Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Chapter 24 - Ft. Meyers Blues

It’s hard to look straight into the light of the facts. Hurts.

The show in Bonita Springs was a bust. It is painful to watch a man hustle the shlubs out of thousands and thousands with jewelry made in China. They of course believe he has made it himself. This I watched with mounting anger as our booth remained empty. The shlubs next to us selling the wooden roses also did well.

I have to believe that most people who come to a craft show believe this stuff is made by the vendors. J says no. They don’t care. They let themselves believe it is made by the vendor but if they were told, “This necklace was assembled by a prisoner in China” -- they would probably shrug and buy it anyway.

The wooden roses people and us did not hit it off from the start when, popping our chewed up EZ-Up the younger shlub daughter stood back and mouthed “Oh my God!” while J watched her. J told me about it and I looked over and said, “You mean that shlubby girl with the buy/sell?” loud, so that she would hear me. After that I leveled as many insults as possible in their direction and put up a partition so we wouldn’t have to look at them. At one point I heard someone say, “You make them yourselves right?” Shlub answer: "No. They are made in Oklahoma City."
“I see,” said the person making a hasty exit and passing our booth without a glance.

The crowd was an especially stupid one, even for Florida. Dull, Midwestern, A lot of Michigan plates, Ohio. The only people who bought from us at all were Canadian and thanks to them we made a little over our booth $150 after two days of this awfulness.

Now it’s the wait game for a few days, waiting to see if we can get into what we have been told is a decent show -- Artwalk at Baywalk -- at the last minute… It is run by TNT promotions and I assume they let all the same buy/sell assholes in at theirs too so expectations are not too high.

Florida has put the dagger in our spirits, especially this particularly nasty and crude section around Ft. Meyers. Sitting here at the Stare-bucks on College. Morning, cool and clear. It would be alright but J is sick with the same stomach flu I had a few days ago. I almost went to the hospital thinking my appendix was on the verge of popping, fever and everything and then finally it broke and all the poison in me leaked out. Fucking awful being sick and living in a van. Especially in this area where people gawk at us.

Yesterday I read an interesting article in the Ft. Meyers rag, News Times I believe it's called, about the mushrooming homeless problem in the Ft. Meyers beach community. Apparently there is a little mission that provides them showers and hot food and the community is up in arms about it. A police officer was quoted as saying, "They know our guys by face and we know them by face." One of the homeless was interviewed and he told the paper people were migrating to the area because downtown Ft. Meyers was "downright dangerous". This the paper attributed in large part to "restless youths". I smiled at the choice of words. Wouldn't want to offend any of the parents of these wayward young people. Probably very upstanding people in the community. It all trickles down from the top...

J suggested that this climate of meanness might be a more national one than I am allowing and perhaps she is right. Still, there are always little sparks of promise from the very young. Toward the end of the two day show in Bonita Springs a little girl scrutinized our stuff with her mother in tow. Looking from the Coke can earrings to the bolts to the roof flashing necklace and saying, "Mom, I think that much of this stuff is made with recycled materials. We should buy something." Mom bought something and put a smile on all our faces.

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