Tuesday 28 August 2007

An EXtravaganza of Random Strangers

Chris was in withdrawal from fair food (well, it has been a year), and I was in withdrawal from spinny rides (the vertigo and nausea had passed). I had put two David Wilcox songs on our "Rock Me Across Canada" mix, so it was serendipity that he would be playing at the Ex on Saturday.

Under a threatening sky, we arrived at the fairground at 4:30, leaving ourselves enough time to get thoroughly dizzy and disoriented on the rides, eat a wide variety of unhealthy fair fare, pet some goats, and still have time to get to the beer tent before the 8 pm show.

First stop: the food tent, not surprisingly. I had just polished off the last bit of wedding cake before we left home, so I was fine, but Mr. Huff was feeling peckish. He got quesadillas from a trailer, and I admired how fresh the server still looked, despite the 88% humidity. (I'm amazed at some people's unnatural resistance to frizz, red-facedness, and shininess.)

On to the spinny rides! We did three in a row, and my stomach was starting to tell me that it was a bad idea, so we switched to the cannonball drop, which is completely terrifying, and not fun at all (until next year). The sky darkened a little more. One more spinny ride, two fun houses, and the pirate ship (on any normal occasion, I would have put my fingers in my mouth to say it, but I was well aware of the EX-treme unhygienicness of the fairground). It started to rain a bit. Two more spinny rides, then I had to put my foot down with a splash.

To the petting zoo! I was lunging towards the donkeys, my arms outstretched, when Chris stopped me. Donkeys are also unhygienic, it seems, as are goats. The lemurs, though not pettable, put on a good show, and I was content to just watch, thought I REALLY wanted to pet that llama; he had excellent teeth. The sky had completely opened up at this point.

Back to the food tent! Chris' hamburger was ok, although he made a dubious poutine choice (with chicken and cream on top? what the -), and then we splashed off again, this time to the bumper cars, the reptile zoo, and finally the zipper.

We were ready for David. It was pouring rain now, and although we both had jacket-type things, neither had a hood or a hat. Also, our drinks were being watered down.

A voice called us over to a patio umbrella. "You can share with us," she said. A stranger, Micheline, introduced us to her companion, Dennis, and her daughter, Julie. Alfredo, apparently the original "owner" of the umbrella, was there too. We started to chat about how many times we had each seen David's show. The music started, and the rain continued to fall. To sum up, great show - he's consistently fabulous, and played as well as usual. But enough about him. Soon, two more guys were under the umbrella, too (Mike and Dave), and then two more (Matt and Bill). We ended up talking, dancing, and buying rounds.

We discovered that Alfredo and Chris had the same birthday and that his wife was an Aries like me; that Mike and I used to work out at the same gym; that Julie thought Matt was cute; that Bill and Chris had both worked in Yellowknife; and that Bill went to high school with my friend Jamie. The show wrapped up. Not wanting to end the evening so early (it was only 10), eight of us carried on to the Royal Oak for snacks and more drinks. Then, at 11, at Micheline's insistence, we hopped in cabs to go dancing at Caliente. Chris and I attempted a bit of salsa (that one lesson helped us a bit, but not enough), then sat back and watched some of the amazing talent on the floor.

It was such a random meeting of such different people, all connected in different ways. When we finally left, around 1:30, we traded emails, got business cards, and hugs. Will we ever see them again, I wonder?

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