Saturday, October 25, 2008

A win for simply failing to self-destruct.

I think this is a remarkably fitting photo.

At approximately 10:30pm last night, in the midst of gearing up for what we knew would likely be an all-nighter, I made a devastating discovery. Despite the fact that the local newspaper sent us a confirmation with all the correct info, and had charged us for the carefully constructed and strategically planned ad that was the backbone of our plans, they did not run it. In this town there is a veritable subculture of professional yardsailors, who scour the ads every week and fight it out early in order to snap up the best bargains, which are then turned around at the giant flealand complex out by the highway. We had been counting on this good exposure, and had based a lot of our pricing and how we ran the sale around the idea of it being heavily advertised. And here we sat, too far in to turn back, staring down this all nighter which suddenly felt pointless. But the signs were posted at the ends of the streets, and the ad had been blasted in the wku listerv and [the still-in-popular-infancy] craigslist...we had no choice but to press on, knowing that we were, officially, screwed.
As I went to bed at 6:10am, knowing that I had only exactly enough time to get everything done, I felt unrelenting relief sinking into the bed, and a quiet devastation at both the strict 7:40 wake up time, and the fact that this day we had been working towards for months and the exhaustion I was about to face were suddenly meaningless.
Waking up...well, at least i slept for a full 90 minute cycle and woke up, which ultimately really helped, but that first 10 or 15 minutes was one of the worst waking up experiences I've had...it was like suddenly the last 15 and a half months had finally caught up with me, and my "mom-ness" and not being a college kid anymore were landing square on my head. and it was made of concrete. and iron. on my chest. with sand all over getting in my eyes and mouth.
Amazingly, though, I handled the sleeplessness surprisingly well, and for most of the day I didn't even really notice or think about it. And though I had to live through the devastation again in the morning when our start time came and went with nary a customer, [the pros usually show up early in hopes of beating each other out] and I had to break the news to the rest of the family, but I found a project to occupy myself with that ended up helping me feel better and also somewhat salvaging the day and our work.
I used to be a company member at Theater in the Open, a great little outfit in residence at the Maudslay state park in Newburyport, MA. All but their winter show is done outdoors in the park, and they often include a lot of Bread and Puppet -esque pageantry. I learned a lot from them, and my heart is still very much with them, (and in fact it was there that I began my study of Jerzy Grotowski's work, which I would continue and expand during my time at ETW). Anyway, the point being that I default to that sort of grittily-magical aesthetic, and as such, I happened to have a giant puppet hanging around, a relic from a truly terrible piece of theater I created during my second year at ETW. So, I figured, might as well give her a breath of the freedom and fresh air I expect such puppets to be meant for.
I found some scrap wood and made her a frame...due to time constraints, it was pretty shoddy, just a basic tripod that kind of made it look like she was walking..and falling over backwards. It felt really, really good to be working with my hands like that, out in the slightly crisp air.  And it ended up being pretty effective, to boot.  Within minutes, we had three cars stop. After a while, we hit a dry spell, and there were no customers. I went around to the front of the house, and she had fallen over! So, I picked her up, and BOOM, another rush of customers! And then a dry spell. Sure enough, she was down. And again, and again...The problem was that the wind was pretty blustery, and was going at just the right angle to catch her and lift her away. James and I tried several increasingly involved methods of securing her in place, ultimately digging holes in the ground for the legs of the tripod, then using big rocks from the dry riverbed to bolster them, and ultimately tying the frame down with some pretty big, ominous-looking stakes.

Anyway, my exhaustion is making me wander and lose track of what I'm trying to write...

The sale went surprisingly well for a sale at the end of october, not near any paydays, in the driveway behind the house...And really, we all ended up having a lot of fun. Cadence LOVED it...and what's not to love? Everyone in the family was hanging out,  OUTSIDE [her favorite place] all day, the puppy and kitty were going in and out, there were lots of interesting things to play with and explore, there were new people to meet, and there was music! Dad has decided to sell off a lot of the instruments he's accumulated through the years, and having them all out and displayed lead to a lot of really fun jam sessions. (I rediscovered my love for the hammer dulcimer which I really hope no one buys.)  And razor scooters zooming around, and the trampoline, and cookies and tea...


It was actually a really fun day. Not necessarily the most lucrative, but definitely a good day for everyone. We figure, since we have already done all the work now, we might as well try again next week. On monday we'll begin an advertising campaign, and come saturday, we'll be able to just pull our still-organized shelves out again, and hopefully our work will pay off in the end.  So, for a day that could easily have just totally imploded and left us cold, angry, arguing and customerless, I'd say it was a rioting success.