Monday, May 3, 2010

The Handmade Arcade

This was my wife’s third craft fair. It’s the biggest one in Pittsburgh, and it happens once annually, always in November. Just like the last one, it started early on a Saturday, and I didn’t want to miss my morning workout. So she went early, and I followed up as soon thereafter as I could. I took my time. I had to pick something up at the mall, of all places. The giant protein bucket that I use for my post-workout shakes had run out. I needed a new one. The mall is one of my least favorite places on Earth to go. So while I was there, I decided to really embrace the experience, and also grab lunch. I got a giant plate of Chinese food and pounded it down. I bought my protein bucket and stopped at the coffee place. I got the biggest cup of straight black coffee they were legally allowed to serve me without signing a waiver. Then I hit the cigar shop. My wife hates it when I smoke cigars. It’s something that I do maybe two or three times a year. It’s not frequent. She’s convinced that I’m going to get some sort of cancer from it, even though I do it so infrequently. Without her in tow, there would be no objections. I don’t really know much about cigars. All I know is that I’ve never had a bad Montecristo. The best one I ever had was in the Bahamas. They get them from Cuba. In the States, we have to get the South American varieties, which aren’t quite as good but still aren’t bad. I got a Corona Serie-C and drove off into a beautifully cold, gray November afternoon with my giant coffee, sweet tasting cigar, Queens of the Stone Age on the stereo, and the window halfway down. It was gorgeous. I was completely satisfied and singular. The only thing that could have improved the experience would have been a beautiful naked woman in the passenger seat beside me. It was great until I hit all the traffic on the parkway. Even then, the experience wasn’t ruined. I weaseled through the congestion, using every tricky little side street to get through Oakland and East Liberty, and still got mired in traffic. By the time I had arrived at my wife’s booth, both the cigar and the giant coffee had been exhausted. I took over for her for about an hour while she hit the ladies room, grabbed some food, and walked around. She returned in good spirits. I had brought Factotum with me to read in any downtime that might come up, so I sat down to read and let her work the table some more. She looks much better and more inviting than I do, and thus sells better. If a big crowd came over, I’d get up to help. Otherwise, I sat in relative silence trying to be inconspicuous. Most of the clothes that my wife makes are geared towards women, specifically younger ones. Her stuff seems to appeal mostly to high school and college aged girls. So the scenery from behind the table was generally pretty nice. At one point, two girls who looked like they were probably of legal age approached the table, looking at the shirts and corsets. The girls were both quite fit and developed, and liked a few of the shirts, but weren’t sure if they’d fit. They were wearing tank tops, with their coats stuffed into the bags they were carrying. They asked my wife if she would mind if they just tried them on over their shirts at the table. She said, “Sure.” I pretended to continue reading while looking up over the top of my book. It was a cheap show, but a good one. They wriggled into the tight-fitting shirts, and even though there was a lot of cloth involved, their forms were clearly defined. I had my Nikon with me. I leaned over to my wife, who quietly chuckled at my approach in expectation of what she knew I was about to ask, if it would be okay if I got my camera out and started taking pictures. She smiled and said, “I’ll kill you.”

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