Here we are now, entertain us…

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, from Nevermind (1991)

Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?!

Maximus (Russell Crowe), Gladiator (2000)

Dearest Rachel –

Well, I said that I would let you know about the festival once I actually went to one (Although I specified that it would be more likely if something didn’t work out, rather than if I enjoyed myself immensely; because if I did, I’d be too busy enjoying myself to actually write in any great detail). So here’s my little report. Let’s just say the anticipation far exceeded the actual event.

To paraphrase your beloved Hannibal Smith, I love it when a plan comes together. Seeing that plan in execution, however, isn’t nearly as exciting. I forget that fun fairs are geared more towards young children, and the parents that have them. And while they might be okay to observe for a brief moment or two, I was never that much into them personally. I guess it’s why I left you to your own devices that last time at Frontier Days.

Even the cuisine, if I might charitably call it that, has more appeal as the stalls are being set up. Sure, you only get one chance a year at a funnel cake, but have I really been missing it for $10 worth? I simply don’t have a little kid inside of me going “I want it! I want it! I want it!” until I give in and get myself one, and hang the expense.

Which is not to say that you did, necessarily. You had enough of the practical side in yourself that I didn’t deal with that sort of insistence very often.

Still, you had enough of the little kid in you that it would come up occasionally. Although to be fair, it was rare enough that when she did she show up, she was more endearing than irritating… and thus, more likely to get what she wanted.

Clever play on your part, I must say.

Anyway, enough introduction…

I started out by texting Erin, in hopes that she might want be willing to meet me at one or the other of these festivals. After all, these things are no fun on one’s own (although, I guess you seemed to have plenty of fun on your own that last time). And while I didn’t get a response, I figured I might as well head out just a little bit before noon which would put me there juuust a little bit before either place opened for the day. That way, I’ve been less likely to have any parking worries. No, I am not going to be walking in temperatures in excess of 90° like these.

And a good thing too. As I’m pulling into Melas Park, wondering where I can put my car, I’m struck by the fact that the parking lot near the entrance is… empty. They’ve already packed up and taken off. The midway area, with its vendor stalls, looks like the same ghost town we walked by last Tuesday. As Gertrude Stein said about Oakland, there’s no there there.

Again, thank heavens I didn’t walk all the way here for nothing. Now I have to course correct, and head to Recreation Park; I’ve already been assured by the roustabouts I spoke to you the other day that carnival is up and running through today.

And indeed it is, although from this distance it doesn’t show as much as I thought it would.

I chat up a few officials at the welcome booth, and they point out their recommendations in terms of food stalls; not that there’s a taste of Arlington or anything like that going on, but some offerings are more substantial than others.

And while it doesn’t have to bother me any more, when I look at the prices for a glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade (to say nothing of a turkey leg), I’m like… yeeeaaaah, I’m not that enthused about carnival food to want to spend that kind of money for it. I know there’s that (now relatively old) meme about the memer’s mother insisting that “we have food at home,” but that’s what’s running through my head as I look at the menu board. Yes, I’m getting hungry – and the smells are inviting – but I’m not so far away from home that I can’t just hop back in my car and eat there.

But what about the rides? you may say. Well, what about them? To get 25 tickets, you drop a Jackson at one of the booths, and then fork over six of them just to ride the Matterhorn. Sorry, if I had a girl on my arm begging to go on it, that would be one thing (and even then, I let you ride on your own – yes, I realize I keep bringing up our last time here. I’m still conflicted as to whether I should have handled it like I did. Sometimes I find myself regretting the strangest things), but I don’t, and I can’t bring myself to bother. It’s entertaining to watch for a moment, as an unsuspecting victim is strapped into a seat and shot three stories into the sky, but it’s not something I would choose to do for myself.

And so, in less than twenty minutes after crossing onto the park grounds, I find myself heading back to the car. And not a moment too soon, as my phone rings, with real life interrupting my holiday. Apparently, Twofeathers has just received a bill from some insurance company assessing her for the damages from the fire at your mom’s house over three years ago. I instruct her to contact the alleged company tomorrow, and send a copy of the bill/statement to me to discuss with our attorney, to determine if the demand is legitimate. I assure her that I’ll take care of things; she and Stan have enough on their plate without something stupid like this. Especially if it’s some kind of scam.

And now I wonder, why do I balk at $20 worth of ride tickets and $10 funnel cakes, and yet I’m willing to cover this issue for Twofeathers that might run in the thousands? Am I being penny wise and pound foolish here?

Wish I had you here to let me know I was doing the right thing. Even if by ‘the right thing,’ I simply mean staying here and watching you ride everything in sight.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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