Archive for the ‘rites of passage’ Category

I lost my wiener at the State Fair.

I just stood there with the stick still in my hand as the fluff of buttery batter goodness stared up at me, all naked. I looked down and the rest of my wiener just laid there on the ground, cold and jilted. Oh well, I made up for it with a frozen lemonade later.

Hey, Big Tex!Yes folks. It’s fair time again and I will have to admit that this is only the second year I’ve been to the fair. My folks weren’t that into it when I was a young J. My father just claims he wanted to see the livestock but apparently I wasn’t excited at the idea of smelling pig shit. I’m finally braving the fair because having a media pass makes it a little easier and gives you a reason to go being that it’s kinda work-related. And of course the corny dogs are another motivation. But you can’t just go to any corny dog pagoda. No. No. It’s gotta be the one that has the word FAMOUS emblazoned on it. And little ketchup and mustard kiosks all around. It’s like a little wiener heaven.

Right out of the gate I have to tell you that the carnies that greet you and direct you where to park are sheer caricatures of themselves — people you would think of in a comedy sketch or something. Each with personalities topping one another. One older gentleman kept calling me baby as we drove though the credentials line. And one lady with no teeth flagged down my car as we were leaving, yelling at me “DON’T GO THAT WAY. HEY! DON’T GO THAT WAY!” We shivered in fear.

Anywho, back to the food. Don’t try anything called “fried cookie dough.” If you don’t believe me, here’s a picture of it. That stuff will turn your stomach. Luckily I just tasted my coworker’s batch. And that small bite was enough. You just can’t FRY everything. Why do YUCK!!!fairs think they can fry everything? I mean I saw fried queso, fried guacamole, fried coke (which I tried as well and nearly ralphed at the picnic table. It swims in syrup at the bottom! How gross is that?) and at one point I was expecting to see fried chitterlings  (not impossible) or fried beer (hum, that wouldn’t be so bad.) Every year I think the fair tries to top itself on the yuck factor.

But my old standard turkey leg and funnel cake can never go wrong so this week I’m partaking — if anything just to erase last weekend’s food disasters from my brain. But damn this all gets expensive. For every dollar you spend on coupons you are losing like five. Wait. That’s not right. It just feels that way. I spent 10 coupons on a lousy margarita (not recommended if it comes out of one of those punch-type fountains) which really means I spent five bucks. What a waste. By the time I got on the Skyway I lost my 5-minute buzz. Just enough to half-way enjoy a mediocre car show where a NFL truck with a plasma, grill, and pigskin seats in the shape of footballs with little televisions in the headrests is what Texans call luxury.

Wait, back to food. Picture about 90 degrees out, sun blazing, and a parking lot full of steaming, spicy chili. Not really the best time of year for it but did I ever sample. I’m usually funny about eating a stranger’s food but for some reason free in the midst of State Fair highway robbery just appeals to me. By the time we waddled to my car, I was just thinking about the gut busting that would possibly follow that night. Hasn’t hit me yet. But hopefully if it does, it will wait until after work.

 

Is marriage a rite of passage?

With all this recent talk in my blog about marriage, I just have to wonder something about the rites of passage we encounter.

There are all these small and momentous moments in our lives. The small ones are simple enough: Tying your shoes for the first time, making your own lunch for school, walking to the bus stop by yourself. But the large ones like your first kiss, losing your virginity, high school graduation, first job (maybe not in that order of course!) can place their mark on you for the rest of your life.

Your rite of passage into adulthood is clearly defined by these things. There are so many more too like finally achieving independence, going to college, children — whatever is a milestone in your life isn’t necessarily the same for everyone. But is marriage one of the required rites?

Many say that marriage comes before children so it is a necessary thing. But you don’t have to be married to have children while many say the two should go hand and hand. I’ve never really had a desire to have children and at one point of my life marriage wasn’t something I wanted either. But as things truck along and years pass, marriage has been on my “to do” list of things. I know it kind of sounds clinical and impersonal that way — thinking of it as a check off on a master list, but I guess that is how I see it. There-in lies the problem?

I finished college, landed my first real career. What’s next? Of course always improving or looking to move up or progressing in what I am accomplishing should be enough on my plate. Sometimes it isn’t — much to my chagrin. Marriage isn’t anywhere near my radar. Is marriage something EVERYONE should reach for at some point in their lives? Just as with all those other milestones, is marriage a rite of passage or just another option?

There is a list of famous, great people who never married. I can think of a few spectacular writers and activists alone — Jane Austen (who has been referred to as a spinster) and Susan B. Anthony (where in one text says, “… she had time, freedom and ability to travel.” Not so bad.) But did they really miss out? What if you never reach for the supposed finality of tying the knot? Are you a lesser person for it? To say less is a bit dramatic of course but what about all those references to spinsters not too long ago (and sometimes used today). Why is an unmarried man a bachelor and an unmarried woman an ugly-sounding name like “spinster…”? Sounds like sinister. 🙂

Actually spinster used to be used on applications and documents in place of the word  “single.” Centuries ago women who remained unmarried were looked down upon. Some even considered witches!! And just in the past few decades such as in the 1950s, this idea never really went away. It was just a tad less menacing! I am not blind enough to believe this sort of thinking and overall perception doesn’t exist today.

I remember in middle school that the fact that I never dated ( I wasn’t even allowed to until I was 16) prompted someone to say I was a lesbian. And it was said as an insult, of course. I could have cared less about the accusation but what enraged me was society’s idea that everyone, even at that tender age, should always be partnered and if you weren’t, something was wrong with you. And today that translates to people starting to suggest seeking out a spouse on eHarmony or Match.com.

Of course I realize that the whole world isn’t always persecuting the perpetual single person. But there is no denying the underlying raised eyebrow if you have reached a certain age and never wed.