Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fourth Street Festival is Crowded

Even though it's a little too high-falutin' for my tastes and I can't afford to buy anything, I look forward to the Fourth Street Festival for most of the year. It's a genuine large, important craft fair right here in humble old Bloomington, Indiana. It has its flaws--there's not enough walking space in front of the booths, so it's mighty crowded, for one thing--but a craft fair is a craft fair is a craft fair, and this one is very high quality.

I have to go back tomorrow, though, because my visit there was spoiled today. First, the people at the booth with the amazingly complicated set-in wood puzzles--Noah's ark, for instance, and it's a real wooden ark but also a puzzle consisting of all the pairs of animals die-cut into the wood--that cost a billion dollars not only refused my nice request to take a photo of one beautiful puzzle, but also acted like I was a spy committing industrial espionage. Okay, okay, I know this does happen sometimes, or people claim it does, but seriously, is a mom with a toddler in a mei tai on her back and an amateur camera set to auto-focus who wants to take one photograph of one cool puzzle really and truly going to then go and have that puzzle made for a buck in India to sell at Wal-mart and undersell these craft fair people? Um, seriously, no. And even if I did, it's not like die-cutting a puzzle is really a trade secret the discovery of which will throw these craftsmen out of business--the puzzle was super-cool, but even I know how to die-cut, and someone whos's going to pay $500 for that Noah's Ark doesn't even go to Wal-mart. Admittedly, I'm a rank amateur at craft fairs, but I like to be nice to people, especially if they ask for things nicely. Maybe it's the southern in me, but even if I have to decline someone's request, like if they want to bargain, and even if I think their request is rude, like if they tell me they make quilts that are better than mine so how much should they charge at a craft fair (happened!), I still turn what I say into a little conversation, not just a "Sorry, no," and a turn away. Fine, I admit it, I felt snubbed and it totally bothered me--how old am I?

Matt and I also got into this insane fight because he doesn't listen to me. When I said, "I'll be right here. I'm going to walk up and then down," I meant that I'd be right here in the craft fair, walking up the aisle we were on and then back down. Is that really that hard to interpret? Well, Matt interpreted, "I'll be right here in front of this one random pottery booth, walking up and down right in front of it for the twenty minutes you'll be gone." Seriously? So I walk up the aisle and then back down, and it only takes about five minutes because I'm still mad about that industrial espionage of die-cut puzzles thing, so I figure I can catch Matt coming back from the car, where he'd gone to get Syd's water bottle. I rush back and do see Matt coming back, but as I'm waiting to cross Kirkwood he grabs Willow's hand and disappears down a back alley. Seriously. I rush around and try to cut him off, but he's just gone. So I go back to the end of the aisle, the "back down" part, and it's also, incidentally, where we all came in. Where do you meet someone if you lose them someplace big and crowded? Why, you meet them where you came in, of course! Merely common sense. And after several minutes, I do see Matt coming through the crowd, carrying Willow, peering into booths looking for me. Except, six booths from the end of the aisle, too far for me to shout and hear him and apparently too far for him to see me standing right there in the middle of the road, he ducks between two booths and totally disappears. Again. I run around to try to catch him, but he's gone. Syd and I still wait for another half an hour, until she's bawling in her mei tai, and then we head to the other place you go if you lose someone someplace big and crowded. Can you guess? Of course--we go to the car. We wait at the car for at least another half an hour. We miss the kick-off for the IU game we're supposed to be attending. And, yeah, when Matt finally comes to the car he starts to yell, then I start to yell, then he yells "Don't you yell at me!" and yells something else and gives me a little push just like a man who has lost his mind and I walk home. And that's why my day sucked.

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