“I’d like to borrow your trailer.” A friend was asking to borrow my utility trailer. She uses it all the time. I don’t mind. In fact, “asking” was something of a misnomer since the trailer was already hitched to her idling SUV and we were standing around it chatting.
It’s a darned nice trailer. From my point of view a good trailer is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise imperfect world. She agrees. She also brings it back in exactly the same condition as it was when she picked it up. So it’s no big deal.
“Yeah sure.” I was thinking about something else. Being me, this could be anything.
“I’m going on a long trip this time.” She continued. (Usually the trailer only goes on local jaunts to the lumber yard or the landfill.)
“OK, check the tires before you go. They should have plenty of tread.” Was that a squirrel in the tree?
“Indianapolis…” She explained. Whatever. I didn’t care. I was thinking about fishing bait, or taxes, or spark plugs, or something else. Lets face it, there are a thousand thoughts in our heads all the time and very few of them involve Indianapolis.
“It’s for a ‘My Little Pony’ convention.”
My brain went on high alert. Time slowed. Mental focus snapped to attention like a laser beam.
Did I hear that correctly? No! It couldn’t be.
There are certain things which merit immediate and definitive response. For example; tiger attacks, car crashes, and gunplay. This was a similar moment. I had just been exposed to an unfathomable “thing which should not be”.
My brain alerted the rest of the body; ‘Something is amiss. We have received information which is inconsistent with logic, reality, and the human condition. In the next two seconds we’re going to run like hell or kill something.’ My stance changed. I became deeply aware of my surroundings. I sniffed the air. It was ‘go time’.
I spoke carefully because this was important. “What. Did. You. Say?”
“A ‘My Little Pony’ convention.”
Oh God, she’d really said it! Klaxons went off in my brain. The Earth shook. Time and space had no meaning.
I tried to come to my senses. Ponies? I dredged up a decades old mental image of a hideously cartoonish, rainbow colored, sparkle laden, children’s toy. A pony… possibly a unicorn? Animated? Plastic? Plush doll? I couldn’t recall. All I could recall was mutant eyelashes and the manic dopamine smile of something with an IQ less than furniture.
Aren’t My Little Ponies the kind of saccharine sweet, mass marketed, brainkill that causes anyone over age two to recoil in horror? Even in my youth they caused boys to freak out and hurl their GI Joe at the wall. Any girl mature enough that she was not currently scampering around in a fairy costume would react similarly.
This person talking to me, who heretofore has been sane, should feel the same. Aren’t we all mildly annoyed that such things as “Little Ponies” still exist?
And what was this concept of a gathering? A group? A herd?
“A”… I grasped for words. “…convention?” Still reeling from the alien concept of ‘Little Ponies’ I tried to imagine a ‘Convention’.
Unbidden, my mind envisioned 1770’s patriots in white powdered wigs debating an experimental future government; the ‘Continental Convention’. I relaxed a millimeter. Then I realized that my mind was simply leading me toward safe havens.
I shook my head and tried again. I saw sparkly ponies. I saw them en masse! Sparkly ponies en masse… right here on the planet where I have to live! My knees felt weak.
“Yeah, a bunch of people get together and trade and sell ‘My Little Pony’ stuff.” She continued.
“In Indianapolis?” Was there something in the water?
“Yep, that’s where it is. A friend of mine has a display booth. We were going to strap it on the roof but it’s a long trip so I volunteered your trailer. I hope you don’t mind.” She seemed to be speaking English but the words made no sense.
“There is ‘My Little Pony’… commerce?” I stammered.
“Apparently. I’m just along for the ride.”
“Um… You’re talking about the children’s things? The little horses with rainbows and shit?” I just wasn’t getting it.
“Yeah, it’ll be weird eh?”
“Weird is a matter of degrees. I might think it’s weird that a meteor hit the garage roof. I might even think it’s ‘weird’ that an orangutan broke through the window and did a puppet show with live cats. That’s nothing! In the case of a ‘convention‘ of children’s rainbow horses that involves commerce ‘weird’ is totally inadequate.”
“Well I’m in it for the road trip. I’ll take good care of the trailer.” Then she hopped in her car and zoomed off. I think I heard my trailer weeping.
My wife had witnessed the whole thing. Inexplicably the idea of Little Ponies en masse hadn’t fractured her psyche.
“That really does sound weird; but what were you saying about orangutans?” She gently coaxed.
“A convention… Rainbow. Sparkly…” Words stopped coming out.
“It’s just a gathering. Like when we rode to Sturgis.” She tried to calm my nerves.
“Leather clad bikers… Rainbow sparkly ponies…” A juxtaposition formed and took a dump in my skull. “Aaacckk! You’re not helping!”
Mrs. Curmudgeon, realizing I would need hours of therapy, steered me toward the porch. I sat on the swing. A beer appeared. I drank. I tried not to ponder the fact that the world where I live, which has a blue sky and gravity, is also inhabited by adults who are avid fans of sparkly ponies. In Indianapolis.
I survived but I’m not the same. This information is a thing which cannot be unlearned.
Now you know it too. We’re all screwed aren’t we?