I still make a big deal when the county fair comes around in Los Angeles every year. It’s not the Texas State Fair, but I go because I enjoy the nostalgia of megajillion dollar hot dogs and fajillion dollar funnel cakes eating fair food, riding rickety deathtraps carnival rides, and trying my hand at old-fashioned games like ring toss and the dunking booth even though those motherfuckers are rigged I rarely win.
I also go because it reminds me to be grateful.
The first time I went to the Texas State Fair, my singular mission was to ride the giant ferris wheel.
I passed most of my time waiting in the long line by spying on my fellow Texans. I was intrigued by the middle-aged woman who ushered fairgoers in and out of the cars. The most striking thing about her appearance was the deep frown lines permanently etched into her face. She was the most miserable looking person I had ever seen in my short life.
When we got to the front of the line, my dad realized that we didn’t have enough tickets for all four of us to go on the ride. He insisted the three of us ride while he took pictures from below. We argued that we should get back in line after purchasing more tickets.
As we started to leave the line, the family behind us offered to give us the tickets we needed. We declined. They insisted. We accepted. They waved away our thanks.
The miserable woman shook her head as she watched us get into the car. She said loudly enough for all of us to hear, “I don’t know why people want to be nice to strangers. What’s the point?”
Even now, I don’t know the answer to that question. What’s the point? I’m not really sure. The only thing I know for sure is that I choose happiness and gratitude over misery.
I am grateful for kindness without strings attached. I am grateful for the small things which bring so much pleasure. Also, I am grateful for Bel Biv Devoe.
And y’all? What are y’all grateful for?
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image via the yellow house shop @ etsy.com