I was never one for carnival rides.
The noise is the first thing, the shrill cries, screams, and mechanical creaking, the uncouth discussions, the loud talking, the small children, the greediness of toddlers still unaware of their own self-centered viewpoint, the assault of the attendees' subtle tastes. Everything at a fair screams for your attention; each ride or stand is an island of assault on your senses, promising an extreme experience or ridiculously insensible prize. I know many, many folks that have an empty spot in their living room just waiting to be filled with a six-foot tall stuffed gorilla bear.
I went to the Portland Rose Festival's Waterfront Village Saturday. I went with my ladyfriend who is, unbeknownst to me until this day, a carnival ride junky. With requisite machismo running high, I agreed to go big, to ride the big rides, the scary, the janky. How bad could it be?
As it turns out, pretty bad.
After the third ride, I was sweating ice water, pot-sticker skinned, the skin of a man about to have a heart attack. It was impending-doom sweat. Something wasn't right with me and I was fighting back vomit. I was determined to sit out the last ride which appeared to be the worst of all, a contraption that spins you in a circle while you spin in a larger one, g-forces gluing you to your chair, destroying your insides for a small charge. "Funtastic", indeed.
"This will wreck me," I remember saying, still panting.
The ladyfriend went, bravely, into the line by herself to await her turn. She gets to the front of the line, and is stopped. Surely, she is too short to ride this as it looks like Satan himself created this machine. She's turned away, thank God, walks over, and says:
"I have to ride it with a partner—no singles! Please?"