Saturday, May 30, 2015

Even the Mexicans…

I had no idea what I was doing driving up here with the boy. None. I only wanted to get away. 

This is the place where all the unwanted pocket change in the nation collects. They haven’t seen a shiny new quarter in decades. I have declined each handful of change that someone has tried to return to me. The coins seem fuzzy, a color other than nickel or dime. 

I had no intention other than to ride a train with him. It has all worked out, though only by the boy's standards. He doesn't care. He's just happy to be with me. It is an adventure.

We checked into a $200 a night hotel because the first two places I checked showed the Vacancy portion of their signs lit, yet somehow had none. I didn't bother inquiring about the functionality of the No portion of the signs. This area does not exude a sense of professionalism, nor even mild competence. I tired of the search quickly, and the selling point of this room was that there was a jacuzzi in it, which I figured might be a novelty for the little guy. He loves all things water, particularly water in motion. 

For $200 a night I'm going to let him turn this room into Wet and Wild. 

It just so happened that there was some sort of traveling carnival right across the street from the hotel, which ignited the boy’s sensibilities. What harm could come from it, I wondered. So, after trying to get him to nap in the room for a bit I gave up and walked him across the street.

Oh boy… It was a carnival, and of the wandering type.

It was populated with tremendously shitty contraptions, hobbled together from broken wheelchair parts. The type place where, at the right age, a broken arm would be a summer novelty, a rite of passage. The popcorn was kettled in bulk the previous summer and then warehoused, in a state that allows such things. The boy claimed that he loves ice cream more than me. What these upstarts don't understand is the history that I've put into each of these pounds. I have a well-pedigreed love of rocky road. 

We wandered from ride to ride. The boy was still an inch shy of the 42" requirement to ride most of the traps by himself, so I had the joy of heaving myself up towards my final moment of life. I got my money's worth. These things creaked and strained against my 225 pounds. What were meant to be circular rides wobbled into ovals. The other kids complained. The roller coaster was running much slower than normal, barely able to crawl up the modest hills and curves. Even the Mexicans looked concerned. 

You just knew that somewhere there was a retarded girl showing off her pussy for three tickets. I simply couldn’t find the right trailer. You could probably poke it with a stick for five, take a picture of the poke for seven. The First Aid trailer was closed for repairs. There were groups of creepy Christians wandering around trying to convert people. High-school focus groups. I was offering them 20 tickets each to come to the dark side. No questions asked.

In the hall of mirrors Rhys’ body looked thin and elongated. Somehow, the distortions lacked the power to correct for my physique. I watched the boy walk into a pane of plexiglass while I was trying to take a picture. He recovered quickly, but still… I recognized the lapsed moment of parenting. What sort of father pays to have his kid tricked into hurting himself, I wondered. I could have saved some money just by taking him to dinner and telling him he’s stupid and then laughing at him. I’m sure some families do, as an alternative to the carnival. 

Some of the “attractions” leave you wondering.

As soon as I stopped being myself I noticed that it was fun.

The kid was able to find a date pretty easily. 

The tea cups were one of two rides that he could go on by himself by being above the 36” requirement. 

Once the spinning stopped they each lost interest and wandered their own ways, already drifting within what will become those same ways of the world.