||Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Lawn Tractors, Riots and Bad Driving- Your typical weekend in Georgetown
Made a much-anticipated visit to the Georgetown fall fair on Friday night with my brother and sister to catch the first annual Lawn Tractor Races. The stands were somewhat more sparsely filled than they had been for the Demolition Derby that I checked out last year; just a few teens and older couples who'd join the audience noncommittally for curiosities sake, survey the crowd, and then leave. Who knows why! For me, things like Lawn Tractor Races and their ilk are what make Georgetown such a fine place to live
because I can't afford the rent in Toronto... The event may not have been that well attended, but it was made up for the amount of people participating in the races; a great many of whom were in some way or another related to the Announcer/ Flag-waver. His mother won the first heat, and although he was joking that the race wasn't fixed in any way, I got the feeling that the possibility of compromise of the judging officials due to family favouritism may not have been as serious an issue as it might be for, say, Formula One racing, and therefore, not out of the question.
Lawn Tractor Racing is obviously a real 'family' type of sport; Tom's father came in third in the 'Super-Modified' heat and his brother also made a good- and extremely aggressive showing in the same race. A cousin or two, and husband and wife team that he pointed out were also whipping around track in their shiny garden instruments come roaring dragsters.
After watching about half an hour of the races, we had also had enough of a speed-fix, and decided to wander around the fairgrounds. While observing the teenage alien life forms congregated in the open clearing between the midway and the food stands, I almost became swept up into a spasm of spontaneous Moshing; a kid with a large three-pronged purple Mohawk and Combat-Booted Feet emerged from a dust cloud with his limbs flailing wildly and a big grin. For a moment I had the fear that Id be pulled into the maelstrom and pounded on like a grade seven. In my imagination I pleaded pathetically: But Im 31 years old! You cant do this to me anymore! This is all behind me now!
I perceived at once that the wild kid must have started all the trouble. Its always the kid with the Mohawk! The tall kid with the Mohawk, I mean, not the short one (there were several kids with Mohawks that Id seen in the park, one had been watching the Lawn Tractor Race.) The tall kid looked like he was enjoying himself a little too much. Trying to drag myself out of my pre-adolescent funk, I was reassured by the thought that that I was older and wiser now, and could understand the kid probably only got the haircut because he had been picked on. One day he had the terrible and wonderful realisation that simply by getting a more severe haircut and using excessive amounts of hair products, a nerd could suddenly be transformed into a member of the community to be suspected and feared; a threat to all who might have once threatened him.
"A lot of these kids have Mohawks nowadays, eh?" I commented.
"It's really popular right now, for even mainstream punks to have Mohawks. Clarified my brother, who, six years younger than me, is much more in touch with this stuff.
We checked out some Wrangler cowboy shirts at the Country Depot Vendor and strolled around looking at the carnival rides. I love the way carnival rides and games look, and I love the Cotton Candy smell permeating the air, but the whole Carnival experience is something that I choose to be an observer of, rather than full participant in. Im afraid of the rides, for one thing, and the carnies running the games still hold some weird not so-sublimated feelings of intimidation for me. I remember really and truly enjoying rural fairs when I was a really small child, under 6, when you arent expected to go on the big kid rides, and a bright future awaits when you will be taller than the height limit marker at the entrance to the ride and be able to join into the rite of manhood that a roller coaster promises. I had a momentary impulse to try the Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel is my kind of ride. I have good memories of the Ferris wheel.
On the way out of the fairground we saw packs of kids hanging out, wandering around and generally just waiting for something to happen. Packs that, somewhat to our amusement, spontaneously erupted into passionate confrontations here and there: 14 year olds in baseball hats and basketball jerseys facing off by the fry truck, demanding that they Go! Right now! Bitch! And others that were facing off because of great offence due to improper use of a cell phone: "It's my fucking cell phone! It's my cell phone, man!" The other kids just looked in uncomprehendingly, as the guys girlfriend "Justin!" implored him to let the other guy go. He did, and automatically embraced her in a passionate hug: "Sorry Baby!" And the cycle of reward for negative attention goes ever forward.
The hormone fuelled passion seemed funny to us on the Friday night, mainly because it was just SO over the top, but it wasnt as funny on the following evening, when, as the T.V. Anchormen say, the tension exploded into violence. Marianne and I were in our apartment reading, but my Spider-Sense started tingling after I started hearing screams and sirens. Marianne asked me what it was, and after hearing the roar of a car engines I reassured her (and myself) that it was just the noises from the Demolition Derby. Another lesson to always trust my intuition, as after work on Monday Marianne informed me that a full scale riothad been going on just a few blocks away from our house.
Id even taken a stroll around the Fairgrounds on the Sunday Evening, to revel in the melancholy of the dismantling of the fair in the golden dust filled the setting sun. The big Fry Trucks from St. Jacobs exited in a convoy through the gate by the armoury, and I took a few photos and drew a few sketches, of shirtless carnies shouting instructions to each other as the deconstructed the Spider: Turn! Turn! as their kids entertained themselves in the bouncy castle. I passed by horses being lead by ropes to their trailers and, the guy that who made the big wooden sculptures with a chainsaw as he packed his chunky wooden artwork in a truck; I noticed that the $179 piece that Id liked, a baying dog, had been snapped up. Four kids thoroughly swept the area with a metal detector looking for lost change and other treasures I suppose.
More exciting news on Monday. Man drives car through wall of Drivers License Office, on main street, just two blocks from my home. I truly am in the centre of the universe
Photo Taken By Brian Hunt