Holy Hanna, this summer is flying by. September is already here! We attended my sons first open house, the preparations for baby are going full throttle, third trimester is upon us, and it still feels like I was an unemployed drag on the eco
nomy just last week.
This last weekend my family hit the Minnesota state fair. This has always been such binge-fest for me. I would routinely consume thousands of calories a trip in my twenties. The cheese curds, french fries, and Sweet Marthas cookie bucket are likely guilty for 37 pounds of my current weight. I’d go with a group friends, and I’d see people sharing their mini feasts. I was in the mindset “get your own, and ya mooch!” It’s sad now to think about friends trying different foods as we traversed the grounds, and I tried everything. There were no breaks in the action for me.
Well that was until we made our way to the midway. I knew I was a rapidly expanding man, but this was the first gut punch as young big adult.
We bought out ticket for some rides and made our way to some poorly constructed instrument of fear. It looked to tumble, spin, and shake like a mother, so we all decided it was a perfect starting point. We waited in line, made stupid jokes, used bad pick up lines, and finally began loading.
The seats were fastened from above so they appeared to hover over the ground. I hopped up and was met with a screech of sweaty back fat meeting molded plastic as my shirt rode up. I knew there was some space behind me too so I began to wiggle my butt deeper into the seat. The carnies were going around and pulling the shoulder harnesses down. I thought nothing of it. I pulled mine down and held it firm to my not so firm chest. I waited for them to lock it in to place, but my group was already immobile. “They’re self locking! What the hell?”, I remember thinking.
The carnies met at the front of the ride and started talking. In my mind I could see a red light flashing on the operator’s dashboard, “TOO FAT, TOO FAT, TOO FAT, TOO FAT”. I’m surprised I couldn’t instantaneously pull that shoulder harnesses into place because I was cowering from fear and shame. I felt like I was six inches tall. Then they looked in my direction and started walking my way. Time slowed down. The lights of the midway began to blur. I began to panic. I pulled as hard as I could and heard a click. They were on top of me just as it happened. I pushed up on it, as if to show them that fatty got it fastened. The leader looked at me, gestured to a light above my head, and told me that the light has to be green. He put a shoulder into me. Five inches tall. It didn’t move. He called for help. Four inches tall. Two guys bear hugged my seat trying to make a light blink green. Three inches tall. All the harnesses in my group raised in unison. Eff word. Two inches tall. “You don’t fit chief, grab your tickets up front”. One inch tall.
I skipped the refund. I bolted off the deck of cards ride in to the open arms of some funnel cake. That was the first and only time I’ve been kicked off the a ride for being too big. Despite loving the thrill I haven’t stepped within the confines of an adult midway or amusement park since. Sure I’ve been around them for my kiddo, but never for me.
Sunday morning as we made our way through the fair I looked down the midway and felt that rush of fear, shame, and anxiety.
I’m not exactly setting the weight loss world on fire right now, but I someday I am going to walk down that midway. I will purchase my tickets. And with my boy by my side, I will find that stupid ride. I’ll wait in line, and I’ll ride that damned thing if it’s the last thing I do.