This weekend was our neighborhood festival, which includes carnival rides, petting zoo, games, magicians, circus acts, face painting, fried, greasy food and most importantly beer and wine. The kids are overjoyed and overtired and you can’t get more than 3 feet without witnessing some type of meltdown. It’s always nice to see it happen to someone else’s kid, makes you feel all warm on the inside.
The carnival rides are small for the most part, and thank goodness. Most of the operators can hardly formulate a sentence much less operate a mechanical device. My kids are banned from anything that leaves the ground; when I see a carnie banging on a lever with a metal bar to get it to snap down, I am concerned. At one point I asked one of them a question about the kids riding together and when he responded I almost passed out. His teeth were mostly black and blue and bleeding and they had been deteriorated down to sharp nubs. For a minute I was feeling bad because it must be a challenge when you don’t have good health care, however after watching him pile tobacco into his mouth and seeing his packs of cigarettes piled up on the ride controls, my sympathy turned into thinking he was a dumb ass.
Carnies freak me out on a level that I cannot even explain. I think of the in-breeding and the recycled gene pool that they come from and suddenly West Virginia doesn’t seem all that bad. I cringe when I see them lean over my kid to buckle them into a ride, sensing the germs falling off of them and onto my sweet angels. I actually check my kids for lice and inspect their teeth when they return to me, as I am certain plaque has realized how much happier it could be to escape the carnies and land into virgin mouths. I am sure it looks strange to see me bathing my kids with sanitizer after every ride and hear them crying, “Please mommy, no more it burns so much”. I don’t care, if I can’t put them into protective bubbles, I will wash the carnie off them.
The carnival, a place where we come to have good times with our kids, teenagers come to make out and women with questionable self esteem issues dress slutty. I am surprised at the number of middle aged women that think a skirt, tank top and stilettos are proper attire for chasing their kids around farmland. I myself had my New Balance shoes with the special inserts for the walking challenged. Really, do you think you are going to find a suitable boyfriend at the carnival; your choices are limited to carnies, divorcees and teenagers with MILF passions. As a side note, taking your bratty kids around with you while shopping for your next husband isn’t advisable. Even if you are hot, most men’s privates shrink inside when they see you attached to a sticky, screaming kid.
My favorite part of this family pastime is waiting in line for 25 minutes and getting close to the front to discover that my kid has to pee now – RIGHT NOW! So I leave one long line to enter another and I have to hope she doesn’t pee herself before I get her to the toilet. They actually bring in “fancy” porta potties to this event, the kind you would find at an outdoor wedding reception with real sinks, soap and paper towels. Bonus – they also flush. Unfortunately they have 4 or 5 steps to get into them and so you get behind all the Indian women in their full dress (another great idea for the fair) and it takes them about 5 minutes to figure out how to turn their bodies and get up the steps and in, this on top of however long it takes them to disrobe and pee. Once completed my kid starts screaming about getting back in that long line we left to come to the bathroom.
After waiting in all the lines and listening to my kids continually complain, I formulated a plan. I told my husband to wait while the kids were on the swings and I would go find cotton candy. When the kids got off the ride I waved the bags in front of them and said, “If mommy and daddy can go sit down and have a drink, you guys can have these bags of cotton candy.” I am brilliant, my plan worked and I got to sit and relax for a bit and I didn’t even care that they had 1,800 mgs of sugar coursing through their bodies.
How was it? Well, how the hell do you think it was? If you have kids and have gone to any fair, festival, playground, restaurant or place with other people you know the answer to this question already. It’s a challenge and exhausting and we all wind up in a fairly dark mood until the next morning when we relive one of the happy moments and trick ourselves into believing it was all worth it. Are we going next year, you ask? Well of course we are, our memories aren’t that long and the meltdown we would face if we didn’t go is worse than the one if we do. So pick your battle and go with the flow. Plan for the worst, hope for the best and be happy when you land somewhere in-between.