Though I was born in Buffalo, when I was ten we moved to Syracuse, "the home of the New York State Fair!" my mother chirped excitedly like some Central New York Booster on speed. I already hated summer fairs, having been dragged through the baby goat barn at the Erie County Fair. I always dreaded summer's end, not because school was about to start up and I hadn't lost ten pounds, but because the State Fair was about to begin.
That meant being unable to beg off attending, by claiming I was perfecting my jack-knife at the city pool. On the hottest day, we would sit stuck in traffic, bare backs of legs stuck to the leatherette of our Ford Fairlane, park in an open scrub field, knowing that we would never see our car again, slog with other family pods to the long lines at the arching gates into a shadeless hell.
The fairgrounds were located next to the Bristol-Meyers plant and Crucible steel mill that everyone knew was dumping into Onondaga Lake. The annual spring regatta generally had the slowest times because no life-respecting coxswain wanted to win and get tossed into the lake. Supposedly the site has been eco-vacuumed, to make room for the Carousel Mall, but friends say that if you toss a cigarette butt, the parking lot will ignite. 'Third eye' takes on new meaning. That vision has prompted some local developers to expand and build "Destiny" a mall bigger than the Pentagon shaped mall in Minnesota.
On humid hot fair days the yellowish chemical air carried fried dough particulate from the Midway. The festival of junk food mocked the goody-two shoes Home Ec Pavilion. Even at ten, I pitied performers, squinting and sweating on the mainstage. Loser! Your career is over! Because of early gyroscopic, inner ear damage from spinning/falling down contests with my brothers, I hate rides. If you ever see a picture of me, hair blown back, in mid-Munch scream, elbows locked, it will be me on the stationary horse on the carousel. I loved the hostility of bumper cars, but that was just me blowing off steam.
All this to perhaps explain why I loathe Iowa. The Gateway to the Rectangular States. Not even three million people. All of them farmers who've got nothing better to do than pout if a candidate doesn't have a meal at their house, wear their "I Heart Huckabee" button and pretend to be undecided so they can get face time on camera, and caucus endlessly.
The harvest is in and the fields are fallow. If they farm at all. The farm subsidy pyramid scam actually pays them not to plant. They feel terrible about it. Then when they're done deciding the fate of the nation, the Children of the Corn State put on their mesh caps, hop in their giant mobile homes, at three bucks a gallon and head on down to some trailer parks for a few months on the Gulf. Jaw with their friends in the Iowa enclave about the sorry state of the world.
Hey, they make up stories about Manhattanites all the time. They hiss we are a Ssssssssanctuary City. We are Sodom and Gomorrah. Oh, and the hotel room rates are too high. I resent America held hostage to Iowa. I hate the roller coaster ride of campaigns, especially because it starts in Iowa. Where are those bumper cars when I need them?
PS - Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons just like they don't have gay people. I have it on the best of intelligence.
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