There are to be no illusions about this, I expected: fun, oddball individuals, fantastic vignettes of quirky behavior, appetizers so zesty they‘d turn my gullet into a waterslide, zany sayings, a general sense of excitement, vile bbq-related smells wafting through in miasmatic clouds, maybe even a ride one of those death-defying, nausea-inducing, shadily maintained rides. What greeted my expectant eyes: a vast unloving blacktop expanse.
The fairground of the city has been redone, redeveloped rather. Though the area still is or must be the same, a little extra surface has appeared in the course of the construction work. [Can extra space seep out of the ground, slowly, like lava, to create more what? More fair ground?] The cavernous fair buildings seem to have been set back further from the main street, though the technical aspects of how such a spacious building would be set back a few meters remain clearly nebulous to me. And the space in-between, betwixt the main thoroughfare and the buildings, a fifty meter wide strip stretching a good click all the way over to the soccer-and tennis courts has been turned into one asphalted [ars’folded] anti-space fringing the fair buildings, the staggeringly ugly soccer stadium and finally the equally aesthetically-deficient multiplex building squatting right in front of our own garden-variety simulacrum of the late Twin Towers. By your unpulled leg, I swear, we now possess a 2-pieced, yellow-striped skyline [a skystub really] that can go dry-heave for dry-heave with any of the world‘s greatest architectural disasters.
On the other side of the street the pasture is empirically greener: it is the Allmend proper, a huge common meadow that back in medieval times was shat upon by genetically less modified cattle of the commoners, the common men, the ,all‘ men, the Allmend. Today this shit isn‘t even truly common any longer, not the cows‘ but the area per se. Sections of the East End have been sold off to local soccer clubs. They need large grounds to train/tame their awkward feet, to launch shots high up into the bleachers in clear disregard or ignorance of the goal‘s existence, to pass the ball too late [the guy couldn‘t have been more open, goodness], need soft grass to break their fall when they get mildly tackled at which time they will launch themselves wildly flailing through the air subsequently clutching, in make-believe death-throes, of all implausible body parts and truly in defiance of any onlookers‘ even rudimentary ability to reason, their heads. Because that‘s where the pain travelled from the shinbone, boyo. Think Lebron James on a lawn.
I shan‘t lie: The fair disappointed massively straight from the start. Idiotically, I had visions of David Wallace‘s „getting away from already pretty much being away from it all“, which is the first Harper‘s bit he did before the one on the big ship [the latest misships would have given him considerable material to be brilliant about, I imagine]. And with such expectations/hallucination, no way anything good could come out of my little jaunt. Yet, as the funfair [a sideshow of the real deal that sets up shop way in advance of the LUGA] raised its multi-colored complex steel gantries/scaffoldings [Which one of these terms, would you say, is more adequate?] for the purpose of excess-Gs and equilibrioception-shattering entertainment, as the plain, long-house-ish white tents raised their canvases, secretly within me was assembled a hope of being able to write about this a few faintly interesting lines. [There will be shorter sentences again, promise, just for you.] Based, again, on the faulty premise of DFW-levels of entertainment. There would be folksy yet insight-laden episodes, gustatory pampering from the “middleland”, improbable robotic constructions [where did this fancy arise from?] and characters… not!
Still, I hadn‘t been to the trade fair in two decades. There was a heavy dose of nostalgia working its way through my system, as, panting & sweating by the floor-to-ceiling windows, I checked out the various vertigo-inducing constructions and the white tents right in back of them. Not to not to mention, two decades is supersufficient mental downtime for unbased, idiosyncratic myths to…coalesce. Hadn‘t it been this place of plenty where you sample all types of country fare while some well-meaning old fart out of the sticks told you about getting up 0500 to wrestle yucky unpasteurized milk from recalcitrant udders purely for the benefit of this now-in-your-mouth-melting-morsel of cheese? Authentic, hand-pumped and -cooked and -sieved Swiss cheese instead of the sliced, cold-cut-ish, maximally bland stuff Emmi® has the bloody gall to try and pass off as Emmentaler? [But which simply tastes like a block of solid UHT milk].
So, on breaks from working out at the gym on the far end of the Allmend and 50 m above it I followed the not so slow build-up of infrastructure and, inwards, expectation. Misplaced. With a plummeting heart I took stock of the black Bell-stands outside the main fair building. An undermanned BBQ competition was in progress. The weather on this day and all of the following week severely sabotaged the LUGA‘s pecuniary goal-setting in terms of visitor numbers [as related to precipitation]. Clouds and rain as if to compensate for the hothouse climat-change weather we‘ve experienced thus far this annum [it‘s in fact gotten to the point where I’m not just too tired of rushing to reality‘s defense vis-a-vis climate-change-ostriches but, damn, it‘s just too hot & sticky for having any sort of argument]. I sat out front the building waiting for my free ticket to arrive in the form of my brother Sipho.
There were eight loveless, what-to-call-them?, person-high flower-plant bollards lining a blue carpet lolling out of the huge hall‘s exit area. Why blue? Was this veiled working class mockery I didn‘t get? Things didn‘t appear to be in any mood for making sense. Or be remotely appealing to my eyes. I should‘ve probably interviewed people but I didn‘t have nerve one.
The funfair, even from a distance, was slightly less underwhelming. I mean, in a time of instant everything via Internet and PlayStation 4 and frequent intercontinental holiday travel [for your average attaboy Western consumer] and X-sports and recreational drugs, it‘s miraculous to see people swamping a funfair in droves to get on one of these rides. What is it? I imagine it‘s fear, real visceral fear, without the unpleasantness of injury or danger. If you let yourself get twirled head-over-ass 40m above ground while spinning along a circle on an elongated, skinny metal arm [how does it not come flying apart at the least bit of motion?] without any serious aspirations of becoming an astronaut then, yes, it must be a curiosity about the experience of fear. Or a will to defy it. The screeches reach me and I wouldn‘t be surprised in the least to see one of the cabins go flying through the air sooner rather than later. It all looks so terribly slipshod but I can‘t remember ever having heard about any catastrophic malfunction at the LUGA‘s adjunct funfair. No, everything goes well: the customers feel their adrenal pathways briefly flooded, their every living instinct rebels against being strapped down and catapulted up mortally high, feel the abstract impotence of their frail human bodies in the grip of height and gravity, scream their heads off [for the joy of remaining alive and perfectly intacto], maybe even pee in their pants a little and safely return to the lowest local point of gravity. Except it‘s not a point, it‘s a plane, the Allmend.
In the background Mount Pilatus sits impassively. It has seen millennia [and their respective animals] come and go to no particular effect. The decades of trade fairs here don‘t even register as a blip on the geological consciousness of the mountain. It just sits there, moving infinitesimally as continental shelves patiently push it on and up. Yotta-liters of precipitation spread out across multi-millennia score ravines, cliffs, precipitous ridges. It suffers the human presence with maximal insouciance. This mountain I can almost sympathize the most with.
My ticket shows up in the form of my brother. In terms of vivacity/freshness he looks like he must have been doing 72 straight hours of complication-riddled open-heart surgery. Which is not far off the mark: the 10th go-around of public forum origami cock folding. Cock being a rooster. At the time of writing my brother‘s count is up to 54 and he still has one day, a Sunday, god bless, to go. Cruel to mention but all the mentally-challenged people from the nearby Center for the Mentally-Challenged don‘t make these days of marathon Cock-folding any easier.
I can throw in as much exposition as I like, the truth remains that the fair, much like all the papers I‘m presently writing in pursuit of my master in education, bored the hairs off my head. Within half an hour I realized that the only way I could squeeze a story out of this is by massively embellishing or otherwise exaggerating the account of my visit. Though I‘ll admit that the first hall inspired a bit of false hope. Mainly because the local tenant association [ABL] set up a stand with a miniature, diagonally-rotating house, which looked seriously sophisticated but which I couldn‘t ultimately bother to get in line for. Unlike my memories suggested, this was/is a straightforward trade fair so there were/are not just dairy-product booths stuffing all comer‘s faces with scraps of edible stuff but more plain businesses booths literally hawking their services and wares. Even big telecommunication enterprises, which in my understanding of the advertising pecking order makes absolutely no sense. People go to the local fair to find out more about Swisscom? Is that so? I didn‘t. I snapped up mostly cube-shaped bits of cheese and consumed single dollops of soup from miniature plastic dishes. Like I really needed it. You can only watch well-fed, decently paid, middle-class adults scramble for little bits of food for about five minutes [one minute!] before admitting to yourself how pathetic it is. Free food? You paid fifteen bucks to get in, you‘ll have to squirrel from one stall to the next all day long, hombre, to get your money‘s worth. That‘s when I absconded for the tents.
There, matters were even worse. The space tighter packed with stalls and booths that sometimes represented… entities… undeserving of the title business or enterprise. The term charlatan appears before my inner eye and I grant it passage to my fingers. Despite all this, I trod through one of the tents, people shoving slightly from behind and wide-smiled booth-custodians ready to hold forth about their service/product lining the narrow passage all the way to the far side of the tent, where the…aisle… turns sharply right and then right right again, to present another gauntlet of eager, all-ritalined-out-looking merchants. The heat inside the tent is of the variety that makes the thermometer explode at the top and gush red liquids all over the place. I‘m not a big sweater but I can just about feel my axillary sweat glands panic. Those on my forehead leap into action. The entire objective of the maddening marketeers is to establish eye-contact with you; eye-contact is basically a carte-blanche for beginning a voluble, unstoppable pitch on the upsides and utter uniqueness of their service/product and if whether or not you are willing to pass up such a life-time opportunity. This is why the floorboards lining the tent‘s ground suddenly become incredibly interesting to me: their texture, their…grain, it‘s all so stupendously absorbing. Inside the tents unrelenting visual contact with these wooden planks is like the best thing ever. Though, I abstractly know, I should be talking to the vendors and extracting these funtastic, rollicking market-fair tales of Golden Age exploits from their heat-stunned, dehydrated memories. I can‘t, I simply cannot. After two or three traversals of the tent I exit right, not like a bit-player who forgot his lines but one who had a severe disagreement with the script writer. Even if that happened to be himself, in an earlier incarnation, more hopeful, more DFW-sated. I‘m reaching the very limits of my moderately exaggerated cum expository writing capacity.
So then what did this late guy experience? „That what‘s Special here is the offer of a vacation from alienation, a chance for a moment to love what real life out here can‘t let you love“ (Wallace, p.92). The polar opposite of my personal experience, in addition to the fact that the notion of a real life out here on the Allmend is absolutely LOL.
Also: „These are special competitive horses, intricately bred, w/ high strung artistic temperaments. I wish I’d brought carrots: animals can be bought, emotionally“ (Wallace, p.93). Which reminds me that there was a wood-chip lined tent with two ponies, dwarf ponies. They both looked to be in an advanced state of catatonia, which made them the ideal play thing for the ambient children. Ambient because there were that many of them and they were oh-so-small that they were more like ambience than actual, separate, living beings. So these children patted and stroked them to the best of their little abilities, at times a bit roughly. Except that one of these ponies wouldn‘t let itself be objectified by little human beings. Whenever a kid would try its little hand, the pony‘s otherwise unresponsive head would whip around and try to take a bite out of it, the proffered hand. To my schadenfreude‘s detriment it never succeeded, luckily [in the name of my personal ethics but not in that of the initially mentioned Need-for-Entertainment]. I wished I could have somehow made it aware of its innate ability for powerful kicks but I couldn‘t and so it didn‘t. Most of the kids appeared to hail from a rather flat learning curve and tried to pat the pugnacious pony repeatedly so the fact that nobody came to harm was surprising.
I then left. Whereas David: „I‘m standing here wringing my hands over a distressed swine and then I‘m going to pound down a corn dog. This connected to my reluctance to charge over to a swine-pro and demand emergency resuscitative care for this agonized Hampshire“ (Wallace, p.95). Let‘s leave aside for now the fact that a soi-disant, corn-dog‘ sounds like the single most disgusting yet edible…something… on the face of our sun-shone planet. Me? I only went in for the dairy freebies. Well, not exclusively, I had an ABL apple and that Oswald powder-based micro-soup. What certainly wasn‘t on the cards was any conceivable victual I could remotely rev my salivary glands up for. Apart from dairy stuff, the fair is exceedingly carnivo-centric to match the pervading, folksy heartland spirit. I really can‘t state anything against that [other than finding meat consumption wrong in general]. The most exotic delicacy I can recall is cotton candy and this stems from how long I haven‘t been to these affairs. Anyway, I do think meat-eating gives you a distinct edge at these type of events, like becoming part of the metabolic process allows you non-rational access to the heart and soul and muscle tissue of the event.
Not being such and unprepared to fabulate/speculate any more than absolutely necessary, as I mentioned already, I split early and fast, thoroughly disabused of my long harbored LUGA-myths.
[ ERROR – to delete: It is undeniable, shimmering gadfly-on-a-state-of-the-union-presidential-nose evident, accusatorily slavering in my face obvious: one is never a writer. No, that‘s not it, that‘s not it all of course. Lemme rephrase [not that you…]: I haven‘t written in too long. Ugh, this old tune again. [You: Do pray tell, did anybody forcibly restrain you from a keyboard?]. One isn‘t a writer; I haven‘t written in so long a song. It some-muddled-how amounts to the same thing: one can only be a person who writes, writing and not a writer. Christ Our Savior, revelatory stuff to gett things started!! Polar with me.
If one is asked at any one point in time if one is a writer, not that I ever am since I‘m not [by a landslide] a ???, the chances are that one is not. Writing. One could call oneself a writer based on one‘s previous cognito-digital excretions but that would still miss the point. The point is superbly blunt: writing is writing, writing is processual, transient and nominalizations are in furtherance of exactly the type of calcified, cognitively hard-baked, superficially perennial shite that writing [and ??? evidently] continually wash away or hose down or spritz to smithereens. You get it, I take it.
And just as happens with basketball (CLONK!!! or worse SWOOOSH!!! [no net, no rim, no nothing]…and Badminton: a solitary birdie alighting head first leagues behind the Single‘s service line) and is overflowingly, nociceptorially-maddening evident along these few nontogenerically crimpled [Stand by for Entry NEOLO1_Apr2014tm. START – Definition: The precise semantic median of the pre-extant terms ,crimp‘ AND ,cripple‘, MINUS the discriminatory connotations of the later. Entry NEOLO1_Apr2014tm END] lines: PRACITCE is everything! Impossible is everything [without exercise]. Just don‘t it. And sure enough, if you put in your 10‘000 hours plus „Practice fakes Perfect“ [??? will notice that the shuttle didn‘t hit the T-line intersection spot-on the way I meant it to while flying backwards diagonally through the air and firing an overhead fast-drop with my hideously contorting right. I suppose at those velocities you might as well go ahead and call it by its true designation: a smash. Next time.] The only thing I am perfectly on par for, to run with this sportsy metaphor thing for a while, is by starting to write about something I totally did not and still do not intend to write about. Namely what this here activity is and is not and, worse, much worse, a winded disquistion about why I‘ve abstained from it, yet again, for such a non-sensically protracted period of time. The bed of Pro-so-and-so. There‘s something utterly horracious and yet nevertheless hypnotic in typing up something that, to convey truth, does not interest even oneself. To hack away at the frozen heart of hypothermic boredom. To bore. And then, after long consideration, to bore a bit deeper. To keep boring in such a way to clearly no good end. Ultimately, to keep boring, irregardless. If one can‘t be a writer ond certainly can be a borer. Bore with me.
Probably the incomprehensible fascination that gets fucked-up ??? to multiply incise their forearms in what one is generally told is to be interpreted as a call for help. A call for help rather than just a totally dicked up call for attention: here am I, here be my hideously disfigured forearm, look, do make me exist. Ah, what cruel interpretation. And well so then here‘s another regression due to writerly abstinence: a topical degeneration, a moral regression, a full-spectrum downgrading across all signifcant domains. And so blatantly self-inflicted that the self part hurts more than the actual infliction. Well, this is the sort of tangential self-flagellating writerly warm-up exercise that screams for one unique, platitudinous ??? to put it out of its misery: Anyway… this be finger flexing.]