Carnivals and funfairs are a part of Summer… or at least the weather which mimics the kind we associate with Summer. Some places seem to have that weather all year round. Year round Summer. Summer lovin’ all the time.
And those places often have carnivals and funfairs all year round too. We sometimes go out of our way to travel there and experience that if we don’t live there. Perhaps we appreciate it more because of that… because it isn’t on our doorstep.
My first experience of a funfair is one I can’t recall. I have false memories of it, in other words I was told about it enough times for me to think what I was told was my memory, other people’s memories of it were my own.
Disney World when I was something like 2 years old… couldn’t go on any rides and got to wait around with an au pair while my parents had a blast which they could then tell me about when I was old enough to listen.
Okay, I could go on one ride apparently – That false memory includes my being a nuisance for wanting to go on the only ride on which I was allowed to go according to Disney World rules – the merry-go-round. This was annoying to my parents, it ate into their fun time according to them, and they liked this annoyance enough to make it part of their memory story.
I have many rather bad memories of funfairs and carnivals.
One time when I was about 6 years old I went to a funfair in Paris… and afterwards while sleeping it off, worn out by too much fun, I was woken up by an angry mother (who hadn’t gone to the funfair due to… being a snob about such things) who couldn’t stand the smell of the cotton candy I had obviously eaten and of which I hadn’t cleansed myself. That smell of cotton candy which annoyed her so much was actually the kitchen of the hotel in which we were staying, which was afloor or two beneath our room window which was open due to it being Summer, that was on fire.
Another time I went to Great Adventure in New Jersey with a friend and her family, when I was about 11 years old, and my mother gave me permission to do so… which she later chose to forget about so that she could pretend that I had been kidnapped or something like that. She was so worried that she almost called the police, the national guard, the FBI and CIA… whatever. It was awful for her… and my fun turned into something of which I should be ashamed, feel guilty about and regret.
My dreams of a funfair were someone else’s nightmare… their nightmare became mine and overruled my dream.
This particular funfair experience was rewritten so many times by my parents until it was a conspiracy, several conspiracies, and used in so many diverse ways in their battles against each other, that I’m surprised that I managed to retain the original memory… but maybe I was able to do that because neither of them was actually there even though they tried to own that memory and make me own their multiple versions of it.
To balance things out, I also have many rather good memories of funfairs and carnivals.
I fell in love with my life partner on a very different and personally memorable trip to Disney World. I’d only just met him when he invited me to travel to a fantasy world with him. I said yes… which was unusual for me by that time, but there was something about him, and about me with him.
We bonded over our horror – the horror, the horror – of the Small World ride. It was humorous horror. Adults and children often have a different interpretation of things. Our view was similar to The Simpsons episode which included that ride.
That wasn’t the only way we bonded. There were some fun rides too. Mind you… the horror was fun too. The horror… is sometimes fun and all part of enjoying a funfair.
The funfair in this series of photos is of one we, me and my partner, went to yesterday. It’s a bit special to us for reasons which won’t be obvious unless I reveal them. The ‘Carnies’ who run this particular funfair are our neighbours. They live across the road from us. We usually only see these rides when they are all boxed up. When the trucks leave our neighbours’ compound and head off to their destination. Or occasionally if they’re working on a ride, fixing it, we’ll catch a glimpse of it through the foliage of the hedges and trees.
Carnies often have a bad reputation…
These particular carnies were one of the very first people on the scene when a woman who experienced a brain aneurism crashed her car into my garden.
They were not the first responders. The first person to stop and aid another human in distress was a random stranger in a white van – if you live in the UK you’ll know that white van drivers are often considered as bad guys – who witnessed the accident the moment it happened.. and stopped to help. To offer what they could offer.
My partner and I were late to respond because we didn’t realise the loud crash was a car accident. This may baffle some people. The only way I can explain it is that in this area loud crashing sounds are quite common.
I know you may assume that living somewhere rural and countrified is quiet. It can be. You can hear a leaf drop at night and think it’s a burglar. But leaves… trees fall very loudly around here and do it regularly as part of the natural cycle. If a tree falls in the forest around here… it shakes your foundations. Makes a loud bang like the sound of a car crash. And farming equipment doing what it is supposed to do can sound like the end of days.
But this was different… it takes the mind a while to process different.
The carnie neighbours called the emergency services, re-directed traffic, made sure the woman was alive and looked after her… as did the white van driver… well before my partner and I did something similar.
In essence our role was to offer support to those already supporting. Which is sometimes needed.
When the emergency services arrived, which they did quickly and efficiently, the professionals responding actually relied on the carnies, and the rest of those of us gathered there, to help them access the accident site and do what was needed to be done to save a human life.
All humans cooperated with other humans regardless of social status and any other factors which we may take into account in other circumstances, ones which are not emergencies, of life or death. Someone was in distress and we all put our differences and prejudices aside and worked together to help one person survive. The victim was fine and survived her ordeal.
Once the emergency was over, the carnies, my wonderful neighbours, melted back into the landscape. So did the white van driver. So did I and so did my partner.
But I have never forgotten what they did or who they are as people.
They don’t bother me and I don’t bother them. If we catch sight of each other, we wave acknowledgment. That’s it. If I know they are there it is because sometimes their trucks carrying those funfair rides which offer fun, pleasure and leisure, for others make a hefty sound, and that accident made me aware of being alert to sounds even if they seem to be just the usual, no need to worry.