We spent Saturday at the Original Blue Ribbon Classic. Yep. We got up early and drove down Route 16, taking in the grand foliage in and around the Mt. Washington Auto Road on our way to the Fryeburg Fair.
It was breathtaking and majestic and filled us with awe at the beauty of Mother Nature. We took photos, we watched other leaf peepers taking photos, we listened to the glorious snoring of the two children, a sound that so filled us with hope and happiness that we nearly cried.
And then we hit Fryeburg.
About four miles away from the gates of the fair we got stuck in southbound traffic for an hour and a half.
Ever spend an hour and a half in the car with a child under 3? How about TWO under three, and one breastfeeding?
Mmm hmm. Can you hear it? That's the sound a thousand points of light makes when it suddenly penetrates your left pupil and strikes your brain. Kind of like that particle accelerator.
Children tend not to just start bawling outright. They like to gear up. They like to let it begin with a simmering whine before ratcheting it up. They are combustion engines, their cries jerking and sputtering and accelerating to a full-throttle, open-throated wail.
The sound of Gabrielle's screeching and Griffin's cry for food entered either ear and smashed together right behind my pupils, thus opening a black hole that exposed my soul.
I could do nothing but grip the steering wheel of our 1994, rust-toned Suburban while the line of cars before me snaked away off into the distance. Meanwhile, the scant few cars coming away from Fryeburg rode past us freely, their drivers carrying the looks of the self-righteous. Smiling and pointing at us duds stupid enough to try to get anywhere near Fryeburg the last Saturday of the fair.
"Fuck you douche bags!" I shouted.
Inside my head.
Because Gabrielle would spend the rest of the day shouting "Fuck Douche!" at the other kiddies at the fair.
We did make it, of course. We found a $5 parking spot in the Canadian Maritimes and walked the lonely distance to the fair, smirking smugly at the SOBs still stuck in traffic, clutches melting, gears grinding, drivers cursing me.
The fair is an institution of crazy people. Thousands of us go for no sound, logical reason, the same way moths ping bare light bulbs over and over and over again, never learning of the futility of our reasoning.
People at the fair are cattle. They don't see anything but the blooming onion stands or hear anything but the cry of the carnies hocking cheap stuffed animals that would otherwise never sell at the local Dollar Tree, yet somehow gets people to lay down two bucks to play a game in the off chance they might win.
Gabrielle was most impressed with the assortment of booths that featured pumpkins as decorations. Pumpkins, folks. We shelled out $20 and ran through a half tank of gas so that she could get jacked up on seeing something you spot on any roadside anywhere in northern New England in October.
We took her on some rides of course, like the ponies (screamed when it was over) and the Ferris Wheel (screamed to get off) and the Giant Slide (screamed and left fingernail marks on my knees). We let her feed the goats, knowing we'd have goat shit in the treads of our shoes to do so.
We were there perhaps less than an hour when she fell fast asleep, sitting up, in her stroller.
Griffin, meanwhile, is too young to appreciate anything but milk. He is quick with a smile, and is actually an incredibly well-behaved young man next to Banshee, his older sister.
He rode like a king in the stroller, donning his much-adored puppy hat.
He is only three months so he's still got that drunk-man's head wobble, but his eyes are alert and he likes to coo, especially at busty women. Go figure.
We left the fair by 5 p.m., tired, cold, and dreading the traffic. To our delight, there was none. People were still streaming into the fair, and outbound travelers were scarce. I was giddy. I was able to drive the POSTED SPEED LIMIT for once.
This ended our honeymoon getaway. A swift drive back to Buckfield. Back to stacking wood and running a daycare and sitting up here in my cold office trying with little success to be creative.