The Existential Loneliness of an Empty Carnival Ride

Which is, puzzlingly, not the name of some 70s prog rock album. Right now is the time for the annual Pumpkin Show in my town, during which people fill the streets, eat fair food, and ride the rides set up in the small town park. This is one of them. It looks very sad without people in it, and seems to be just waiting for a purpose, which from my point of view is to spin people around until they throw up. Maybe that’s just me. Apparently some people like it. I mostly just go to fairs for the food these days. Mmmmm… funnel cake.

19 thoughts on “The Existential Loneliness of an Empty Carnival Ride

  1. My mother went to fairs for the elephant ears (a flat donut fried up and sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar). We would walk the entire fair to compare all the stalls selling them, looking for the perfect combination of size, thickness and price.

  2. The swings were my favorite ride as a younger person. I liked the feeling of flight & the breeze up above the the noisy & usually scalding hot fairgrounds below. I found them completely relaxing and zen. Now in middle-age, I worry that the chains might break and hurdle me off into the livestock pens. So yeah, there’s definitely some existential melancholy about the empty carnival swings.

  3. We go to the county fair every year (for the last 20+ years), and every year we see the same cheezy magic shows with the same tricks by the same lower-tier magicians, while eating corn dogs and funnel cakes from the same nearby food stand. This year we decided to change it up and got our funnel cake from a different food stand — and it was MUCH better-tasting! Hard to believe that two different junk-food vendors could take the same few simple ingredients hastily thrown together, and one place come up with something so-so-tasting and the other place come up something scrumptious.

  4. Last night Alisha asked “What are you going to be doing exactly 10 years from tonight?”

    “Probably taking my turn to stay late after school to be the admin on hand for all the activities going on.”

    “Nope – you’re going to the 100th Anniversary Pumpkin Show!”

    So it would seem I have a date for 10/10/2028

  5. I’m with you concerning the rides. The Merry-go-ring is my speed. As for food, in in it for the fresh squeezed lemonade that has so much sugar in it, it’s crunchy! And the candy floss.

  6. Deep fried oreos… Deep fried nutter butters. Deep fried everything.

    @rdbetz Funnel cake is cake batter poured into a deep fryer, then dusted with powdered sugar. May optionally be served with jam or ice cream or maybe chocolate syrup. Or all of the above.

  7. CC. Chuck, connected arms dealer journalists etc.

    There’s a wild hunt going on, across many realms: difficult, lost a couple of our own as well.

    It was Ginger! but how changed! The beautifully arched and glossy neck was now straight, and lank, and fallen in; the clean straight legs and delicate fetlocks were swelled; the joints were grown out of shape with hard work; the face, that was once so full of spirit and life, was now full of suffering, and I could tell by the heaving of her sides, and her frequent cough, how bad her breath was…

    When they found out my weakness they said I was not worth what they gave for me, and that I must go into one of the low cabs, and just be used up; that is what they are doing, whipping and working with never one thought of what I suffer — they paid for me, and must get it out of me, they say. The man who hires me now pays a deal of money to the owner every day, and so he has to get it out of me too; and so it’s all the week round and round, with never a Sunday rest.”

    I said, “You used to stand up for yourself if you were ill-used.”…

    “Ah!” she said, “I did once, but it’s no use; men are strongest, and if they are cruel and have no feeling, there is nothing that we can do, but just bear it — bear it on and on to the end. I wish the end was come, I wish I was dead. I have seen dead horses, and I am sure they do not suffer pain; I wish I may drop down dead at my work, and not be sent off to the knackers.”…

    Oh! if men were more merciful they would shoot us before we came to such misery.

    Don’t worry. Hearing that Heart Attacks are now sanctioned. It’s not only the work-horses who die from burst and broken hearts.

    >Black. Black. Black.

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