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Autism: Missing the Fair

30 Sep

For years I have wanted to go, and it wasn’t an option. For one thing, I had no one to go with; my husband and son don’t like such things. For another, it was too expensive – something like $11-15 for something that I would only stay at for a couple of hours. Even if I could bring myself to spend the whole day (which I couldn’t, unless maybe they allowed me to bring my dog – which they don’t) that would still be too much to spend.

This year, however, they had a deal for the opening day. If we went in before 5pm, the cost would be $5. Much more reasonable. So I made the plan, and fully intended to go.

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The fair opened at 10am, which meant I had an hour from the time I dropped my husband off at work, until I could go in. It still seemed like a good idea. After all, the reason it was so cheap on the Friday was because not a lot of people would go then (what with school and work and everything.) If the crowds weren’t so bad, I might be able to manage longer – besides, I really wanted to go.

During that hour before, I made plans to do some shopping. There was a sale on laundry detergent at Walmart, so I would go there to get that. Then the farm store had a sale on the dog food that my dog eats – well, more a free exchange than a sale. That food is super expensive ($17 for 2kg!) but if I had an empty bag of store brand dog food, I could exchange it for a free bag of this expensive food. Great deal!

The expensive stuff is the brand my dog was on when she was given to me. A large Ziploc bag of the kibble came with her – but we were running low. I have actually been making homemade food, and only giving her maybe 1/8 cup of the kibble each day (that is about all she would eat – she, of course, wants homemade.) Still, $17 for 2kg is a lot of money, so I would have to at least mix it with something else.

Well, we didn’t have another bag to exchange, but if I went to the grocery store and bought some, I could empty it into a container, and bring in the empty bag. I did research, and found a comparable brand with good reviews (plus $11.50 for 3kg is a bit better priced.) And I did that. In the hour before the fair, I went to the grocery store and bought one bag of dog food. I talked to the cashier a little (because I used to babysit her son when I first moved here.) Then I went to Walmart, because it has a traffic light coming out to help me turn on the highway. Then I went to the farm store, where I had to talk to the cashier in order to ask for the free exchange.

By that time, I had been away from home for more than an hour, and I was starting to feel it. My anxiety was high, but I still wanted to go to the fair. After all, it was a decent price, and when would I get another chance?

I parked at the back of the shopping centre, and walked up to the fairgrounds just behind. As I got close, there was a farmer’s market full of crafts and farm grown food. I walked through that (because I like to) and it was at that point I felt I really needed to be home. So I drove back to my husband’s work, where I dropped off the van, and then walked along the nature trail home (forgetting there was a warning of a cougar sighting on a nearby trail the day before – but that is another story.)

When I got home, I crashed, and actually slept for the afternoon (did I mention that I couldn’t sleep the night before for anxiety over having to talk to cashiers in the morning?) Normally I can’t nap during the day, but I slept deeply for 2.5 hours. When I woke up, I very much regretted not having gone to the fair.

After that, there was no option to go, as the price was once again too high. It makes me sad sometimes how much my anxiety interferes with life. But when my brother in law (who is staying with us for a few days) asked me the next morning to go to the parade, I picked up my dog, and went – and I enjoyed it very much!

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