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May 8, 2017

People watching is something that I love to do whenever I can. There are only certain places where it is appropriate to do so, I suppose. Looking at other people could be seen as insensitive; after all who likes to be stared at? The places where you can get away with it without bothering people tend to be very busy, like airports or shopping centers. Carnivals are also perfect for this strange pastime.  I took my daughter and her friend to the Apple Blossom carnival so they could go on the rides. It was packed with people. All the different rides added color and movement, and of course there was lots of noise, mainly screaming. As the big metal machines whizzed(1a) around dangerously, the expressions on people's faces changed from happy to terrified. Hair that normally obeys the laws of gravity stood up vertically as bodies went zooming(1b) towards the ground. Even those who weren't on the rides were very entertaining to watch. They were tall, short, fat, thin, dark, light, well-dressed, and badly-dressed. Some babies slept in their strollers, while others cried in their mothers' arms because they were tired or hungry. I calculated that most people over the age of twenty were wearing jeans and a warm jacket, as the wind was quite cold. However, the young singles or teenagers were all walking around shivering because they insisted on(2) wearing very few clothes, and exposing arms and legs as much as possible in order to look attractive. I was happy in my winter coat. Another interesting thing about watching people at a carnival is the mood watching. Carnivals are, after all, exhausting places. They are fun, yes, but exhausting. You might go to one with lots of energy, but after going on a few rides, sampling the greasy food, and squeezing through the noisy crowds, I guarantee you'll need a nap. Even the tough-looking young men who wished to test their endurance on the 'Wheel of death', or 'Dead man's drop' or whatever, would eventually look pale and fragile. What a wonderful transformation! Children who had initially been rosy-cheeked and excited, were now howling because they were far too over stimulated, and the parents should have known better. Some couples argued. Some parents were annoyed because their children wanted more and more tickets for the rides. Well, of course they did. And the older generation occupied the only seats available, and chewed on popcorn slowly. Looking around, it seemed as if the only people who were not exhausted or emotionally wobbled were the ride attendants who busied themselves(3) with safety precautions, locking people in their rides, and measuring the height of the kids. They looked like they felt quite splendid in their dark blue uniforms, holding their laser-guns. Very important indeed.

1a and 1b. 'Whizz and zoom'. You can't talk about a carnival without using these words. They are onomatopoeic which is a very fancy word that means they sound the same as the sound they are describing. 

a. The model airplane whizzed up into the air, and zoomed down right over our heads!

b. The kids played with their tiny cars that they would wind up and watch whizz and zoom around the curly, plastic race course that they had set up in the lounge.

2. 'To insist on' means to be determined about something.

a. He always insists on paying each time we go to dinner.

b. I'm not surprised your feet are wet! You insisted on wearing the wrong shoes for hiking!

3. 'To busy oneself' is the same as saying 'to keep oneself busy' or 'to be occupied with'.

a. My grandma is retired, but she busies herself with voluntary work, gardening, and dancing!

b. I love watching the birds this time of year. They busy themselves with making nests and caring for their young.

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