I should not be put in charge of things. I am barely competent enough to work the scanner in the self checkout lane at Wal-Mart. I am certainly not ready to operate complicated machinery.
Like cotton candy makers. We had our church picnic yesterday and, as president of my ladies group, I had to order the cotton candy machine and the snow cone machine. This was simple enough; I made a phone call and it was done. Unfortunately, I was also required to operate them and this was not so simple.
I arrived early, ready to go a few rounds with the machines. How hard could it be, I reasoned, to operate a cotton candy maker? I have a college degree. Ok, so it’s a liberal arts degree, but it’s from a highly respected university. One with a really good football team! And I did quite well in my studies. If people in carnivals can operate cotton candy machines, thought I, then there should be no problems. Oh such wicked, wicked hubris!!!
My first mistake was putting the machine on a table. This caused the machine to be higher than me, as most things are. The lord blessed me with many things, but height was not one of them. Once the machine was on the table, it was chest high to me, making it difficult for me to reach.
Well there it sat and I was at a loss as to the next step. The warning on the side advised me not to operate it until I had thoroughly read the detailed instructions provided with the machine. Unfortunately, the rental company had failed to provide them with the machine, so I had no guidance.
Nancy S. sauntered up, holding a beer (I love Catholic church picnics!!!) and said “I think you just pour the sugar in there (gesturing to the hole in the middle) and turn on the machine.”
“Well, go for it,” I told her, erroneously assuming she knew what she was doing. She opened the carton of bright blue sugar and dumped away. Then we turned the machine on and waited.
Almost immediately, wisps of cotton candy began forming. I grabbed a paper cone and started twirling. If you’ve ever purchased cotton candy at the fair before, you have witnessed this action. The competent server rotates the cone through the drum and the cotton candy forms a giant fluffy mass right there on the cone!
I am not a competent server. I started rotating the cone and succeeded only in wrapping the cotton candy around my hands. It was a windy day and wisps of cotton candy were blowing up and out of the machine, right into my face and up my nose. Within minutes, I was completely coated in cotton candy.
There is no hyperbole in this particular entry. When I say coated, I mean coated!! A lady standing nearby started howling with laughter, and was so taken with my appearance, she ran to get her camera so she could take pictures, presumably to sell to the Weekly World News: Mutant Half Woman Half Sugar Monster!
I had cotton candy all over my hair, giving new meaning to the term “blue hair”. It was all over my face and in my eyebrows. But most compelling of all was the fact that absolutely none of the cotton candy had twirled onto the cone. Instead, I had managed to twirl it onto my hands so a giant fluffy mass had formed on my hands. I looked like I was wearing cotton candy mittens. Within minutes, I could no longer use my hands because they were so bound up in cotton candy.
I later told a friend I felt a lot like Lucy in the candy factory episode. The harder I tried to twirl, the more cotton candy I ended up with on myself. I was handing children white paper cones with a tiny drift of cotton candy. I did try to get several children to eat it off of me, but no one took me up on it.
The cotton candy was continuing to form at a frantic rate and a lot of it blew away into the atmosphere. A lot of it blew onto me. A little of it actually made it into the hands of the crying children. “I guess I put too much in,” laughed Nancy and she walked away with her beer. I fantasized briefly about suffocating her to death with my cotton candy mittens, but I was too busy trying to twirl.
About that time, Kiki’s teenage daughter came over and said “I know how to do that.”
“Great,” I told her. Inside, I thought ‘yeah, everything looks easy when someone else is doing it,’ but I smiled and moved aside. She picked up a cone and within seconds, had a large, fluffy, perfect cotton candy for the next child in line. She continued to generate perfect cotton candies and within minutes, had tamed the machine.
I lamely thanked her and betook my glistening, sugar coated self inside to wash. A swarm of yellow jackets formed around me, a sort of honor guard as I made my way through the crowd….ok, I made that up, but it would have been really funny!
So needless to say, I have crossed carnival worker off my list of possible occupations. The management doesn’t take to kindly to workers winding themselves up in the product!