Heavens, Aunt Bea!

I thought I should tell you a little bit about the town we moved to. Because we don't live in Santa Barbara any more! We were hell bent on buying something, but Santa Barbara was absolutely unaffordable for the amount of space we wanted; it would be affordable if we were content to crouch under the bandshell below City College and eat our meals standing in the parking lot of 7-11, but we decided not to do that. Because we are effluent and have choices. Ha ha! See what it's come to, me making little intentional malapropisms. What a dork. So this town we now live in, it's agricultural, in a smallish-acreage-fruit-and-flower-farms- marketed-heavily-to-West Coast-farmers'-markets sort of way. And the downtown, oh my lord. We took a stroll down the main drag the other day and it took about ten minutes to see everything. And Jack's all, "We've moved to Mayberry." Actually, he said, "We've moved to fucking Mayberry," but heavens, Aunt Bea! Those two words together made my downy Midwestern ears wither just a little.

This is the display in the window of the health food store. I don't know how long it's been up, but surely those bottles of Omega-3 have reached their expiration date. I'm not even sure those dolls are Barbies, I think they might be knock-offs from the 99-cent store.

Here's Jackson desperately trying to get into the darkened candy store. This place would be sure to turn him into a drooling squall of sugar panic if we could ever actually get inside, if it were ever open past 6:00 p.m. Nothing is open past 6:00 p.m. except a bar and two of six restaurants. And the best Vons grocery store on earth, "best" because the people who work there are so fucking awesome. The weekend manager has a tan so deep -- it's George Hamilton deep, it's like she's creating her own ethnicity. And the bag boys all seem to be happy, happy surf rats, with funny haircuts and pretty smiles. One of them asked me if I needed help getting to my car carrying a bottle of ketchup and a six-pack. "No, I'm pretty sure I can handle it," I said with a little I'm not a granny quite yet, whippersnapper hot sauce in my voice, and the bagger, this kid, who has black hair cut like a bowl that's sliding off his head over one ear, he smiled so apologetically I thought his tail would start wagging next. I just wanted to tuck him into my pocket! Well, I do have a thing about boys who bag groceries, it's the Mrs. Robinson in me. Rrowr.

So, yes, hungover carnies at the church fair! Once again, I have overestimated my actual photographic evidence of said fair workers, but this gives me the opportunity to indulge in some heavily-larded-with-hyphenate-adjectives blogging-style action.

Our first ride: flying bumble bees!

Here you see me clutching Jackson and grinning stupidly because I know that when Jack pushes the shutter I will have a palm tree just barely poking out from behind my head so that it will look like my hair is sticking up in back. Hooray! Jackson was really worried about this ride and I couldn't blame him, some of those bees looked like they'd overturned after a head-on doing seventy down Blood Alley. The woman who buckled us into our Bee of Death was so haggard I was totally prepared to go get her some Alka Seltzer, but she took one look at Jackson's worried face and said to me, "Let me know if he gets scared and I'll stop the ride right away." Woman at the bee ride, you appeared to be in mortal pain, and yet you maintained your sympathy for a small child hurtling around in a dented Bombus terrestris. There are special places in both insect and regular heaven reserved just for you.

The second ride: bumpy orcas!

Here's Jack trying to convince Jackson to wave goodbye to me forever.

He got over it pretty quick, though you can see the orca g-forces have given him the appearance of suffering a mild stroke. In the background Jack is talking to some people we know, who agreed to take Jackson with them into the next adventure: the Fun House!

Within minutes they were calling down to tell me that Jackson wouldn't come out, I had to come in and get him. This is where we encountered our first photographic evidence of an incredibly hungover fair worker.

See him there in the shadow, nodding out peacefully?

And I thought, I don't want to bother this poor bastard, but I have to get in to save me boy! So I said, Excuse me, but my son is freaking out inside, can I go in and get him? This guy was obviously a genius at hangover management, he kind of stuck out his right hand and gestured toward a hidden staircase, told me quite forcefully to go up and then take a left, and then sunk back down into his meditative, beta-wave state. I got to the top and found that what Jackson was scared of was this long twisty slide you had to take to get down to the ground again. He wanted to sit on my lap going down. Anything to make my child happy, even when it involves spiraling around until I can taste my breakfast in the back of my throat.

So Jack got the next ride: the giant slide!

I so desperately wanted to take a picture of the man taking tickets for the giant slide, but he was just too hungover and sausage-fingered and purple-faced for me to even try to sneak one, much less ask permission. So you will have to be content with just a sliver of his shadow and my assurance that he was really, really hungover. Lucky for him he had an umbrella for shade and a low-maintenance ride to run: Point at burlap sack; point up stairs; three fingers means three tickets; if you can't figure out the sign language then you're too stupid to get on this ride.

Then it was time for games of chance! With firearms!

Jackson won a fake Pooh-bear by aiming a stream of water into a clown-mouth-shaped hole. Yes, this is what the church is teaching our children.

Jack was so happy to see this t-shirt, he had to ask the guy where he got it. "Pomona swap meet" was the answer, if memory serves. Now we all know what to get Jack for Christmas.

After a hot dog and a beer and a couple of snowcones it was time to go. But not before getting a balloon hat from some crazed clowns.

I can't really say that they were actually crazed or hungover, but the relentless cheer of the female clown was more than made up for by the surly demeanor of her counterpart:

He wasn't mean or anything, but I wasn't about to ask him to twist me up a dog or anything. And what's with the gray balloons? Gray?? ??? !! Oh, who wants a gray balloon! I do! I do! I can't wait to take it back to the U-boat and show off to the rest of the crew.

Happy Bastille Day, by the way.