Man, it was one of those weekends where at a certain point you could hit the “do-over” button. That time would be about 4pm Saturday afternoon. Let me explain…
So this was the weekend of the beloved company picnic my employer puts on each summer. We skipped the last couple summers because I just didn’t feel like chillin’ with a bunch of folks I see five days a week on the weekend…you know, the only time I can get away from them. Well, since my wife and I have become ‘fiscally responsible’ and started budgeting our money last summer(it’s worked out great, btw), we’re always looking for some cheap thrills for the whole family. You know, “Hey, so and so is having a barbeque and they have an above-ground pool and a pet monkey! Let’s go!”, or “They’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of Billy Sunday’s 50th soul saved? And they’re serving free hot dogs? That’s a meal we don’t have to spend money on. Let’s go!” Okay, so it’s not that bad, but this company picnic was at the Elkhart County Fair. It cost me $5 and the kids get wristbands to ride all the rides they want and we get dinner. It’s a win-win. My wife worked on Saturday, so we couldn’t leave until around 4:30pm, which wasn’t a big deal. Dinner didn’t start till 5pm anyways. Well, halfway there I start reading some of the information that came with my tickets and realized that our wristband vouchers had to be turned in by 4:30pm in order to get them. Son of a…. Then as we’re about a mile from the fairgrounds this young gal rear ends us. I’m starting to thing the fair was a bad f*****g idea. The young girl was mortified when she realized she not only rear-ended a mini-van, but a mini-van with kids in it. Fortunately, no one was hurt(that we knew of at that point), and the injury to the van was a dented rear bumper. Her Mercury Tracer looked like nothing had even happened to it. It was rather jarring, but we all walked away with nothing more than a jolt and insurance information.
So we get to the fairgrounds. The food was okay. Nothing great. Then we get into the midway and the kids start drooling at all the third rate rides that were being run by carnival barkers that had just been paroled from stints in state prisons and sexual deviant confinement centers. My wife gave in and said we should just buy some tickets so they all could ride one ride. One ride is like 4 tickets. It’s $5 for 4 tickets. Ridiculous. Anyways, we get 12 tickets and none of them want to ride the same ride(of course). So the youngest want to ride one of those rides where you sit in a car and you go in circles for like two minutes at 70 miles an hour all the while some unknown lousy band’s music is pumped through a pair of Realistic sub woofers at deafening volume. The kids get in one car(only two can fit in a car) and I’m in a car two ahead of them by myself. Now I have to say, my son has been known to throw up on long car rides. I was worried something might happen. So instead of just being able to enjoy this death trap for two minutes, I was looking backwards the whole time watching his face. First, it was excitement and wide-eyed wonderment at the speed we were going, and I felt maybe I could enjoy it. But as I turned my head to look forward I could hear the shrill screams of fear. I looked around and it was my daughter screaming, albeit with a smile on her face. But my son, he no longer looked like he was having fun. No. It was a look like he was going to drop out of consciousness. I started yelling at him but my screams were silenced by Rhianna or Tone Loc or whatever the f**k they had pumping at ear drum piercing volume. He looked at me and gave me a half ass smile and continued to look as if he was going to either pass out or throw up the two chicken quarters he’d devoured only a half hour prior to the “dance with the devil” we were in the midst of. As soon as it started, it ended. “Meathead Mike” as I dubbed him came by to tell me how to exit my death pod, but I was already out and helping the young ones out. They both said they had a blast, and my son denied being in any distress. By the time I’d gotten off the ride I was ready to get in our dented van and go home, but our oldest still had a ride to ride. So she begrudgingly chose another one of those equilibrium-shattering rides where they test your stomach’s strength all the while some toothless pirate is egging on some hillbilly trying to win his gal that Spongebob Squarepants stuffed doll by throwing rings around a Coke bottle. After a stop for some deep-fried badness, we made it to the van and back to home where we should’ve stayed in the first place.
Yesterday my wife woke up with a stiff back and a hell of a headache. Not sure if it was from the jolt of getting rear-ended, or from a migraine caused by the stress of having a husband that was about to lose his s**t the night before. Regardless, it was one more nail in the county fair coffin.
Not that the whole weekend was horrible. Not by any means. I did some recording with my friend Shane Darin Page, got a great John Coltrane record Friday evening, and my oldest daughter and I went to see ‘The Conjuring’ yesterday afternoon. My wife and I also watched a great(but very strange) movie called ‘Upstream Color’. I highly recommend it if you like sci fi and the straight up bizarre. It’s like David Lynch and Ridley Scott in one movie.
Alright, I’m done belly-aching. It’s a new week. Looking forward to that call from insurance!
So…how are you?