Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Unfortunate County Fair Incident of 1996

I love the fair. LOVE it. So I was thrilled when rr pointed out to me that the State Fair is only a month and a half away. Because I.LOVE.THE.FAIR.

But this post isn't about the State Fair. Today I wanted to discuss county fairs, and in particular, the Waller County fair. Steve mentioned he recently went to a county fair, and it reminded me of the one time that I’ve ever been to one.

It was Spring of 1996. I was a sophomore in college, and my brother was going to a college baseball game in a city about an hour away from where I went to school, and my sister, BF/R, and I decided to take a trip over to see him. Well, rr and I wanted to take the trip, but we didn’t have a car, and BF/R has a “well, why not?” approach to life, so she drove us. On the way, we passed the Waller County fair. It was decided—unanimously—that we would be stopping there on the way back. It just seemed like it would be fun. Maybe BF/R was reminded of the small town she grew up in, but I was thinking about the rides and the funnel cake and the corn dogs (or as they say in Tennessee, “pronto pups.” Boy, didn’t my grandparents get some weird looks the first time they went to a Sonic in Texas). I was also thinking about the incredible people-watching opportunity. Yea! What fun we’d have.

And we did stop. And we did have fun. We rode a few rides, including one of those spinning things where you sit in your little car, and the car spins, and the car is attached to a big lever-swing thing, and it twirls you around in a big circle like a merry-go-round, so you’re spinning around and then also doing smaller circles. When I was younger, I’d loved that ride. Then I’d gotten a little older, and the older I got, the more I inclined to motion sickness, which isn’t fun, but at least I always get to ride shotgun. But rr (who also suffers from that affliction) and I had decided to brave the ride, and to our delight, we felt great.

All was good, all was well with the world.

Except—and this should have been a premonition—we did go on the Ferris Wheel, and we felt a little queasy afterwards, but we just assumed that we were not cut out for the Ferris Wheel. Plus, I thought maybe it wasn’t the ride, but rather maybe it was the speakers blaring out “Your Cheatin’ Heart” that was making me feel a little nauseous.

The next day, we went to another game, where we met two women. They were the girlfriends of my brother’s friends. We told them of the fair. They were interested in going. Of course they were! It’s the fair! In a small town! So we went. This time, things did not go so well.

We ate funnel cake and other fair food. We got brave. We went on the spinny thing again. Twice. MISTAKE. And then, for SOME REASON, we took leave of our senses and went on one of those boat rides with a boat shaped like a dragon or viking ship or something, where they flip you upside down a bunch of times. When we got off of that ride, it was very apparent that we had made what you’d call a “tactical error.” Here we were, a good 45 minutes from our home, and we’d gotten ourselves all motion sick right before we were due to get in a car--a moving vehicle. And there was nothing we could eat to settle our stomachs, because we were at the fair, where everything is fried, even the Twinkies and the candy bars.

So all we could do was drive home. I won’t speak for rr, but all I kept chanting in my head the whole time ‘you’re going to make it, you feel fine,’ my version of “I feel fine, I feel great, I feel wonderful.”

The chanting didn’t work. As we drove along it became more and more clear to us that we were definitely going to throw up, and we weren't going to make it home first. But driving down that country highway didn't give us a lot of options. BF/R had to pull over so that we could run into Burger King and throw up. And you know I didn’t feel well if I was willing to get close and personal with a public toilet (also, it was years before I could eat there again). BF/R was, unsurprisingly, very good natured about it. I felt so sorry for her. We were really miserable company. But that’s what friends are for—to drive you to BK so that you can throw up in a toilet rather than out the window of a moving car.

A few years ago, rr and I found a Hallmark Fresh Ink card, and on the front cover is a picture of a Ferris wheel, and it says something like “Nothing says fun like puking a bear claw.” And it made us think of her. [It also makes us think of Hills, but that’s another story.] But now whenever I see a county fair, I think of BF/R, and the stupid things that you do when you’re younger, and the amazing memories (good and bad) I have of those three years we were roommates.

Also, I feel slightly sick.

28 comments:

jes said...

ahhh...i can imagine it now. the stomach leaping into your chest...the giant twisting steel spinning you around and around and around...the generously fried funnel cakes and oreos on a stick...and the vision of you running into a BK, mouth covered, kneeling in front of the urine-covered, germ-infested public toilet.

nice.

JLR said...

Oh, yeah. It was soooo naaaasty. Nah-hasty. It was weeks before I felt clean again.

Amstaff Mom said...

JLR, I was so excited to see a new post, and then I saw the magic word - FAIR. I LOVE the State Fair. Fletcher's corny dogs are only a month and a half away?!?!!? yippee! WE SHOULD GO TO THE FAIR TOGETHER!!! Hubby has an agreement that he will go every other year at the very most, but it's not as much fun going with someone who dislikes being there. I have wonderful memories of the fair.
I went to a county fair a few years ago. We were given a pin stating that the fair was sponsored by the "Lincoln County Ass'n" Evidently Assoc. was not their form of abbreviation for "association". Nice.

I too have found that I can't ride rides like I used to, but I can still ride the Gravitron and Scrambler. Unlike the glory days when I'd eat at Pancho's and then ride the Shockwave @ Six Flags 10x in a row immediately following.

I can't eat funnel cakes, as I got sick on one in Hot Springs one time and that did me in.

Never heard the term "pronto pups" thanks for edu-ma-cating me.

JLR said...

Yea! A fellow Fair friend! I totally think we should go, if school time permits. I should warn you, though, I only go to the fair for five things:
(1) the food
(2) the car show
(3) the animals
(4) more food
(5) the Hall of Crap

I'm really not interested in anything that distracts me from those things.

I guess I shouldn't say crap (it's vulgar). I will amend that to the Hall of Things Ridiculously Overpriced and Otherwise Only Sold on Infomercials (TROOOSI).

Amstaff Mom said...

OMW! I'm LOL!!! The Hall of Crap! Is that the Hall of State? Or the Embarcadero or whatever it's called? I have my own list, and it is very similar, just more specific

1. Fletcher's Corny Dogs
2. Haas Texas Nachos (located in the food pavilion)
3. Auto Show
4. Animals
5. Sometimes the photography section in the craft building (there's a/c in there too)

I don't mind stopping by the TROOOSI building. (had to make sure I had enough "O's" in there)

There's nothing like finding a compatible "fair" friend. I sometimes wonder if you are for real, because we are WAY to much alike.

And I forgot to mention earlier how much I liked your "viking" ship description.

JLR said...

It's the embarcadero. Where the funnel cakes are.

I also go for the Fletcher's corn dog, but I also do the funnel cake, what was called Fiddle Faddle at fairs we went to in Tennessee but here is that ice cream with the chocolate shell with nuts on it, and the fudge (which I buy because it freezes well). I like the photography exhibition building as well because it has the butter sculpture.

Amstaff Mom said...

He He, the butter sculpture, I forgot about that.

Do you mean a Nutty Bar? I can picture the stands for it! 3 of them, at least.

Growing up, we always went on Private School Day. My grandmother and aunt took me the year the Texas Star opened, and I rode with her. It rained so hard that year that my aunt's shoe came off and almost washed down the gutter. She caught it just in time. Man, I love the fair.

I normally go on 3 cans of food = free ticket day. If not that, then Dr. Pepper $2 day. This partially makes up for the $9 parking and all the coupons I have to buy in order to gorge myself on fair treats. Oh, that would be so much fun to go together. Does RR like it as much as you?

JLR said...

Yes, she does, and we usually manage to get in FREE (I'll tell you how some other time), so we can spend all our money on food and infomercial stuff.

It really pays off to know the right people.

Amstaff Mom said...

FREE tickets!??! That's better than the three extra Ginsu knives or extra Chamois cloth they usually throw in w/ purchase.

I am SO there. C'mon September!

steve said...

NICE!!!

glad I could err... umm "bring up" this memory for you!!

Amanda Sue said...

i think jlr IS am, and she just entertains herself by pretending to be two different people.

that, readers, is my humble opinion.

Amstaff Mom said...

Amanda, although I revel in the complement, JLR and I are not one and the same. But we ARE the same age, and both love the fair, and my initials USED to be JLR. We both live(d) in the same area, can no longer ride rides like we used to, and are both Christians. And the list goes on and on. It's scary, really. Sometimes I think us bloggers really ARE family.

But don't forget our similiarites too, AS. Kindred spirits we all are.

Kim Plaintive said...

I just threw up.

From the comments.

(Kidding!)

RR said...

I do love the fair, AM, just as much as you and JLR. And, I might add, despite having been to the fair for going on six years in a row now, I STILL HAVE NOT SEEN THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD SHOW. So what if the bleachers are out in the baking hot sun? At the end of the performance, a really big bird (I forget which kind) flies right over head!!! That's better than the chickens.

Amanda Sue said...

that list of similarities is almost like the lincoln-kennedy list! you guys better watch your backs, and count the letters of the names of everyone you know!

Amstaff Mom said...

Thanks alot, KP, thanks alot.

RR, we can go to the bird show if you want. I've been twice, the last time being two years ago when I convinced our manager that going to the fair would be a great team building exercise, and he let us leave at 10am to go to it. Success!

AS - I'll watch my back!

Amstaff Mom said...

I CAN'T BELIEVE I FORGOT TO MENTION CLUE!

(and I just typed that by holding down the shift key and not by pressing the caps lock button. where's my coffee?)

Katie said...

Oh JLR we could trade vomit stories all day long. It is ALWAYS an EVENT for me but I think I have never actually vomited at the fair. Good story though

Ben said...

Roller Coasters... I am fine... spinning things make me puke.

I can relate. ;)

steve said...

Rollercoasters Ben? Did you ever hear my audio blog while rollercoaster riding?? I scream like a little girl!

Deals On Wheels said...

Commentary…
1. The Hall of Crap, huh?! Interesting concept…
2. I have an irrational fear of spinning and of vomit…
3. Funnel Cakes fall into the “donut” category…
4. I want to meet Elsie-the-cow this year. Last year, no one would go with me. She gets “introduced” to her admiring public every morning at 10 AM…
5. AM: If you REALLY decide to go to the State Fair this year with JLR, be sure to “keep your eyes peeled”. She has a tendency to throw donuts…

Amstaff Mom said...

Deals - Thanks for the heads up. It's a chance I'm willing to take.

Ben said...

Steve,

I must check this out.

Amstaff Mom said...

So, I'm sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of Cracker Barrel this evening, with the sun ducking behind the clouds, and a nice breeze in the air. There's music playing on the speakers and then a new song starts to play. "You're cheatin' heart". I think of JLR at the county fair and I just smile.

No lie.

jes said...

Where i grew, up the local garage sale was the best thing we had to a country fair. The entire town would come out and we would deep fry twinkies and then some of the dads would take all us kids around the block in the back of their El Camino (that was our roller coaster type ride). We would all bring out lawn chairs and just sit around and talk and then at the end of the day the family would give away all thier left over junk and we kids liked to think it was prizes from the fair.

Sydney said...

Oh Spinning thingies are the bain of my exsistence... may I never get on another one again... Reading this post pregnant made me nauseous! (Physically shivers, as goose bumps appear)

Amstaff Mom said...

still no new post, no comments, no nothing. *sigh*

Don't be trying to be like RR now.

Deals On Wheels said...

It is just [sigh] oh-so typical JLR...

AM: Just tell JLR that you and she are now "in a fight". Generally, this provokes a reaction of some sort from the "sweatless one". Hehe...