Last weekend Tony and I went to the State Fair, and I didn’t even really know if I wanted to go or not. I haven’t been since I was little, and I didn’t remember it being much fun then, all crowded and hot and confusing. We went Saturday afternoon because I couldn’t be bothered to get up before noon. I am so glad I went with someone enthusiastic and excited, because I would have just negatived my way out of the afternoon and hated it, but Tony was all about having fun, and he always is, which is why if you have a party, you should invite him. He’s always fun.
So anyway, went to the Fair, and just so we could be off to a rocky start, all the fair parking was full. The signs didn’t show that the fair parking was full until we had driven to the very last gate, so freaking far away and so ghetto that we couldn’t see the damn fair anymore anyway, and the gate was locked. No sign, no explanation, just locked. So we pulled a u-turn, got back to the other official parking gates about twenty minutes later, which were closed and locked to all but those with “credentials”. I ask you, what kind of credentials do you have to have to park up front at the fair anyway? I guess a hood ornament that says Mercedes, or something, coz there were a lot of those behind those gates.
Tony and I made for the nearest yard lot, and paid a loud, gesturing man to park in his yard. One guy was trying to get us to pay him 10 dollars to park on the island in front of his house, but that didn’t quite fly. He doesn’t even own that land, so we weren’t about to pay him to park there, especially since we’d have to scrape up the curb to get there.
So we wandered in the gate, and picked up a brochure. Hungry, we decided to start in on the fair food. What better place than the “Taste And See” Pavillion. Note how the quotes were written. Not “Taste and See Pavillion”, but “Taste and See” Pavillion. This is a very important distinction. There was no food in this pavillion, except a miniscule wine and cheese bar, which, I can guarantee you, did not sell corny dogs. There was face painting, a butterfly garden, and a train rolling around on its tracks, and none of this, I mean none of this, was edible. Sure, it was a sanctuary from the crazy crowds outside the gates, but I was on a mission to get Fair food, so we skipped around some barriers that said “Do Not Enter” and exited the “Pavillion”. We saw a bunch of new cars, a sheepdog show where the sheepdogs herded ducks and sheep and one sheepdog even chewed his way free of the cord that was tying him so he could get a front row seat to the action.
Towards the end of the evening, he took me on the ferris wheel, which I do not remember ever doing before. It was a beautiful sight, a little bit frightening, but beautiful as we looked out over the crisp October evening at a glowing downtown Dallas and fair. The crowds looked so romantic in their hazy blur of evening light, the seat was cozy and snug with my boy, and it was just…beautiful.
But after the ferris wheel I was so tired I wanted to go, but I promised Tony he could play the carnival game, and after we ate, he looked for the Whack-a-Mole booth.
Let it be proclaimed here and now that Tony is the King of Whack-a-Mole.
And I doubted it. I admit it. Every woman has been with her man, and had him proclaim something that stretched reason, some skill that is not superhuman, but is difficult to believe. I never believed that people could win carnival games through skill, except if they had a wholly superior skill, like a major league pitcher’s accuracy, or something. In my opinion, Normal Guy couldn’t win except through luck. But Tony took the mallet in hand and was ready to start, at $3 a game. I prayed that he’d win so we could go home. But…he didn’t. I took a deep breath as he dug into his pocket for $3 more, my cue to begin summoning the words with which to comfort him (or drag him away from there) if he lost again, because he is tenacious, and when he says he will do something, come Hell or high water…but he won. He gestured grandly to the stuffed animals hanging down from above and said, “Which one do you want, baby? You can have whichever one you want.”
This was oddly thrilling. I was amazed at his prowess, and thrilled by the win. I know, silly, right? But I was. So I picked the bulldog and thoght he was a superstar, glowing in his carnival-begotten glory. And when he said he would win me another one, I smiled to myself, he’s so cute, he wants to try again. And then he won again. I was stunned and amazed, and as he pointed up to the animals like a bishop bestowing blessings and encouraged me to pick another one, when some kid down the line piped up, “That guy needs to leave!” The nerve. But Tony just smiled and good-naturedly asked me if it was OK if we go, gentleman that he is. We walked past the Budweiser horses and listened to a daddy try to ignore his daughter pointing at the horse’s HUGE penis asking, “Daddy, What’s that?…….No, Daddy, you have to tell me, what’s that?” We laughed to ourselves, discussed how we would have handled it, collected my two new stuffed dogs, Ben and Jerry, and left the State Fair of Texas.