||[May. 23rd, 2007|08:56 am]
|||||A starling who's doing an amazing gull impression||]|
So there I am, once again heading down 95 to Spotsylvania. I spent all Thursday on the Faire site, but now am headed down, car packed, I mean PACKED, with dogs and dog stuff, costuming for me, supplies for all three of us to spend the weekend away from home, tools and supplies for last minute site work, all of the paperwork and office supplies and forms and ticket rolls and hand stamps, first aid stuff that are necessary to open the Faire, its front gate, gift shop, etc.
Plus copious amounts of Diet Mountain Dew and enough K cider to take the edge off of the caffeine and anxiety-induced buzz once the day is done.
And, shocker, I'm running really late. It's taken me much longer to pull everything together, get it all in the car...and now I'm stuck in 5 mile an hour traffic and have 80 plus miles to go. And I've got a million things to do onsite, plus a laundry list of things to pick up once I'm down there, copies to be made, plus several hours of work to do in the hotel room organizing everything.
And ahead of me is a minivan with a vanity plate that reads "jstrlax".
Look, dude, for the record, telling someone as wound up and keyed up as I am to "Just relax" is equivalent to shoving a stick of dynamite up my keister and setting it alight. Especially when it's in code on your license plate and you are blocking my view and randomly slamming on your brakes in a huge overreaction to the brake lights ahead of you.
And there were a thousand things left undone and clearly not going to be finished -- it's really hard to paint your front gate in the pouring rain. But lots of folks working really hard to get done what they could. And really, on Thursday the site and the Faire itself was more put together than it's ever been in the past. And maybe most of it is little stuff, like having actual trash cans rather than collapsing, flimsy trash boxes, and having signs where we had none before and procedures and policies so that the "winging it" was greatly reduced...it would have settled me right down if only there was a EXPLETIVE DELETED place to get copies made after 9pm on a Friday night in all of Fredericksburg! (Yes, there IS a Kinko's on Route 3...but that was only revealed to me the next day...and was not listed in the phone book, or known to several residents of the area.)
So, after wasting time driving to the Staples...which apparently, except for the large, well-lit sign you can see from the highway, isn't actually open for business yet. And then to the Office Depot, further up the highway, which closed 5 minutes before I got there...I decided that hand-copying was not just for monks and went for my second task of the evening: picking up various and sundry items at the Wal-Mart.
Which I just hate anyway. I hate their business model. I hate their very size -- it takes too long to traverse the parking lot, not to mention, the miles that need to be walked because the two things I need are on opposite ends of the store. But, when you have a very limited amount of time, and are in a strange place where you don't know where all of the various stores are and need to get items that range from: Cable ties, small safety pins, a cot, food supplies, bandaids and a cooler...I know that the odds are in my favor of finding them all under one roof.
But clearly they were doing some kind of social experiment, for the lights way above were flickering, as if the whole store had a bad ballast. And the store was packed with people. Which, of course, pissed me off, because well, I hate people at the best of times, and on a Friday night, when I'm in the middle of a giant emotional crabfest, and I'm in a Wal-mart jammed with people who should be home reading a book, playing a game, cleaning their homes, washing their laundry, anything but gormlessly wandering the aisles of Wal-mart filling up their carts with stuff they don't need and can't afford.
I know, you're thinking, a little judgemental? Dude, I was in there long enough with these people -- there were a lot of laundry issues walking around. And personal hygiene? They should have been home flossing their teeth and doing some cardio, instead of buying the jumbo pack of Pop-Tarts and suitcases of Busch beer. And yeah, because the lines were 20 people deep and everyone but me had overflowing shopping carts, I got to listen to their personal financial troubles...and I'm telling ya, they shouldn't have been buying that stack of DVDs.
Oh, right, I haven't told you about screaming child one lane over who had a complete 20 minute unrelenting melt-down with a high decibel refrain of "I want it, I want it, but I want it". Which is perhaps my least favorite line to be issued from a child's mouth. I blame it on the tick. See, there was also a tick attached to my collarbone, that I discovered on my way into the Wailing Mart. But I couldn't get it off easily and thought, I'll just get my stuff and get back to the hotel room and pull it off then, in good light, with tweezers.
So there I am, in hell. The cavernous space, flickering lights, surrounded by people who were making my day worse, with a tick on my collarbone, hours of work and unpacking the car ahead of me, and a screaming kid having a melt-down because his every little demand was not going to be fulfilled.
Which is why I walked away from my cart, over to the child, leaned over, and very quietly, and very seriously snarled, "Well, you're not going to get it tonight so you'd better just quit your screaming." Silence.
I believe I get points for ignoring the kid's mother who answered me with "Don't you talk to my child that way" because, really, there was a whole world of invective I was warehousing at that point. But, it was my turn to get checked out and righteous indignation and the chance for a full out screaming match lost to my need to get my self out of there before I lost my mind.
I did get back to the hotel. And it did take me near a half hour to unload the car, since I had a second story room in the exact center of the breezeway. And, I will admit that when the key started to get wonky on the third trip up and I was unable to open the door...I did actually sob "Why does everything have to be so hard" and apparently I was so pathetic that even the door felt sorry for me and relented.
I got the tick off, looked at the clock and saw it was near midnight, did a small amount of work and got up at 4am to finish it off. And yes, I was not ready to open the Faire the next morning, but we managed, thanks to some wonderful, supportive, competent volunteers. And the cast was lovely and the vendors plentiful and sweet, and the weather splendid, the entertainers fabulous, great friends invaded, and attendance was up 33% over the previous year, the largest opening crowd ever for the Faire. And I'd say that it was all worth it...but I haven't quite recovered yet. Maybe by June...