Thursday, 1 January 2015

The lunacy of X-mas fair living

(Taking cue from Drej, who wrote this last year but has been on the verge of a group suicide for the past few days before the end and is now hopefully thawing in some bathtub or warm embrace of her beasties.)

The fucking fair is over. Lemme say this in a way that it will strike the right note: THE MOTHERFUCKING GORRAM FRIGGIN FAIR IS OVEEEEER!!!! Fuck me sideways with a popsicle, but this was a grueling experience. It was bad last year, when days of nothing sold pushed me into mini breakdowns, because I didn’t know how this will end or if it will be worth it and I was mostly alone in the beginning, but this year it was a horror towards the end. Towards the end it got so cold our gadgets stopped working, the water in my watercolor jar froze beyond thawing, I got so sick that I actually pulled a no-show one day and it will be a little while before I am normal again. Well, normal by my own standards. I cannot have sex, because my head is so tense the very blinking is causing me to suffer. Every night I had to REST for a little bit, before I could fall asleep. My muscles have atrophied, but are constantly tense and when I walk uphill today, for lunch at the parents’ place, I have no idea what will happen. I may just find a soft spot in the start of the forest ascend and take a nap from being too worn out.

But okay. The money was okay this year, I think even a little bit nicer than last year, and the company was great, Drej and her mum being a constant moral support, people bringing me coffee and food and flirting was cute, although I no longer have any desire to make out in the little hut, as I did last year and General talked me out of it. He was right. That would have been unpleasant.

You get to notice, after a while, sitting there, who is a fair-y and who’s a passer-by. Fair-ies walk like we belong and will never ask retarded questions in the line on: are you cold? … to another fair-y. We don’t mind stiff blue hands or cry from having impossible pain in our freezing feet. We wait for the pain to pass into numbness. The customers, though, as kind or polite as they try to be, mostly they’re just annoyingly inconsiderate. How is it going – is it worth sitting here? Have you sold much since you started? Were you expecting more? It’s hard, having to sit here to make a living, eh? Are you cold? …

I’ve made a list of awful experiences, regarding the fair, in line of succession.

1.       The first few chords of “White snowflake”, our ONLY soundtrack's first song, announcing another roll of music we have a) heard fifteen fucking thousand times already and b) were idiotic to begin with. These have ruined our appreciation of season songs for ever, and I mean ever, and for some reason they included Toto’s Africa and Timberlake’s Sexy back …
2.       Hardcore subzero temperatures and having just no way to warm yourself. During 11 hour shifts that serve no other purpose than us being a living decor of the city centre.
3.       When someone stares at your ware (I sold paintings and Christmas cards) and after several minutes barks: have you no Christmas motifs?
4.       A child passing with a helium balloon, knocking down your display. (Once you’ve settled neatly under blankets and over a makeshift heating arrangement of tea candles and pottery, getting out again to fix it is just fucking bothersome.)
5.       Someone saying: Oh, yes, you have such lovely things, it’s just a shame no-one buys these things anymore.
6.       We’ll make a round and be right back.
7.       Oh, I don’t really write cards, I just send texts.
8.       Yes, I should write the cards this year … (a few minutes of looking at them later) Oh, I’ve already bought cheap ones at the post office, I just have to write them down….
9.       How come you don’t have any Christmas motifs?
10.   Got stamps? (just stamps.)
11.   Got hot vine?
12.   Got hats and gloves?
13.   Oh, are you selling knitting items? (When they see me knit.)
14.   People spitting in front of the stand. Friggin’ gross.
15.   Bum drunks and gypsies begging from you and the really irritating bit is they come, looking quite a bit better dressed and better heated than you. Get the fuck away from me, you inconsiderate assholes! Do I LOOK like I have money filling my pockets??
16.   When the radio has a talk show about how the fair this year doesn’t really have any Christmas products.
17.   When the fair media publicizes what great hot vine and vegetables you can find at the market.
18.   People saying: just trash, just cheap trash… Or: are you crazy, charging one euro for your cards??
19.   A special place is reserved for the woman who looked at my paintings and said: yes, my little girl paints just like you, she’s four now and she’s really good.
20.   No restrooms.
21.   ‘Are you here tomorrow?’
22.   The magical creatures from the ‘Magical land’ are never the same girls twice in a row: the Magical Land is like the Foreign Legion – you never return to it twice and you are never quite the same once you’ve served in it.
23.   The names people call their children. Seriously. There better be a really good story behind naming someone a Khaleesi.Will her first cake be in a shape of a horse's heart?
24.   Slow and sure deterioration of your motoric, mental and will-to-live abilities. You start talking in odd, incoherent, half-finished sentences, but the really spooky part is that the other fair-ies know exactly what you’re saying.
25.   People, looking at you, looking up at the sign saying where you’re from (never looking at the product) and quickly moving on.
26.   Being so tired that my sexy short stories, which I usually write when I want the time to pass faster, start to be mostly like this: Him: Hey, baby, you look so yummy, I’m thinking of taking you to bed… Her: YES, PLEASE!
27.   The organizers. Good Gods, I would understand if they ran a diamond quarry somewhere in South Africa, but having just this to run and doing this kind of a job?? And then showing up once to ask how we’re selling and if we’re cold? HIRE A FUCKING DJ WHO ISN’T SPECIAL NEEDS OR DEAF!!!
28.   And the winners, who get the cake: people who come to photograph the articles, saying they’re just here to pick up some ideas…
29. Do you have any Christmas motifs or just these weird ones?

But, there’s a list of things why all this shit is totally worth it.

1.       Every coffee, tea or biscuit someone brings you to help you get through the day. Granted, you are by the end so full of caffeine and sugar you are sick, but it really is the thought that counts, because if people didn’t do that, this would not be bearable to a human. Spartans were fucking pussies.
2.       Couple of faces that come by periodically and stop and chat and you just light up like a tree every time they come, because they stop to cheer you up.
3.       Friends who, even though they have little money or their kids make their own cards, still buy something from you, to show their support.
4.       Every time the General brings me hot food or hot-water cushion, or just comes by.
5.       Every sex that included a workout, stretching or a massage, until the point when I was no longer able to have it. But until that point, that really was a lot of massage sex which really helped.
6.      Concerts and happenings close to our stands that were cute and fun and included, possibly, free food. (Romani and Serbian stands were a-we-so-me-ness!!)
7.       Also a lot of other fair food, like jota and ričet. Hot, cheap and really yummy. And vegan, so you didn’t have to worry about poorly processed meat with little icky bits in it, as it sometimes happens in meat food.
8.       Trade amidst the stands :D
9.       Drej, snatching most of my miniature drawings before they are even properly finished and having them displayed on her work desk at her stand.
10.   Mum and dad showing up, or their old colleagues, asking me, quite drunk, if I think it’s a good idea they should go visit. Oh, yes. I think it would :D
11.   Meeting new people.
12.   Strangers, stopping, mesmerized by my style and talking to me about it for an hour.
13.   Strangers stopping and talking about painting or photography in general.
14.   The sound of Mark X.
15.   Still earning a little bit of money and being able to buy something lovely to show the General he is simply magic to me.
16.   Sound of carriages.
17.   Smells of popcorn and cotton candy and snow and spicy hot vine …
18.   People asking me to write something nice in the cards they bought.
19.   People asking me about my books.
20.   Daydreaming of the things you will do when the fair is over – knowing that should you lose it completely and drag a chair in place of where the stand used to be, wrapped in a blanket, your friends will come rescue you and we’ll all live happily ever after in an insane asylum
21.   Random people passing by, seeing my work, stopping, passing on just a little, backtracking, coming closer and saying: wau. Do you do this? Where are you from?? … as if how haven’t they notice me before. Well, I’m shy.
22.   Conversations like this amidst friends: A: I would hit you very hard in the face. B: Why would you hit me in the face? A: Probably, because I am not allowed to kiss you. B: Why wouldn’t you be allowed to kiss me? … which are impossibly wrong to have and would probably get me killed if General was in a bad mood when he found them out, and yet make you really, really warm for a few hours, probably BECAUSE they are completely innocent.
23.   Footage of fair-ies dancing in the street :D Go, Drej! Go, Drej!
24.   Tupperware meals.
25.    Snow.
26.   Sleeping 16 hours a day. Not really, but still many hours a day.
27.   Being able to watch terrible horror movies, never flinching, totally immune to any other horrors but that of your bad decision making skills, regarding how you wanna spend December.
28.   Being able to buy some totally useless things, because they’re super cute. Like multicolored fish-shaped page markers :D
29.   Being able to explain to people that what you do here is for fun and for the fair, that you are in no way, shape or form an artist and never have exhibitions. You just like to draw. 
30. Walking around dressed in everything you've got and a basket full of hot-water bottles and people know exactly why you look like that.