Driving back to Austin from the outlets in San Marcos, stiff like mannequins from shopping and commuting, we were dazzled by the bright lights & fantastic sight of the little carnival that could, just off the Interstate in Buda, TX. My wife asked me if I’d ride the Ferris wheel with her while my son sat in the back seat, plugged into the Matrix, playing his Nintendo Switch with headphones on.
I did not like it all.
I sat in a rocking chair three stories up by a crazy woman who rocked back and forth with feet out shouting “wheeeee” as I scanned for every rusty bolt that creaked and screeched, ready to snap off as mannequins fall out of their chairs and break apart into the abyss...
My boy slipped off into wonder, exactly as he should, and ran from one attraction to the next. My wife, like the good fairy, wand in hand, is always ready to lead him to whatever adventure presents itself. They stepped up to “The Beast” and sat inside a candy-painted lowrider-spaceship connected to hydraulic arms that swung around high and low, and hissed like a railroad steam train about to blow its engine.
My boy rode every ride but one. The last one, “The Cliff Hanger,” was just a waiting room where he thought it over. Over and over. “The Ring of Fire,” could be heard from every other ride, rolling down and around, metal wheels on metal, at daring speeds daring every young boy to strap themselves in to test their bravery. My son ran up and stood before that Great Hoop of Fire, and counted every revolution, but he couldn’t make up his mind. The coaster, like the Wizard, the great Wizard of Oz, fumed with replies in bursts of smoke and fire, as my son stood face-to-face with a Giant.