Monday, March 8, 2010

Fair Warning

I love the Fair. Fortunately, we have always lived within a convenient driving distance and so we go to the Fair every year.

Unfortunately, one member of the family who shall only be known as an unnamed Busybody does not love the Fair. She always told me she was sick on the day we were going, as a family, to the Fair. This would be after I had negotiated terms with the schoolteacher and principal to excuse her from that day and promised to do extra homework for the next month to make up for the day she would be gone. She didn’t care about the amount of effort I had expended, she was adamant that she couldn’t go and I would have to then arrange for her to stay with someone because if I sent her to school, their efforts would be in vain, also, and it just became too much of an explaining task So one year, I decided that she had to go no matter what she said. We got to the Fair and got on the shuttle and she started sneezing; while we were purchasing tickets, her eyes started watering; as we walked through the carnival midway, her eyes became red-rimmed and swollen; by the time we got to the real part of the Fair, she took off for the restrooms holding her mouth. Fair restrooms, beach restrooms, park restrooms, restaurant restrooms and, sometimes, school restrooms made her gag even when she wasn’t actively being sick in other ways, and I knew that that day at the Fair was over.

In spite of the fact that we cannot enjoy the outing as a complete family, I still love the Fair. One of the things that is high on my list is that every food there is fried. Yum. (Remember, I’m from the South; the Norwegian is not.) My very favorite things at the Fair, though, are the commercial buildings. I am fascinated by the wide variety of new innovations that have hit the market since the preceding year; I am amazed that these products are exactly what I have been thinking I need in my life. And I am totally in awe of the expertise of the people doing the demos. I stand and make eye contact in encouragement and watch and smile at their sales pitch and, oh too often, I buy the razzle-dazzle product. In the long months between the Fairs, I am a fan of infomercials. Although I don’t impulse buy them as I do at the Fair, I head straight to the As Seen On TV section of the store, and take a little longer to consider the product before I buy it. I just never take into account that I will have to store this item somewhere in my home and I will have to learn to use it with the same expertise as those showing it in order for it to be a timesaving convenience for me. Whereas, those people have received intense training before being put on the job, and then practice their training for many hours each day, I only need that convenience occasionally.

One of the things that I purchased is a Sav-Time-Every-Laundry Day clothes folder. This is a really good item. I have seen it used in department stores, a lot. So that, when careless people mess up the stack of clothes, they can refold them on the folder contraption and that item will exactly match the rest of the stack. That is exactly what I want here at home. It doesn’t work on towels, however, because then they don’t fit in the linen closet shelves. I think in the department stores, they make the shelves to fit the folded clothes. Really, now that I think about it, the only things I can use the folder on are the Norwegian’s undershirts. I do have to decide how many shirts needing folding justify getting the folder out, using it and putting it away. Four? Ten? Maybe I should wait until all of his undershirts are dirty and do one huge load, get out the folder and complete the job all at once. When the folder was newly home from the Fair, I think I tried that method, but sometimes forgot and then he would have to wait for laundry. He doesn’t notice whether or not or how things are folded, but he does notice clean. I don’t mean recycled clean—as when you put an item in the dryer with a fabric sheet, pull it out triumphantly fifteen minutes later, and say,” there you go”—I mean clean, clean.

I don’t pay a lot of attention to the things that sit around in the house because I know why I bought them and I know that at some time or other, they will be very useful: Useful to the ultimate level that those demo people promised. Sometimes the grandkids get a little confused. “What is this, Gigi?” “That’s a bread slicer.” “Can I use it?” “No.” “Why?” “Because I buy bread that is already sliced.” “Are you going to make bread, Gigi?” “I don’t think so. Not today. Maybe another day.” “So, can I use the bread slicer?” “No.” “Why?” “Because you might cut yourself.” “No, I won’t.” “Look, Gigi’s going to put the bread slicer up here on the top shelf where we don’t have to think about it—with the sushi maker, the ostrich feather fan duster, the star shaped ice cube maker, and other assorted things, and we’ll talk about this when I visit you in college. I will even lend you my roll-up suitcase that you lay all the clothes out flat and then roll it up so they don’t have to be folded and get wrinkled.” “Can I see it now, Gigi?” “ No.” “ Why? “ “Because I don’t really know where it is—probably on a shelf that’s too high for us to reach…. But if you stop asking questions, maybe I’ll take you to the Fair with me this year.”

Posted by The Editor for Gigi.

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