Sunday, July 27, 2008

It Is Balloon!

So, today my daughter and I went on a bit of an early-morning adventure. In my often idealizing view of the world, I thought it would be a bit of a return to at least my childhood if not hers to go to the Festival of Ballooning and take pictures and see what else there was to do. It was in Readington, NJ, about an hour away from where we live. We drove, got slightly lost (I do ask for directions, another un-male quality) and made it. I neglected to take cash with me and I use my debit card for just about everything. Fortunately, she had some cash on her but not enough for the tickets, funnel cakes and gee gaws we were sure to encounter. So, before I parked, I asked if they took cards - they did not, I was told, but they did have an ATM - inside the festival. I would have to buy tickets in order to use the ATM. Huh? Oh, and there was one right outside the ticket-selling area. Oh, okay, then I would use that. We parked, opened the doors and were immediately hit with a hot-wet-wool blanket of heat. We trudged to the ATM, I slid my card through the reader as if I was slicing open a possum and lo and behold, it accepted my PIN and made a shuck,shuck, shuck cash-dispensing noise - but the little cash door did not open. Ack! "In case of problems with this ATM, call 1-800 . . ." I did and got, you guessed it, voice mail. Ack! Ack! A PNC Bank rep wandered over as the line behind me got bigger and bigger and, in a perfect Mumbai accent told me that I would have to make a claim through my bank. At this point, the large man who had been hovering behind me decided to take his chances and, shuch-shuck-shuck - nothing. He was not amused. Al day who was behind him did the same thing - shuck, shuck (I guess she was getting a twenty) and nothing. I said, "I told you so." That might have been an injudicious thing to say but before Mr. Big could crush my calcium-poor brain case, a Festival Organizer person came by and said, "Why not just go in to where you see the white balloon and use that ATM? Just leave one of your party as a hostage, I mean to hold you place in the ticket line." We did this and trod in, unmolested. Once in, we were accosted by Marketing Troops, selling everything from NY Times subscriptions (only $3.40 a week, Sundays only, billed monthly) to energy drinks and free candy by the pallet loads. It was, in a word, surreal. Long story short, I got my money, went out through the gate, where my hand was stamped so that I could return, bout ONE ticket, went it, showed my stamp and proceeded to run the gauntlet. Here's the thing: there were NO balloons at the Ballooning Festival. None. Not one. The was a blimp from Met Life, but, hey, that's technically not a balloon.

But it was kinda fun, though the skies opened wide in the later part of the afternoon, bringing great relief from the chest-crushing humidity.

I just scrolled back and realized that this is one darned long post. Sorry. Let me brief it up. Last night, went to movie, hadn't done in long time, liked it, admired posters there, loved previews, wondered at the deodorant commercials in wide-screen Dolby THX Stereo. Washed. Slept. Woke up. See above.

Now I will retire to my lair and hope that sleep comes before the dark thoughts return . . . just kidding! But, you know that already.