Friday, May 27, 2011

Exile at the World's End

I committed myself to this steampunk convention, have a thousand things to do at the ninth hour to get ready and here I am with two 12 year-olds, wearing 3D glasses and watching a cheesy kid's movie. Mom kept her promise. Did they have to pick a two hour one? It's so riveting. Thor has been stripped of his power and exiled to earth. I'm trying to relate. Thor is working his program and fighting the good fight. I'm with him on that. It dawns on me; this may be a two-hour experimental therapy: have I been willed here by Thor's power? Oh Blonde God, with the seriously ripped body, I'm trying to keep up the fight!! Share with me the mysteries of your workout! Wait! there's the labyrinth left by the light beam that teleported him. Is he trying to show me we're caught in the same trap? I sure could have used him in Oriskany, New York when I was facing down that Minotaur. Ah ha! it's all a test! Wyatt and his cousin Trevor are my spirit guides. Numb mother senseless with deafening surround sound, violence in three dimensions and make her sick on popcorn! And yet, this is the best I've felt all day. Genius!

The dumb story is really just a front for complete mind retraining. I suddenly reminded of the grace in my exile. There's last Monday's dinner, the underground Clandesdine supper. Is this tied in with the whole end-of-the-world crowd? Detroit has been chosen to show the way! The just-another-empty Detroit space reborn as edgy and beautiful high design. Those giant concrete pillars like the centurions in Thor's kingdom, the spare brick and broken windows beautiful in the unexpected sunlight. It must have been sent by Thor's guard. The temple-like tented long tables, white linens, old 2x4 centerpieces adorned with kitchen towel-wrapped bread loves. The whole place lit only with votives. It's Thor's triumphant feast man! Flowing wines, a coffee bar and the finest foods from Detroit's best cooking talent, complex and all done makeshift on camping stoves as you'd expect at the end of the world, in an exiled city. Wyatt, Trevor, Thor thank you! I've made it to the holy land!! Hey wait! what does the Steampunk thing mean? It looks like Star Trek fused to some Dungeons and Dragons goth flick. I'm confused, Is this another test? Wait, don't leave me!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Apocalypse Now: The Brimfield Sequel

Scratch Vortex, make that a black hole. This trip to Brimfield is the trip from hell (and I totaled a van here once) but little salvage slave who could is a verb remember? Yeah, the van needs a computer part and the shop takes their sweet time telling me. It's 1:00pm Monday, still 3 1/2 hours to Brimfield, hot and I have to unload and reload a U-haul truck. Do you think I could pay one of those mechanics who are soooo busy? Not so much, well maybe after we watch you sweat it out and get all but the 2-ton cabinet and the 10' windmill....WTF!

I get to the show at 7:00pm and it opens at daybreak. My neighbors take one look at me and the back of this truck and unload everything. This my friends is what keeps me going, dealer camaraderie. No time to fuss, well just a little..I'm eating pizza at 10:00 pm and drinking smuggled beer with my New York pals Adam and Andrea.

It's complete mayhem at dawn and the deals are fast…good thing, I feel like I've been dragged through the mud. I'm stressed about the car repair and U-haul rental add-ons. The U-haul guy, my hero, took pity on me and gave me extra days and mileage. I have a few days before I have to think about driving back to Utica and returning in my van. Oh joy. The part should be in tomorrow, the mechanic says it's a quick job...

My neighbors at the show are like characters out of the movie Big Fish. Harry is the showman, a Greek Kramer who roams the field and talks in a shout. Then there's Mark and Mark, "We're from Kent, Ohio, you know where we shot the students." The Marks are sportin' camo, and Sr. talks like this is war and we're gonna see action. He's talks through teeth clinched on a short cigar (that isn't actually a cigar). Keith is our musician and d.j., a cool customer with jazzy selections I love and a sly sense of humor. He's got the back story on everybody, like the time Harry slept through an entire show day after a little self-medicating…I laugh till it hurts. Last but not least, Skeeter,the kid with the sweet disposition and ready to help. He watches my booth when I run off shopping and sells my stuff left and right…He's hired.

Yeah the van…promises promises until there's no returning of my phone calls. It's now 5 days on that quick repair. I'm overtime on the U-haul and freaking out…Except there's this little wrinkle. You see I was towed off a state toll road and only their licensed facilities can tow. My genius husband, who used to sell used car parts and knows all the sleazy mechanics' tricks, gets wise and calls the New York Transit Authority. Within the hour the mechanic is calling me having miraculously just fixed my van! Only now it's Friday at 5pm, too late to pick up the van until Monday am. Good thing I got Skeeter on the payroll (I keep him fueled with sugar) and the U-haul prince working every angle for me.

Time for a cocktail. I take one of Harry's bikes down to find my pals Matthew and Richard who have set up a full cocktail and hors d'ouevres bar at their deluxe truck encampment. I'm talking a portable bar, full-size grill, gourmet foodstuffs. Chef Richard has whipped up some delightful guacamole and Matthew is slicing artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, breads and crackers. I'm bumming cigarettes and pouring myself a stiff black russian and finally exhaling after the van drama...that is until the rain comes. It's the mad dash to haul all that light weight oak furniture under cover.

Of course it's the biblical kinda rain. It's now pack-out day and I'm standing in a pond. So much for last day business. Nothin' to do but tarp what you can and wait it out. What's this? The diehards are trickling in, taking cover and frantically trying to find something to buy before it gets packed up. Hooray! I count my blessings and take my time packing out. It's only 3 1/2 hours back to the scary hotel. I'm starved and tired, I'm not eating road food now. I invite Eddie from Brooklyn. The guy has 1000 stories and that accent, it's like he's reading lines. He accepts the invitation, "shoo-err, yor-uh not the soar-t of broh-awd ya walk away from (you're not the sort of broad you walk away spell it). Thanks for the compliment Eddie and the memories, right, well it makes a good story now that it's over.

Monday, May 9, 2011

There's a Vortex in Brimfield

I am now certain Brimfield and a surrounding radius of 300 miles is in a powerful vortex. Crazy stuff keeps happening here and the story I'm about to tell you absolutely proves it.

I'm down to the last 2 hours of the 12 hour drive and all of a sudden, the van loses engine power, I barely make it to the median as the cars are barreling through a construction zone with no shoulders. I've just had this thing tuned up to the tune of $850. A quick look under the hood reveals nothing easy like a loose wire. They send out the big tow truck and the drivers eyes get big when he sees the strain on the winch, "you got something heavy in there." Yeah, and I gotta sell it like tomorrow. It's Sunday, there's nothing doing. I gotta roll with it.

I buy the nice tow driver dinner at McDonalds and listen sympathetically to his oral surgery pain, the bipolar girlfriend who hasn't moved out yet and the leg that got crushed in a farm accident 30 years ago. He finds a penny in the parking lot and gives it to me for luck. My vans gonna be serviced at 8am when they open, I'll be set up and drinking a cocktail by tomorrow night.

Back in Brimfield my gal pal has found a nice man on to buy her dinner, true story, but he's wearing a lounge lizard neckline and his hair is slicked back. She thanks him and fortified with a few cocktails, my happy pal heads back to the tents to find our drinking buddies.

The driver drops me off at a Ramada Hotel near the airport in Oriskany, New York. I am in the middle of nowhere, at a hotel with 3 people in it. It's the perfect setting for a remake of The Shining. I take a walk and find the main road. The tiny brick control tower at the airport is from the 50's. There are construction vehicles and piles of sand all around it. No planes are flying in or out of here.

The party in Brimfield just keeps getting better. My pal is having the kind of day that you never want to end. She heads back to the hotel bar for a night cap and it's full of fun people. She meets a darling 28 yr-old man, he says he's a professional Vegas gambler, they hit off.

It's pitch black here at the airport hotel and deathly quiet. I've managed to forget reading material and borrow a cheesy romance novel from the Shelly Duval understudy at the front desk. It's about a marine who finds a picture of a pretty girl in the Kuwait desert and believes it's a good luck charm. When he comes home, he walks across the country to find the girl who saved his life. I break for some vending machine food. No sign of Jack Nicholson, but I know where the main road is and I've got running shoes, Shelly Duval is on her own.

There's a lucky charm all right and and my gal pal has it. Though she' has a hangover and only three hours of sleep, love has prevailed. The lucky charm worked for the marine too, the evil ex-husband is vanquished and the marine finds true love with the pretty girl.

So far all my lucky penny got me through was the night in Oriskany, It's noon and I am still waiting to hear what's wrong with my van. I'm holding onto my penny and patience, now if I they could only get my van running…