the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Monday, July 30, 2007

Size DOES matter

This afternoon, I transported several thousand dollars' worth of artwork to a gallery. See, that sounds more Important than "I dropped off a couple of paintings downtown for my brother today." This also means I get to attend the opening reception this weekend, where I will drink wine (and will do my best to refrain from filling my pockets with cheese) and mingle with people who know a whole lot more about art than I do. Hopefully, I'll get to talk to Tardist's and my art teacher, some thirty years later; I will still call him "Mr. Michmerhuizen" unless he strongly insists otherwise (I'm just weird that way with teachers - even after becoming an instructor at the same institution, it always felt disrespectful to me to call my former profs by their first names).

It had somehow escaped my attention that this week is Coast Guard Festival, which is the closest to full-town hysterics that Grand Haven comes every year. The fireworks on the Fourth of July are a token display here; they save the best of the Boom Booms for this first week in August. Coast Guard Festival is whatcha call a Big Hairy Deal around here, always has been, and downtown GH was bustling with revelers, celebrating all that watery and boatish stuff. My parents always hated Coast Guard Festival, because of all the traffic clusterfuck, but for the kids, it was the week we waited for all summer. Several blocks on the waterfront were always shut down so that a carnival could be erected there, and its call to the children of Grand Haven would drown out that pussified Pied Piper any day of the week. I lived for that midway, and would visit as many days out of the week as I possibly could, even on days when I didn't have any money to spend; there was just something about the cheesy rides and the crappy games, the sights and sounds and smells of the carnival, that was intoxicating to me. In fact, it still is, and I try not to let a summer go by without at least one nighttime stroll through a fully lit midway.

With that in mind, I left the art gallery and headed down toward the waterfront, the better to get my first glimpse of Grand Haven's annual carnival in over twenty years. It was only a few blocks to Harbor Drive, and I found myself eager to get there and have a look at the stage dressing for so many pleasant dramas of my youth. So why wasn't I smelling cotton candy and popcorn yet?

A parking lot. My carnival had been condensed, like milk in a fucking can, and deposited in a parking lot. Harbor Drive was fully open to traffic, and there were four or five rides, no games, no awful food, just the rides crammed together in the parking lot next to Porto Bello. My disappointment hit the perfectly manicured sidewalk and sounded just like a thousand Tupperware lids snapping shut on a thousand childhood memories.


I might still make a half-hearted foray into town at night for some pictures of all those rides lit up; my ulterior motives might include dinner at one of the restaurants downtown where I can get something other than fish and chips (that was for dinner today, and my tummy is not well pleased with me). My carnival may have shrunk to pocket size, but my appetite has not.

When I die, I'm convinced there will be a mile-long nighttime midway waiting to greet me. Until then, I guess I'll settle for Carnival Lite.

13 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger Kathryn said...

Yes, but did you find any gay boys among the crowd???

7:39 PM, July 30, 2007  
Blogger here today, gone tomorrow said...

Oh, Bucky! I felt your disappointment...we used to walk to the carnival every year, which was held (and I believe still is) in a pasture in my home town. As I read your words, I could smell the cotton candy, see the big stuffed animals that I never could win because I didn't have enough money to play, and all the brightly colored lights that just dazzled me as I waited to get on the ferris wheel. Sigh...

9:53 PM, July 30, 2007  
Blogger Lori Denine and her cat said...

Last year, my parents lived on Slaytor just two houses off the parade route. The Scotsville Clown Band spent an hour goofing off just a couple hundred feet away at a barbeque put on by their wives. I think they are my favorite part of the parade.

Cigar blowing, drunken trombone players dressed in drag are just plain fun man!

12:21 AM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger I'm not here. said...

Don't it always seem to go/
that you don't know what you've got til it's gone/
they paved Paradise put up a parking lot...

Okay, now I'm depressed. Let's kick it up a notch:

Wheels on fire/
Rolling down the road/
best notify my next of kin/
this wheel shall explooooode!!!
Ah, much better. :)

1:19 AM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger eclectic said...

Oh I'm so sad! The commercialization of a childhood memory sullies the whole thing, I think. Boooooo! on the parking lot. Wishing you lots of midway lights anyway.

1:25 AM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Gah! I hate it when things aren't as special and wonderful as I remember them to be.

8:37 AM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger Bone Machine said...

That's every day for me. I get up thinking yesterday was simply grand and today is complete shit. Then I realize that it's business as usual and yesterday was actually shit, as well.

12:55 PM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger Susie said...

You've got me thinking about getting stuck at the top of a ferris wheel. Good times. All the carnivals have shrunk(en). It may be because of all the ginormous theme parks. Not sure.

3:16 PM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger Kranki said...

Oh poo! That sucks. Hey! It is Gay Pride weekend here. Come on over. I'll be dressing up the dogs.

3:18 PM, July 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sucks when childhood memories get spoiled like that. Sometimes I think it's better not to go back...

5:02 PM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

RSG - one would assume that at least 10% of the men I saw were gay boys. But none approached me with a business card or anything.

HTGT - I am bound and determined to find a better carnival this year. I'm on a mission from God.

OTK - I'm afraid I would panic and start shooting if I saw a bunch of clowns gathered together.

M_D - I can't say the chorus of Big Yellow Taxi didn't run through my head when I saw the rides.

Eclectic - if only they hadn't shrunk it. That was just plain insulting!

CKelli - I'm afraid that very thing is going to happen to sex for me if I ever have it again, ever.

Bone - always good to keep expectations low. Always been my motto.

Susie - I know carnival rides are unsafe and carnival games are wickedly unfair, but I still love the whole thing. Amusement parks just aren't the same. They don't have the rot of carnies' bad teeth as ambience.

Kranki - maybe you could dress me as well. Evem a dog's outfit is probably more tasteful than some of the stuff I wear.

Platypus - It's like that song Boys of Summer: Don't look back, you can never look back.

5:07 PM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger Squirl said...

How did I miss this one? Vacation, it sucks your brains right on out of your, I guess.

1:58 AM, August 02, 2007  
Blogger Flying Mermaid said...

And when you get there you can throw balls at my face. I swallow.

10:47 PM, August 02, 2007  

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