I had only been to the fairgrounds a little over an hour on my after-work evening-hours-only Wednesday visit to the 2014 Iowa State Fair when I got my sighting of the night. There are two small flights of stairs on the eastern end of the fairgrounds’ south side seating area that lead up to a circle of international flags and a fountain, an area where I don’t ever recall scoring a quality sighting before. Sitting on a bench atop the first flight of stairs was a mid-teen couple that thankfully grabbed my attention walking by, even in this remote spot where I don’t often look. I ascended the stairs to see the sweetest little blond angel one could ever expect to see with a cigarette. She wasn’t “beautiful”….she was just wholesome beyond words, the classic stereotype of a bubbly, innocent 16-year-old cheerleader type with a mouth full of braces and her blond hair up in a bushy ponytail. She could have been an extra of one of Stephanie Tanner’s friends on “Full House” back in the 90s. Yet there she was, holding a freshly lit cork filter cigarette in her hand and couldn’t have possibly looked more out of place doing so wearing a conservative gray shirt and a tight pair of leggings with a busy, colorful pattern. I was in love! Now the boyfriend next to her was a pretty wholesome-looking fellow himself, also right around 16 with a bushy hairdo, and I’m 90% sure when I got there he was smoking a cigarette himself, although it was disposed of quickly. The entire show that I was about to get consisted of this fascinating girl’s smoking show, and what a show it would be…..
I sat down on a bench across from them, and while a little too exposed for my preference, had a great vantage point of her smoking. And almost immediately after I sat down a middle-aged couple walked past them, and the guy began talking to them in a joking way, with the boy responding equally lightheartedly. I couldn’t make out a word of it but since there was little else that made sense for them to talk about, I suspect the conversation revolved around the teenage couple’s smoke break. The innocence of this couple, especially the girl, is impossible to overstate, so it was just heartbreaking whenever she inserted that cork filter into her mouth for a precocious drag. The drags were surprisingly long and adorable, but the exhales were what always got me, her innocent face expelling sloppy little cloudbursts from her mouth and nose that always seemed to drift right into the boyfriend’s face. There was no wind to speak of that day so it must have just been fate that directed her exhales to flow straight into his grill over and over and over. And I got one other surprise that came all-too-frequently after her sloppy, blobbish exhales, and that was spitting. I know not everyone is into sloppy exhales and especially spitting in smoker girls, but this girl was chronic, dropping juicy lugies straight in front of her onto the pavement after her drags on four different occasions.
Normally I would have had a wide-open lane to take some direct frontal photos of this madness, but I had a big problem. The bright sunshine that boosted my morale so high when I entered the grounds was now at the angle where it was producing long shadows and interfering with my shots. I tried from a few different angles, drawing major attention to myself doing so, and just couldn’t get the sweet spot where I captured her face and the cigarette. I sat back down so I could watch the end of the show, watching the once-long cigarette grow shorter and shorter as it was consumed by this most innocent face. She took her final drag and crushed out the cigarette on the pavement in front of her. Watching that last exhale drift into the boyfriend’s face, I thought to myself that he must be relieved her cigarette was finally gone so he could breathe again, but he still had one more decidedly unfeminine display from his little girlfriend to watch before they pressed on….an unprecedented double lugie drop, with a giant ball of spit dropping from her mouth followed by a second, slightly smaller dribble a split second later. I thought to myself this guy had to have some level of fetish himself for the girl to feel so comfortable being so gross in front of him. Either way, I couldn’t have been more jealous.
I had two orders of business as the couple got up to leave. The first was to ID her butt. I maneuvered my way around four pools of her slobber to find the butt I presume to be a Marlboro Red Special Blend as its markings are similar to the Marlboro Light Special Blend except with a cork filter. I even took a photo of the pavement where all of her lugies were dropped. From there I needed a better photo of the girl, even though her cigarette was gone. The couple was going up the hill towards the east side and I found a walkway parallel. I was really pushing my luck here as this couple was definitely aware of me at this point, and I would need luck on my side to pull off the direct frontal photo I was going for. But luck was on my side as they turned left exactly as I needed them to and I snapped the shutter on my camera phone getting a photo that will preserve her memory forever. I obviously would have preferred a better smoking photo, but I’ll still be able to look at this snapshot at any time in the future and recall the chronic spitter with the innocent mid-teen face and remind myself that this girl does indeed smoke. I thought there was a very good chance I’d run into these two again that night given the smaller weeknight crowds, but I never did. Nonetheless, the visit was already worthwhile after receiving the gift of this sighting before dark.