Monday, July 21, 2008

Post Fair Post

A strange year. The logistics of preparing for Fair are always challenging but despite major innovations and new laid plans we were still over bled by the end. Our perennial intention is to achieve the perfect distillation of stress easement, strong sales, visual opulence and maximum enjoyment. We packed lighter and tighter. Streamlined products and displays. Pared down gear to the essentials. Organized our camp environment to integrate functionality and aesthetics. This year I felt we made huge strides in achieving our goal.

Our primary good move was staying in a motel in Eugene after a full day on the road in the brutal heat and smoke with no air con. Normally we drive all day, stop in town to pick up provisions and water for the next week then push on out to the fair site where we slather our sticky selves with bug spray and spend the final hours of day assembling the loft and pitching camp before nightfall. No wonder we succumb to exhaustion every year. Instead of the usual death march the alternate scenario this year was: we took hot showers, walked through campus in the twilight, reveled in the fading sun and old trees, helped the kids finish their craft projects while watching Galaxy Quest, mended and ironed (!) a few loose ends, slept in a firm bed and went out for a meal the next morning before heading out to Fair. That did wonders to fill my cup and as it turns out I needed my cup full.

We were indeed in the groove. So much so that we when we went out to the Keystone Cafe the next morning we dovetailed with a convergence of dear friends and got to sit down to a leisurely meal together. Laughing and catching up. Unexpected and lovely. Then we went to the health food store to pick up food and water and it wasn't even noon. We were so ahead of the game!

Then our van died.

Looking at it in retrospect with the rose-colored glasses (as opposed to the shit ones) I could say we were damn lucky it happened in the tiny parking lot of Sundance rather then out front of our booth deep in the Eight. We were stunned at first, sitting there in Big Red unable to grasp the reality that we were supremely stalled. In a daze I got out, compelled to step over to the bulletin board along the store front. There was a small yellow card pinned up quietly proclaiming the services of a "mobile mechanic". Steve Child, miracle guy, wasn't really working that day but generously rode his bike (mobile, yes) over to check out the scene.

So the short version is, while the girls and I distracted our merciful Eugene friend Nancy from her pre-Fair packing, Steve worked all day in the hot sun pulling the steering column, fishing out an errant bit of sheared off steel and showing Rob how to hot wire the engine. (Rob says the technical diagnosis was "snafu"). So instead of noon, we rolled in to the Eight near 9 o'clock under threat of closing gates and rushed to unload quick as lightning. Our edge utterly lost, we just pitched a tent and tossed some bags under the skeeter net to collapse on into welcome sleep.

Could the lesson be as simple as having a better vehicle next year? Because other than that one freak event, Fair was good. Though the days were sweltering the evenings were pleasant, the morning and dusk lights beautiful, appreciation in the air, small serendipities everywhere. Our camp never looked better, the display the best ever, our sleep was deep, we fancied up and tipped cocktails with our Fair family on Friday night and the hardest part really was fighting tiredness in the face of so much fun to be had.

Sales were down a bit but strong enough despite reports that sales were weak for crafters throughout the fair. Abundance was enjoyed. Eden's dolls sold out, Zoe made the big bucks and bought velvets, India sold enough for a velvet skirt but had a refreshing change hooking up with friends from camp, Rob's magnets were hotcakes and even Zephyr was financing his own ice cream with path side lectures about the solar system that won him the respect of many including a very impressed cosmologist. Jonathan was making the most of his time, laughing a lot and taking pride in Zephyr doing so well. Mom came through many times getting the kids food when they bottomed out (as did Steve and Meredith a few times) and selling in the booth which was perfectly graced with the rug she brought us. When Karen wasn't watching over the girls she got to wander the Eight, see some music and even hear her guy Bruce Lipton speak up at the Front Porch. Despite Rob's paring down on frivolities such as his so called "hippie traps" like the glowing Butterfly and electric Ball of Mystery, Dad came through with his own light toys for nighttime. Gang of revelers. We did good.

I was just, once again, too worn out to fully absorb all there was to take in. I can't seem to help going into partial shut down. Getting there is such a herculean effort but being there also takes stamina. I was in the booth more this year and it requires energy to interact with folks brimming with gratitude, enthusiasm and interest for my work. The down side of being an introvert, I suppose. Quiet moments are the best for me. My highlights: showering in the sun at the Ritz, stumbling on the Crow Quill Night Owls, finding a unicorn horn, watching Zak's light forms change color across the river, playing guitar in the loft, tripping with Rob, following Deva out to the funky dance party in the Craft Lot, our cocktail parade, booth front late night laughing, seeing Ayala, bone buttons and black feathers.

A decent fair all in all but still glad to be home.