August 18, 2009 § Leave a comment
The wife, the bug and I went out to a local happening this weekend called “balloon fest” to view the not-too-fascinating spectacle of hot air balloons doing whatever it is they do. I was a first-time caller and had zero knowledge of the ins-and-outs of this particular festival and basically went with eyes wide open. To offset the incredibly dull (for kids?) hot air balloon happenings, there was a small-scale traveling carnival for all the kidos to enjoy.
4 basic subcultures appeared to inhabit the grounds on the particular night we partook: Local old folks that really dig watching butane light-up the night sky; teenagers, mostly lower-income, pimping and posturing for other teens (seriously, when did movie t-shirts become cool?); lower-income single moms & couples with young children; and carnies.
I have a diffiult time focusing in on what I am doing when I am in the middle of a herd. I am easily distracted by the goings-on around me and typically even the slightest muscle flinch of a passerby catches my attention. As such, the old folks didn’t distract. The moms & other couples rarely caught my attention. The adolescent folk and the carnies, however, were an entirely different story.
Teenagers, for all their faults, don’t really know what’s up & they just need to be forgiven for that. Big things are small, small things are huge, and this parallel universe is but a brief temporal tempest.
The guys (no females that I saw working anywhere but the ticket booth) that work as “carnies” must, I believe, carry a pretty sad narrative around with them on this road they are travelling. I saw no direct evidence of drug use, but the mannerisms of a sad human being, numbing himself to all experience has its tell-tell traits & these trait-markers were in full abundance. It’s a gut thing for me, but I also got the feeling that a couple of them had been abused.
Little doubt that these guys had few options or alternatives readily available–options that could efficiently unmask a much different future. Yet, here they were, making a living, interacting with goofy 2 year olds, taking tickets, and watching the “ATV’s” go around and around for a good two minutes until it was time to repeat the process.
Thus, I felt some bit of confirmation of human resiliences & the power negative reinforcement. But sadness was three too, as I think about this incredibly wealthy country that feeds off of the misfortune of others. The little naive idealist in me believes that folks like the carnies deserve better and that I certainly should not be feeding the beast that feeds off of them.
This isn’t guilt I am feeling, the feeling I am having is more akin to the disgust that comes with smelling a dead corpse.