Today, I went to the fair. No, really. My wife had mentioned wanting to go yesterday and I’d answered her with a “Sure, sure.” – you know, the kind of response you give an acquaintance who suggests getting together for coffee some time. Sure, sure. So imagine my surprise this afternoon when she took that “Sure, sure.” as some sort of agreement on my part and actually expected me to accompany her to the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver’s take on carnival rides, funnel cakes, and petting zoos). What could I do? I’d said “Sure, sure.”. I ended up going with her.
When we finally drove up to the place, we were informed that both lots were full. Fortunately, a kindly neighborhood resident took pity on us and allowed us to park behind her garage For only twelve dollars. A five block walk and a fifteen dollars entrance fee (each) later, and we were just about inside. All we had to do was circumvent the lottery kiosks. “Hey!”shouted one woman , trying to snag me before I hit the turnstiles. “How’d you like to win a house?” “Already got one,”I replied without breaking stride. Seriously. What am I going to do with two homes?
The crush of humanity was headed in the general direction of the rides, but we weren’t there for the tilt-a-whirl or the whirly-gig or that thing that takes two full minutes to rattle up to the top and then all of five seconds to plunge back down to ground level. We were there for the food. Or, more specifically, my wife was there for the foot long hot dog with nine types of onions she’d seen on t.v. the other night during a local news report. Nine kinds of onions? Okay, off the top of my head: Spanish, Vidalia, green, Walla Walla, uh, small, medium, and large. What am I missing? Well, whatever they are, they were missing from Fondy’s foot long dog as well when she finally got one.
The lack of onion variety left a bitter taste in her mouth which she attempted to chase with the sweetness of a cinnamon and sugar dragon tail (aka beaver tail, aka fried up hunk ’o dough).
Then, we strolled the grounds. I have never seen so many World Wrestling Federation t-shirts in one place.
We wandered into something called The Marketplace that wasn’t so much a market as it was an auditorium filled with every late night t.v. pitch you can imagine: shammies and steam vacs and portable detox saunas and healing crystals and super garlic graters and stain removers and massage chairs and contour pillows and psychics.
By the time I walked out of there, I was feeling as though I’d sat through two weeks worth of infommercials.
On our way to the exit, we stopped to check out the sand sculptors displays featuring the works of some of the biggest names in international sand sculpting (I kid you not).
We also stopped to check out the not quite as impressive but no less entertaining “can” sculptures (Hey, it’s Wall-E!) before heading back to our parking spot.
As we strolled up the alleyway, we saw, Selma, the woman who’d rented us her parking spot out on her front porch. “Hi, Selma!”called Fondy as if hailing down a long lost friend. “Did you have fun?!”Selma shouted back like she genuinely cared. “Yup!”my Fondy answered her.
I’d learned my lesson. I kept my mouth shut.