Well, look at me! I came home from Hot Times with two out of three trophies, for the Longest Drive and the People's Choice. That last one is gratifying. Of course, I wasn't competing with the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir, was I?
This was my kind of competition: I didn't even know there was one. Some guy said, "I love you car! I even voted for you!" Voted? Then I was given a sign to put on my car, and I directed admirers to the voting booth. The trophy at the bottom is the Longest Drive prize. In case you can't see, it's covered with ducks and fish and bugs, including a huge palmetto bug. Pah! I'm from Florida. That bug is like snow to a Buffalonian.
I spent about five times more than I sold, so I'd say it was a typical show for me.
For some seriously interesting tee shirts, go check out http://www.choonimals.com/. Those guys were next to me and I enjoyed their company and their shirts. If you buy one now, in about a year, you'll be able to be very smug and elite as you gaze down at your little friends, telling them you've had your Choonimal for quite some time now ...
A couple years ago, I came out of Office Depot to find a note on my car. A woman named Candy said there's an art car show in Ohio, and I should go. She left her number. Well, I had my beloved '87 Cressida then, but I was hesitant to drive it to Tampa, let alone Columbus. Still, I kept her number. At the beginning of this year, I actually met Candy here in Florida, where she again told me about Hot Times. And behold. There I went. It turns out that she's very active in community events there and many, many people thought I was Candy. We are women of a certain age, with long greying hair and dark frames on our glasses. Thank god she's well loved! People came up to me, smiling, wanting hugs. I really think I should have received a third trophy in the Candy Look-Alike event.
There was a great parade. It started off with flag-bearers. I think they called themselves twirlers. They were like color guards. These were adults with long poles and flags. One woman said she's had two concussions from twirling. Oh no. Give me an art car.
The art cars followed a truck full of women drummers, who kept things lively. I was fourth in line behind a couple of wild men who were behind a woman in a bamboo car. The police had cleared the streets, so we could and did snake back and forth across lanes. The parade stalled once, so the two men started circling the first car. I wish I'd had the courage to join in. Next time I will. There was a time, not so very long ago, when even driving on the grass here at my rented duplex would have seemed out of bounds. Imagine the joy, then, of driving big loops on the left side of the street. Oh yeah.
I had a lot of intense conversations with people at the show, mostly about art. I bought a shirt from a man who paints black shirts by squeezing bleach onto them out of bottles "like the kind you color your hair with." Yeah. Candy and I don't know what he's talking about. But I love his style.
There was a woman who had shown her stuff to one friend only, and then to me. That alone constituted an honor. On Sunday night, she showed up with a shopping bag full of samples. Using the pull-off foil lids from applesauce, she drew symbols on them with ballpoint, but the ink didn't show, of course, since it's foil. The lids ended up looking embossed. And the designs looked like they were from some African country that hadn't been discovered yet. She painted primitive scenes on soup cans and she found stories in the designs resulting from stamping paper with cardboard she'd cut slits into. She gave me a small painting, just a cluster of dull blue strokes on white. She painted it on a cereal box she washed -- because she likes the texture of washed cardboard. As soon as I saw it, I said, "Burning bush."
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I'm having trouble shaking off the trip. I unpacked the car two days after my return, but I still haven't put things away. It was a good trip, and absolutely gorgeous with a late-summer northern beauty, but I feel exhausted. Or maybe I'm just sad to be home again, even though I'm really glad to be home again (!). I said a lot of goodbyes, it seems. Well, and I said some hellos, too.
Oh, shut me up!