Anyone that has done an Arts & Crafts show knows that having nice neighbors is a real treat. Some of us have been really lucky and didn’t realize that it was such a big deal, until you don’t.
Jackie and I had signed up to do a local Garlic & Wine Festival. Jackie is a planner, and she had planned that we were to set up the Friday night before the show. I had to work, so she planned that she and her husband Peter would drive my van full of tent and displays out on Friday and set up as much as possible.
On our drive out to the festival I was plotting and Jackie was planning how to attack and get our stuff set up as fast and easily as possible. We realized that parking is always far, far away from the vendor tents. Jackie suggested a plan where I would let her out by the tents and she would carry the left over displays and jewelry to the tent while I parked the van. That way we wouldn't have to drive the van to the tent. It was a great plan! I let her out and parked the van.
I arrived at our tent and there was a strange van parked right in front of it. I had to shimmy between the van and our tent. Once inside the tent I find Jackie red faced and squinty mouthed. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She points at the side of the tent and mouths something. But I’m really bad at reading lips. It’s like she was speaking another language, and the more she tried to over pronounce, the worst it was for me to try to make out anything. “What?”
She pulls me over to the other side of the tent and starts to explain. “When I got here, the lady next door had unloaded all of her (shit) t-shirts onto the side of our tent. Using our tent to keep her tie-dyed t-shirts from lying on the dirt. The weight of the shirts had our tent bowing. I asked her to take her stuff off of our tent because it looked like it was breaking the tent. I also told her to move her van.”
“Wow, that’s crazy. What did she say?” I asked Jackie. Jackie’s face is normally so smiley and happy, but not this time. There was a storm brewing in her eyes. “She told me to “hold on”. She was getting to it. She would have them all hung up in a minute. Can you believe it?” Jackie was so upset.
The t-shirts were all hung up by the time I arrived and the tent looked fine. But I still wanted to get a look at her. You know what I mean? You just want to see what the person looks like that would do something like that. I’ve followed people in traffic just to see what the person looks like that would drive so stupidly. I tried to look casual as I walk out of my tent, looked at absolutely nothing and then spun around, looked over at the woman, and then walked back into my tent.
“Hmmmmmm just as I thought.” She looks like the kind of person who would do something just like this! All normal looking, at first….but if you look deep enough…….yep, she is crazy. That’s what you see. Crazy is lurking just below the surface. I tell Jackie my observations and we continue to compound her offenses until it’s just amazing that they even allowed her to attend this festival at all.
We were all set up and open for business. Traffic was good and so was business. We had a good show and ate lots of stuff with garlic. We made friends with the people on the other side of us. Good peeps. We emailed with them for at least a year after that show. They taught us about bringing dust mops to a dusty show. What a great idea. I’d have to tell Jackie to put it on the plan.
The show was coming to an end, which means that it’s time for us to plan our escape. For those of you who haven’t done a show, when the show ends, everyone becomes frantic and tries to pack up and leave as quickly as possible. The problem with this event was that there was only one road that led in and out of the row we were on. We had to get to our van before our neighbor so that we wouldn’t be stuck behind her van. Our neighbor must have been thinking about it also. Thinking that if we parked in front of our own tent, when she was ready to leave, we would be blocking her exit and she would have to wait while we packed up our stuff.
Jackie says, “Okay, you go out to the van about 10 minutes before the end of the show. This will make you first person at the gate.” “Okay”, I agreed. Great plan!
About ten minutes before 5pm I get my van keys and start walking slowly in the direction of the parking lot. Our neighbor sees me. She grabs her own keys and starts power walking in my direction. She quickly is next to me. Crap! I start walking faster. She speeds up too. I move up to a slow jog. She is not taking this anymore. She is running. I stop because I realize that we are running toward an orange construction fence and I don’t see an opening. She is still running. She flies towards the fence, grabs the fence post with one hand and hurdles her way over the construction fence and is gone. I’ve fallen to my knees from laughing. Holy cow! I look back at Jackie and she is crying from laughter.
“Oh well,” I think. “She has earned first place in line.” I walk to my van and get in and drive to the fence. Guess what? I’m first in line. No one else is there. I look around and there our neighbor is coming up slowing from a back parking lot. She ends up behind me in line. Jackie’s planning paid off again. Because I was parked in the front of the parking lot for vendors, I was closest to the gate. When the gate is opened, I drive and park in front of my tent, and our neighbor ends up in front of her own tent. In my mind, it is as it should be.
We are packing up and our neighbor is already packed and super upset because we are blocking her exit. “Don’t worry,” says Jackie using our neighbor’s own words against her, “Hold on. We are getting to it. We will have everything all packed up in a minute.” Yea.....one slow long minute.