I was passing by the extended seating area behind the grandstand when I caught Sighting #30 in the corner of my eye, two fresh-faced teenage girls with freshly lit cigarettes extending from their fingers as they sat. My heart raced as I migrated towards the seating area for a closer look. It was an ebony and ivory sighting, with one black girl and one white girl, both in the 17-18 age range and neither looking like smokers. The black girl was a little chubby and not particularly attractive, but her more pale-complected friend was the very picture of innocence. She was slender and wearing a T-shirt with blue denim capris. Her light brown hair was propped up in a ponytail at the top of her head, and as if her face wasn't youthful and innocent-enough looking, she also had braces!!! It was a sight to behold as this pair sat amidst the crowded seating area openly smoking their cork filters. Her smoking style was largely that of a fairly new smoker. She was clearly inhaling but her exhales weren't particularly cloudy or intense. I got to see almost the entire cigarette get smoked before she tossed the butt to the still-wet ground and crushed it out. Moments later, the girls left and I swooped in to take their bench and check out the brand name on that butt. It was a green Camel cork filter. And this isn't the last we'll be hearing from these two girls.
Riding high after this sighting, I headed down to the south side of the grounds where I would score the second of my three best sightings of the day. Right next to a cluster of water fountains is another large seating area. As I was taking my sip of water, I looked up from the fountain to spot Sighting #31, two small and cute early teen girls, one with a pack of smokes proudly displayed next to her jean shorts. I quickly headed that direction to find this amazing duo of 14-ish blonde cuties seated on the cement burm in the middle of the seating area with ample space surrounding them. Only one of the girls was smoking, but both were a sight for sore eyes, with blonde ponytails, cute tanktops, and skimpy jean shorts with smooth teenage legs flowing from outside the shorts. They had just the slightest badass appearance to them. They weren't the middle school class sweetheart stereotypes, but definitely had the look of the "second-tier" cuties who hung out with a rougher crowd and were the crowning prize of whatever lucky working-class bad boy could score them. But the best part was the blonde smoker's specific pack of cigarettes displayed next to her denim-clad backside was Newports. Newports are incredibly rare in Iowa and cost about a dollar per pack more than other brands because of their scarcity....yet here was this adorable 14-year-old girl committed to ingesting the most expensive and highest-tar, highest-nicotine cigarette on the market into her petite body.....
Regrettably, her cigarette was almost finished and I only got to see two drags, but she smoked it down to about a tenth of an inch from the filter before flinging the cigarette airborne right into the middle of the pavement in the seating area. She stuffed the pack of Newports into the front pocket of her jean shorts and got up with the friend to walk away. As I beheld their youthful beauty, I heard the friend (who I never saw smoking) talking to the smoker and said, "Yeah, when I'm smoking with (some random friend).....". This took me aback since I didn't see the second girl smoking. Might she have simply finished her cigarette before I got there? Is she only a social smoker? Or was she talking about getting high? Whatever the case, I was elated to hear the second girl likely has a nicotine addiction of her own. After the two walked away, I looked to the pavement where she threw that Newport butt, impressed with how little tobacco was left in it and briefly admiring the sight of the thick, creamy Newport smoke rising from the still-wet pavement. I would actually see these two little gals a couple more times on the grounds in the next hour or so. They weren't smoking, but they were journeying through the grounds at a very fast clip....not quite a run, but a very hasty and jubilant walking pace in the way you would expect to see two 14-year-old girls excited about the fair. What a treasure it was to know that at least one of the two girls had that pack of Newports in her shorts pocket and was likely tapping into it more that day. Had I been able to see more of her smoking than just the two drags and hear more of the girls' smoking-related conversation, this would have easily been my best sighting of the day and possibly even crossed the threshold into epic status. As it stands, it's in a close three-way race for the best of the day.
After about six mediocre hours, I seemed to have finally found my stride in the mid-afternoon and, during this stretch, would get one more great sighting (my fourth best of the day) in the midway. The Iowa State Fair midway rarely delivers anything worthwhile, but I would score a very impressive Sighting #35 at the far edge of the midway yesterday. As I was dodging carnies and the lines for rides, I caught out of the corner of my eye a glimpse of two 18-19ish girls (one tall and one short) and got a quick look at their pretty faces. Nah, I thought to myself....they don't like smokers. Thankfully, at the next opening, I looked again, and the tall girl did have a cigarette! I got behind her at the first opportunity and discovered that these two cute-looking girls were in the company of this shirtless, badass-looking guy who had those crazy ear piercings where his lobes are stretched around some giant earring. I think they look disgusting, but apparently these girls were digging it. The best part was, however, that the guy wasn't smoking. Could it be that this cute and tall long-haired brunette in her black tanktop and white shorts was the real bad influence in the cluster, corrupting both of her friends by exposing them to her secondhand smoke. It was a hot idea to ponder as I watched the cutie take a couple final drags from her Camel cork filter before dropping it to the midway pavement and crushing it out.
Turns out I was premature in declaring that I had hit my stride. I was back in a cycle of mediocrity in the late afternoon, slowly cobbling together more mediocre sightings. One of the better ones was Sighting #45, a college-age blonde fair worker sitting at the traffic gate on the south side of the grounds. She was only a modest beauty (and nothing like last year's amazing light brunette jean-shorted cigarette hottie sitting at the same gate with her milky-smooth and cellulite-free legs) but it was nice to see her smoking on the job this way.
Sighting #52 finally delivered something memorable for me. I was near the entry gate and saw this trio of two 18ish guys and one 18-ish girl enter the grounds. The girl had a cute face and very dark brown shoulder-length hair, a bit of a Goth look but not quite that extreme. Again, not class hottie material but an excellent catch for the average 18-year-old joe. Only seconds after entry into the grounds, girly fished around in her purse and extracted a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. She accidentally dropped the cigarette to the pavement, but quickly knelt down to pick it up, apparently applying the three-second rule as she would immediately insert her cork-filter Marlboro into her mouth. Neither of the guys were preparing to smoke as she lit herself up, and both headed for the first building in sight. As the guys walked into the building, she smiled and held her cigarette up to them, letting them know she'd be outside enjoying her cigarette for the time being. Damn it, there are so few public spaces where you can smoke these days that she was gonna take immediate advantage of that freedom at the State Fair. I watched for several moments as she dragged copiously from her cigarette, letting her male friends experience the fair without her.
In the next stretch, I would stumble upon two interesting asides, one that would later pan out and one that wouldn't. Near the bathrooms at the edge of the grandstand, where I had already scored a couple impressive sightings that day, I observed a late 30s husband and wife lighting up beside an adorable 13-14ish blonde daughter. I watched from afar and detected a nervous energy between both father and daughter, and got myself excited about the prospect of dad handing daughter the cigarette for a couple sneak drags. I watched for the duration of the cigarette but it unfortunately never happened. Would have been the sighting of the day if it did as cute as girly was. Next as I migrated through the edge of the midway and the cluster of bars in front of it, my eye caught this stunning light brunette beauty. She had such an innocent and adorable-looking face that I would have expected she was about 18 even though she was probably more like 21. Most striking about her appearance was this pair of painted-on blue jeans covering her spectacular ass. The back pockets on the jeans were bursting off the ass, frayed in several spots and about two-thirds loose from the rest of the jeans. This girl really stood out to me, but she was not smoking....at least not yet. To be continued....
I had to settle for Sighting #56 in this stretch, a brunette hottie standing in between the two bars lighting up a Marlboro Light next to her blonde nonsmoking friend. She had a great body and a tight pair of black jeans that stood out from the crowd.
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