ice cream and a couple sodas. Granted, we ate other stuff too...but that was our big sit down and eat break. We also split some nachos, root beer, three foot long corn dogs, some handmade lemonade and a bag of kettle corn.
I won't give you a blow by blow but the highlights, for me, were as follows:
While I was getting my caramel apple a group of very pretty women stopped me to ask about my tattoos. While we were chatting middle east culture, one of them whipped out a quart of hand picked blueberries. I demanded to know where she got them, because I love fresh fruit and I hadn't seen them. She said the stand was about to close (it was 9) but she insisted I take some, and so I let her hook me up with a handful of beautifully tart blueberries. They were really sweet. I was so surprised. Sometimes strangers can do nice things, eh? I wasn't so nice, I crammed the whole fistful in my mouth before I remembered my friends might want some too. oops.
Kitten and Sakura aren't really ride people, so after we got our ride armbands they went to bond in the E-plex, where all the exhibits were. I was glad for that, I like them spending time together. Me and the girls hit the midway and rode rides until we were giggling and dizzy. There was a huge slide you could race down in potato sack type things we did and it was awesome. (135 stairs, folks, it was tall) We rode the Himalaya, which is a set of cars that swing in a circle and speed up over time, dashing through paintings of the snow covered mountains. Its like a big kid's merry go round. I love it, its one of my favorite.
We waited in line to ride this giant swing looking thing that spun you around while you were swinging, called the Warrior and the kid on the ride before us puked. Cookie and I were fortunate enough to get the recently water washed puke seats. While we were riding, the swing shifted and made a loud mechanical noise. The girl in the seat behind us laughed and shouted "Oh, the sounds of safety" and we cracked up.
We went to look at the livestock and had an excellent time oogling mini-donkeys. We headed into the big barn and got to look at beef and milking cows, goats, horses and sheep. There was an exhibit where you could watch chickens hatch from the eggs. It was awesome. Cookie seemed to really like that, and she stayed long enough that a couple of teenagers asked if they were her chickens. She laughed and said to us, "Do I look like I own a bunch of chickens?" I made friends with a goat named Zeus, who I got at eye level with near his pen and he leaned out and licked my nose all over. Goat kisses are awesome. We also got to dodge all of the antique tractors as they shot out of the barn to take their places in the evening parade.
We took time out to wander the E-plex after eating and I loved looking at the quilts. I was totally foot in mouth when I told one of the ladies at the quilt stands that I loved the hand sewn quilts, because I think it takes more talent. I mentioned I liked a Civil War era second day dress down the aisle, but i would like it more if it were hand sewn. She coolly informed me it was. I was aghast. The seams were perfect! Turns out the woman who made it is a friend of hers and designs patterns for Butterick and McCalls. That explained a lot.
We went and ran to the karaoke stand and Oscelot and I sang a song each. It was fun, because there were total strangers everywhere, and I like preforming for strangers because there's less to be nervous about. I think I did okay. Oscelot, as usual, blew me out of the water. When I got down, everyone was munching funnel cake and deep fried snickers bars and Flyguy had arrived. We tromped off to get him an arm band for rides, because I wasn't going to have him only riding two because he didn't want to waste money. Oscelot and Kitten paid for his band.
We took back to the midway and did the giant slide again, the huge swings, the twisty swing, and of course the Himalaya. I watched while he and Cookie and Shorty rode the giant swinging pirate ship and giggled listening to all of them scream.
We paid for a round of water pistol game for everyone, and I won a giant pink stuffed snake. Its longer than I am. It was great fun to watch Kitten wrap it around her. For anyone who's seen any of my photos on FB or at home, they'll know why I didn't pick a bear or a puppy...Kitten and I have had a stuffed snake photo gag on all of our trips since we started dating. Now we have one of our own.
I about died laughing here too, because the guy running the target game was a mouth piece. The object of the game is to sit at your post, and when the bell goes off shoot water at a target. As you do, it blows up a balloon. When the first balloon pops, the game is over. The popped balloon person wins. How many people play determines the size of your prize. When we paid for everyone, it made sure that we'd get whichever one we wanted. I told the guy I wanted the giant pink snake as I sat down. He looked all of us over, Three lesbians, Shorty, Cookie and Sakura, and looked at Sakura and said, conspiratorially, " I think the girls have this one, sir, if you'll forgive me, I'll bet they're better at aiming for the hole..." and he winked. The joke, of course, being that most of the women were recognizably lesbians and Sakura is obviously gay. We all got a huge kick out of it. When I won (I never win!!!) he laughed and told me i must have really wanted that snake.
We also went to ride the one ride which looks like a ferris wheel tipped on its side, but the cars hand from it like clothes on a line. When you get it, it spins, and the cars tilt sideways. The ferris wheel part then moves up, so it looks like an actual ferris wheel and you're going almost upside down at one point. The girls had mentioned wanting to ride it earlier, and I was game, even though the look of the ride terrified me. I ended up in a car with Shorty, who reassured me it wasn't that bad, she had ridden it several times the year before. She got in the back, and told me to lean against her, since I'd end up pressed against her anyway. I was a little nervous, because Flyguy said that this ride had made him throw up the year before. I normally can hold it in. I've never not made it to a trash can or the grass, but I look at Flyguy as one of the manliest, toughest people I know. If it did him in, what would it do to me? I shouldn't have worried. Shorty was a comfort to me, and honestly, I felt very safe next to her, which I suppose is a comment on how much I like and trust her, because normally I would require Kitten and Oscelot to feel that safe. Both of them were sitting the ride out. It was an excellent ride, and I laughed nearly the whole time.
I'll tell you though, despite all the rides and the food, which were awesome like always...this was the best fair experience I've ever had. And it had nothing to do with those things, or the perfect weather, the low crowds or the freedom I felt to do anything I liked. It was my friends.
There's something really special about bonding with people you love at the fair. i got to know Cookie better, and I found that she's as honestly sweet as she seems. She fun and adventurous. She makes me laugh, which is hard to do...although less hard with the group we were in. I didn't mind the close quarters or the squishing on the rides I rode with her. And while I have no bubble with the people I love, I have a huge bubble with people I don't know well. I am, apparently, going to love Cookie the way I love all my good friends.
I loved watching Shorty and Oscelot (both the same very short height) lean their heads in and giggle over something. I loved watching Sakura and Kitten take videos of us and laugh at the faces we were making. There's something great in watching your friends with their heads tilted back, smiles so wide they are almost grimaces, laughing full throat with absolute joy at nothing at all. I loved the silliness and the randomness of our little group. I loved being able to share everything with everyone. I loved that we were unafraid to dance or shake or be silly to the incredibly loud rock music plays on all of the rides. I loved the pure, unadulterated happiness of all of my friends. I loved being able to snug up against my friends on all of those rides and whomever it was, know I was as safe, happy and joyful as I would ever be. I was exhilarated as we each threw our hands in the air and let ourselves be thrown one way then another, because we didn't care so long as we were all together and laughing.
Call me morbid, but if there were some sort of accident, if something did happen...I couldn't have gone a better way last night- my good friends around me, happy, full of life and not wanting for a single thing. Yeah- the fair is wild, a little dangerous, and sometimes creepy- but there's a safety in the joy and fullness of being with those you love that sort of cancels all of that out.
At eleven thirty, half an hour before the midway was supposed to close, there was a brilliant streak of lightning across the sky. Almost immediately, the lights on all the rides went off and the park went quiet. The sky opened up and the rain came pouring down over all of us- finishing us off at last as a group of stinking, hot, sticky people who very desperately needed someone to tell us to stop. I would have gone all night had they let me. But nature knew, just that moment, when we were done, and so we hugged Flyguy goodbye (he was in a different parking lot) and the six of us trooped to our cars in the rain, heads back, laughing and smiling that were finally getting rain at last. It was if, in that moment, the drought that has had sway over our area of the country, stressing and frying all of us, couldn't hold sway over the fullness of what we were when we are together. It, too, had to give in to our joy.
We didn't run, we didn't walk briskly, we only laughed our way out. We groaned, as we reached our cars, because it almost stopped for a moment. One of us ask d if that was it, and as if in response, the rain came back, harder than before, and we ducked shrieking and laughing into our cars.
On the drive home I smoked my first cigarette in almost six hours and the world spun quietly around me. After goodbyes were said, the cats were fed and I had shed my soaking wet jean shorts, I crawled under the blankets and closed my eyes.
This, I thought, is what bliss is.