Moving right along. It was this very same outing, that I met the Texan.
We (my brother and I) were standing in line for the rock-climbing wall, bickering back and forth about if I could make it to the top. My brother didn’t think I could, I on the other hand, knew I could. Plus, if you reached the top, you got this cute little teddy bear. It was as good as mine. My side of the wall cleared up first, I passed the gate and stepped onto the mat. My brother watched on from the gate.
The person that stood there on the mat waiting for me, was literally the person that had my fate in their hands. If they hooked the harness up wrong, missed a belt or buckle, I’d fall and get hurt. Or worse.
As I walked towards him, the first thing that stood out to me was the fact that he was a red head. The second was that he was either my age or older. I couldn’t tell. When I reached him, he placed the harness on the ground in front of me.
“Go ahead and step into this,” he told me.
I did. He pulled the harness up to my waist and began to click and buckle everything in place.
“Have you done this before,” he asked.
“Yeah, I’ve done this in the past.”
“Good, then you know what to do,” he said.
They don’t call me Chatty Kathy for a reason.
Me being the antisocial butterfly that I was (am), I looked away from him when he moved closer to me to hook the harness over my shoulders. I had a bubble and he was in it.
It’s always so loud at the fair, people have to scream to hear each other. I wasn’t sure if he had gotten that close to me because he needed to see the harness or to make sure I heard him, but I continued to look away. I glanced over to see my brother leaning on the fence watching me, waiting for me to fall off this wall in a few minutes.
The guy was pulling the last strap tight when he spoke, “I like your accent.”
Now I’m not sure what type of reaction he was going for but for whatever reason, I got all kinds of offended. Before I could stop it, the next words out of my mouth took me back to my roots. All the way to my roots.
“Accent,” I spit, turning to him, “I ain’t got no accent.”
I shutter to this day thinking about it. So, hush.
He smiled at me, “Really?”
“Yeah, really,” I countered, “Besides, you sound just like me!”
His smile and tone was kind of making me mad, was he making fun of me? Cool thing about me, the madder I am, the thicker my accent gets. Not that I have one, clearly.
“Yeah, ya do. Where are you even from?”
Where are you even from—someone, please make it stop. Just shut your mouth Laura.
“I’m from Texas.”
“Well you sound like you’re from North Carolina to me.”
Why am I even this mad?
He held his hand out for me to move to the wall. At this point, my brother was there getting suited up for the wall beside me. He had missed the entire encounter.
I was getting ready to start climbing when he patted one of the lower foot holds, “You could start out with this one.”
My face. I couldn’t help it. I had just told the man I had done this before; did the thick accented North Carolinian look or sound like she needed a help? Don’t answer that.
Why am I so upset!
He chuckled again and took a step back, “Have fun guys.”
I turned back to the wall to concentrate. I had to beat my brother in this race, I didn’t have time to be messing with anyone else. I was about three or four foot holds up when he called out to me again, “Make sure you hit the buzzer at the top.”
Sir, I will take my shoe off and throw it at you. I KNOW HOW THIS WORKS.
I reached the top right about the time my brother did, I don’t think he hit the buzzer, but I did. I had MADE IT TO THE TOP, and I wanted him to know it. Unfortunately, when I pressed the buzzer, it didn’t go off. I pressed it again, but the buzzer didn’t make a sound.
The Texan was yelling at me from the ground. I AM! Your stupid buzzer is broke, and I will throw both of my shoes at you. Before I could press it a third time, I lost my footing and fell. Of course, the rope caught me, and I glided down like everyone else. I heard the Texan’s, “Aw!” from down below.
Are you kidding me right now? Don’t judge me, after you stood down there and yelled at me. When I reached the bottom, the Texan was there waiting to unhook me.
“You did good,” he told me.
I had wanted that teddy bear, small as it was. But, I couldn’t wait to get out of there and rub it in my brother’s face that I had reached the top. Something he said I couldn’t do. I glanced over at him to throw him a cocky, ‘ha, I did it’ look, but he wasn’t looking. When I turned back around, the Texan was standing if front of me, which made me kind of jolt backwards. I can’t deal with people in my bubble. He reached up to pull the top part of the harness loose and pulled me a little closer than I thought we should be. For real though. I felt my eyebrows furrow as I turned my head in the other direction.
“I tell you what,” he said looking up from the harness, “If you come back tonight, I’ll let you in for free.”
Uh—Sir, why are we so close?
“Um—thanks,” I managed.
As awkward as it was, I contemplated it. The climbing wall was something I enjoyed doing. He released me from the harness, and I stepped out. I was halfway to the gate when I heard him.
I turned around to see him trotting towards me. What now?
“Even though you didn’t ring the buzzer, I saw you reach the top,” he said holding out a small teddy bear.
“Oh my gosh, thanks,” I replied, stunned.
YEARS later, at a random place and time, that moment popped into my head. It was then I realized what was happening that night. Yeah, I know, I’m blonde. Hush.
I know what you’re wondering. Did I go back that night? The answer is no, I didn’t. Right after we left the climbing wall, my brother got me on that stupid ride that almost killed me. I suggest you click the link to find out what I’m talking about, if you don’t already know. And we left shortly after that.
I’d like to take this time out to formally apologize to that red headed Texan that worked at the North Carolina state fair in 2005. The blonde, thick accented North Carolinian, didn’t pick up what you were laying down.
Dodged a bullet there, didn’t you?