Reality Coated MAGIC
what keeps us coming back to the fair
To arrive at the fair as soon as it opens its gates is a strange thing.
The sun, still well above the horizon, casts long, dreary shadows from the rides, coated with the rust of years gone by, onto the trampled grounds.
Amongst the rusty dinosaurs, you find yourself almost alone, except for the vendors, hiding in their booths, needing no darkened back-alley before offering you their wares.
“Just a dollar.”
They’ll offer you something for nothing and try every trick in the book to get you to bite.
They sense the desperation (maybe only their own by now, but they can’t tell anymore), point you out, and try to elicit an emotion.
Guilt? Pride? Arrogance? – Whatever will work.
But then, almost unnaturally, something strange happens, and, in any other situation, it would have the opposite effect.
The sun goes down.
All of a sudden, the rust is gone. The artificial lights take the night over, and everything becomes almost magical; less than real.
That’s the fair of our childhood; that’s the fair we remember.
That’s why we come every year and bring our children as soon as they’re old enough to ride the little airplane or the roller coaster at the “Oriental Palace.”
That’s why we went when we were still teenagers, when there was something about being out in the night with a little controlled danger and the chance of getting into a little trouble – whatever kind was your type at the time.
But most importantly, the fair reminds us how we should look at life sometimes: with tired, squinted eyes, willing to overlook the rust and the age of everything that surrounds us for just a little while.
Maybe for just one night a year.
Printed in the October 18, 2012 edition