The other night I went with my mother-in-law to the PNE. I was supposed to go before with another friend, but got so absolutely pissed off with that she was constantly changing the meeting time, and then also wanted to meet at the gate furthest from where I could park that I just couldn’t go and hang out with them and have a good time. I felt better for bailing, as you should never over-accommodate non-compromisers, but I had already bought the ticket.

So I called up my mother-in-law who just loves the Fair. We haven’t spent much time together in the eight or so years I’ve been with her son, so when I phoned, she thought I just was offering to sell her my unused ticket. Its not that I don’t like his family, as I have often been accused, we just don’t have a whole heck of a lot to talk about. I know a lot of people say this, but I suck at small talk and don’t exactly Eddie Haskell it in social situations.

Anyway, as long as you take take some money, its impossible not to have fun at the PNE. We saw the Superdogs, played Bingo, walked a little through the barns (sad how the agricultural component of the Fair has diminished), and checked out the amazing gizmo-and-crap building. I also ate a cheeseburger covered in greasy fried onions with a side of chips at Jimmy’s Lunch (she shared a few chips while eating the sandwich she brought – the junk food is bad for her diabetes), and rode the Coaster. We got some mini-donuts on the way out. mmm. cinnamony. Its like recreating childhood every time I go to this thing.

The PNE is an endangered institution. Some misguided crackpots in the neighbourhood, as well as in City Hall are under the impression that the vast parking lots of the PNE grounds should be turned into green space. Why? Who would go into them in that part of town? No one I know goes into the existing green space they’ve created on site. Methinks the proponents of this grand plan are just sour because they live too far away to cash in on letting people park in their yards during the Fair.

The best part of the night was successfully convincing her to go on a ride at Playland. One of the nicest ladies you’ll ever know, man was she nervous. In my first attempt, I picked out the tamest ride I could find outside of Kiddyland – The 1001 Nights, a smaller shorter version of that old classic stomach flipper, The Rainbow. Not that fast, doesn’t go upside down, she’s looking up at it as we’re standing in line, reads the useless legalese sign about “Guest with High Blood Pressure should not ride etc.” and bails. I went on it by myself – what a waste of four good tickets! After I went on the Coaster however, she still had her four tickets that we had bought, and decided to give the Wave Swinger another go after a self-imposed 40-year hiatus.

“The last time I went on a ride, I was dressed to the nines and wearing heels.”

I watched her get on, the thing lifts up the swings and starts revolving. Each time she came around, I smiled and waved, but she sat stock-still, legs crossed in front, gripping the chains, staring straight ahead. After she got off, I told her she looked a bit nervous. She said she was just having a wonderful time.