Every year, when ads start popping up for the state fair*, I think, "Oh my gosh, that would be so much fun!"
My mind is filled with stock photo images of autumnal delight -- children mesmerized by the twinkling lights of rides, cotton candy and caramel apples, young ladies and gents playing games to win stuffed toys for their paramours ... In my head, it's wondrous.
I get geared up to go. I imagine my head thrown back in laughter as I tilt-a-whirl. I smile at the SO, "I know what we could do this weekend ..."
Then, we arrive, and just as the stench of cigarette smoke and broken dreams reaches me, I remember that no fair has ever lived up to my glossy-staged-photo dreams, but instead always ends in too much hand sanitizer and nightmares of Enterovirus 68.
Cotton candy isn't tasty. It's sticky, like everything else at the fair, and I don't like sticky.
In that germaphobic, I'm-the-freak-that-worries-about-their-insurance-policy spirit, I give you everything I dislike about the fair in one photo:
My son does not want to pet the animals in the petting zoo. Which is cool because the animals in the petting zoo don't want to be touched either. There's a stranger in our photos -- who doesn't smile -- wearing a shirt with the phrase "tickled pink" embroidered on the pocket.
I think it's safe to say that no one involved in this is tickled pink.
And then there's me -- getting felt up by "the 'roo" that we all know isn't a kangaroo. (My aunt, who spent a significant portion of her adult life in Australia, confirmed this for me, and said that this creature was either a wallaby -- or an overgrown rat -- but it definitely wasn't a kangaroo.)
Of course, the kangaroo/wallaby/rat probably has the innocent intention of tapping out SOS on my chest in Morse Code in hopes of salvation, but considering how I feel about stickiness, I think you can imagine how much I wanted an animal that had spent it's day in a poop-filled pen in the parking lot touching me.
When we leave, the SO always gives me the "I told you so" look, and I nod in agreement -- until next year.
* I actually dragged my family to something known as a "fall festival." It's like a kissing cousin of the state fair. It may not carry the title, but the rides, shows and prices are the same.