Wednesday, September 13

Hello, Again

Hi. It's been a while. A month and a day as a matter of fact.

It's not that I've been avoiding you, I just needed a vacation from the blog. Here's my first stab at writing again. I like blogging; I think I need an outlet to write because I've noticed the recent pattern in my emails: they've been getting exponentially longer. With a blog it's like imparting one's wisdom onto the world, instead of just one person. It's rather like scratching something into a piece of clay which gets covered by the desert, eventually to be dug up in modern times. Mostly, because writing was invented to keep track of business, the clay slabs are just about who owes whom how many sheep. Of course, they're all dead so they don't really matter, anyway. As long as the server is on the internet for hundreds of years from now, I feel like my scratchings, with more value than ancient transactions (I hope), are around. I hope to leave humanity with a positive net result, at least slightly greater, than when I started. That is my goal.

Anywho, enough of the philosophy, if you read this because I told you to (or you stalk me) you've probably been wondering what I've been up to this past month. After the Chicago post, I sold my soul to the local county fair for about 8 days straight. (It wasn't the Dane Co one, if you're guessing) It was my "repatriation" at a little slice of Americana after being in Europe for two months. You see, I was the sole garbage guy. They had about 90 big 55L plastic drums around the fair. I had to put a bag in each one and then tape it to hold the bag on. Then as the bag started to get full, I had to change it before it began to "overflow". I used " "s back there because, though you wouldn't expect it, used to describe or as a verb, overflow has as many different interpretations to different people as the word "interesting" does.

Luckily, I didn't have to carry these bags. The fair gave me a gator and a full sized trailer to use. I was worried out of my mind the whole time I was driving through crowds with it because whereas the gator is about as wide as two chairs, the trailer was an additional 2 feet on either side. And it was metal sticking out so I didn't want to take someone's leg off or run over a foot. By the way, it was fun driving around at 11 pm when the music ended and the beer garden closed causing people who had been drinking to start to wander out around the fair in the general direction of the parking lot. Even normal people seem to suffer from "deer in headlights syndrome".

Besides the constant fear of causing a lawsuit, I had another thing on my mind. Two other things to be specific: there is no shortage of ugly people in the world (at least in my county) and if this were in Europe, there wouldn't be a single garbage can or toilet for miles. Indeed, the garbage cans, just like water fountains are few and far between. There is one known water fountain in all of Continental Europe and it's diagonally across the street from Notre Dame in Paris. For the World Cup games on the giant screen in the town square in Toulouse, the entire plaza would be packed but there wouldn't be a single toilet, but there were some garbage cans. England has water fountains and no garbage cans.

There was something that started to get to me. Although I'm grateful that when I'd come through, the parents (usually pretty ugly) would pull their little ugly children out of the way, it kind of hurt my feelings that they'd say while yanking them "Get out of the way or he'll run you over!" Which is rather strange when you consider that I was driving it as slowly as possible to avoid such a thing. As a matter of fact I was going about half as fast as people were walking so pretty much if someone got run over, they put their own foot under it. Obviously, I will never run anyone over although I did pop a carny tire (with the trailer) and hit two signs along with countless garbage cans.

Enough rambling about rubbish. Doing that job was quite humbling and I certainly will never look at a garbage can the same way again. When you do something you impact the lives of at least another person, so, try to be considerate. If you toss a piece of trash at a can and it misses, go pick it up. If the garbage guy is bent over a can trying to tape the bag down, don't throw garbage within inches of his face into the can he hasn't finished servicing yet; besides there's another one about 5 feet behind you. If a garbage can is nearing capacity or overflowing, don't pile your trash on top, put it in the empty one 10 feet away. You know, obvious things like that help someone else. That and people who work crappy jobs can hear you. And see you when you look at them like that. No, just because I'm doing the garbage doesn't mean I'm a carny.

So, like I said there's a lot of ugly people at the fair. Those are the fair go-ers. The carnies are a little strange. For some reason, they would pee into bottles and then set those next to the garbage cans. On the spectrum, I would say the carnies are the weirdest, the patrons are rather strange and the food vendors are pretty close to normal. They seemed to be my allies. Some of the more generous ones even gave me free food and drinks.

After working at the fair for the entire time it was open, it reminded me of another thing: why I don't eat at fairs. Save the roast beef and bbq and grill places, everything else is just fried something, which smells good on french fries, but terrible on the scale of a county fair. I would say the place I hated to be was the best smelling spot in the entire fair which was in the street between a bbq sauce stand and the gyros place. Like I said, pretty much everything at the fair is fried. Some are more craftful, by making funnel cakes, and others just don't try at all. I spotted one "Nanna's Fried Dough" which sold, among other things, deep fried twinkies. Yuck!

All in all, it was very interesting to study and observe people and the fair and see the animals. I thought it was rather ironic that just the previous week I happened to read "Animal Farm". Written by George Orwell, using the metaphor of a farm and farm animals it was a parable that sharply criticized Stalin and the USSR. The pigs were the evil animals. In person, the little ones are pretty cute and the big ones just laze around and grunt. One time I was driving past the animal barns and I heard a terrible sound. It sounded like a baby screaming with some animal noise mixed in. Perhaps a pig had just found out where bacon originates? Or it learned what was going to happen to it in the next week?

Some of the animals get sold and then butchered. Only the horses, rabbits, and dairy cows are spared. I can't remember what pigs and sheep went for, but the top steer went for $7.50 a pound and it weighed about 1400 lbs. Chickens and roosters went for less than $100 except for the top ones. Fairs seem like the ultimate American activity because they celebrate the things that make us who we are as a country, the free market (animal auctions), agriculture (what we're built on), commerce (the vendors and people with booths), and the outdoors (rugged individualism). If I had to plan things for a group of foriegners to do and see in America, I would try to take them to a fair, I think.

After 8 days of working at a 5 day long fair, I was finally free! Working at the fair gave me time to think about things. After going to Europe, all August long I was flirting with Libertarianism. I like their whole free market stance, but I'm not so sure about the whole 'make drugs completely legal' and 'open the borders' spiel. But I do feel different, perhaps, grown mentally with expanded horizons. I guess, in short, I'm not as conservative as when I left, but I haven't moved any closer to being a democrat.

Then I had a week and a few days and college would start again. I'm living in the dorms again, but I'm in the brand new dorm, Smith. As a matter of fact, I live in the penthouse on the top corner. But there's a post in the works about that.

Classes are going well, but I'm already very busy. I'm also happy that the Beacon has started up again. I was looking forward to shining the light on what's right all summer.

Now here is the reward for reading down this far. I got photoshop again because we make the paper with Adobe software and goofing around I've made two pretend record covers:

(they're supposed to be funny, so laugh)



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