i have been to a lot of farmer's markets in my day. why? because quite frankly, where else would i buy my barbie toilet paper holder with the green and yellow variegated gown. well that and i have merchandise to flog. the farmer's market is by all accounts rural alberta's most promising retail hotspot. this past weekend we held our communities' christmas market. the grand finale for the year. the big round up, complete with turkey dinner. it's almost more than one"s soul can bear.
i love going to the farmer's market but i practically come undone in the days preceding it. i worry and i worry about anything and everything. will someone bleed to death from a paper cut after purchasing one of my homemade journals? will someone develop a festering blister from one of my book making tools? will someone be unable to afford food for their children because i sold them something? these questions and more are the whirly, twirly thoughts that spin in my head. the day of market i listen to eminem, loud, on my ipod and drink diet coke for breakfast. this duo being my choice drug when i'm in need of a confidence boost. there's nothing quite like an angry white man and aspartame to make a girl feel like she can fly.
by the time i arrive at the market i'm a rock star. i confess right now that i love people. love, love, love them all. the big ones, the little ones, the babies, i especially love the cranky or peculiar ones. for me, they represent my best opportunity to hear a great story. this week i hit pay dirt right off the bat - a charming old lady, who had on what appeared to be blue lipstick in a wide swath under her eyebrows. not the eye lids mind you, just the brow bones above her little glasses. she also had pink circles drawn on her cheeks. i think perhaps, to invoke that fresh as a daisy look. she was pure lovely, all white haired and she was smiling at me. oh lord i thought , i've found a friend. she was so pleased with herself that i thought it just might be possible to inhale her confidence along with her avon perfume.
to be honest (and why not) farmer's markets are, for the most part, uneventful. during my tenure there have been no armed robberies or assaults. sure there's the constant infighting surrounding table issues. location - location. and in case you're not in the know - the place you want to be is against the wall and near the front and nowhere near the tupperware chick. you absolutely do not want to be in the centre isle because of the back to back tables. i imagine this to be like general population in prison. except old craft ladies are covered in cat hair and they tend to smell a bit past their "best before date". i don't mind spreading myself around but i don't do general population - . well maybe i might, given a lint brush and febreze. every saturday there's always some trash talking by the girls. opera whispering about what dot does to hang on to table 3. at lunch time you buy your egg salad sandwich and you pray to god it does not contain any short curly white hair. just saying... this may all sound boring but i guarantee if you've got a diet coke in your hand - it's a teenie bit like dinner and a show.
i occasionally get into trouble at the market. i usually come flying in just before the cowbell rings and hastily "ta da toss" my things across my table. sometimes there's dirty talk at my table and people laugh too loud and if i'm next to the candle lady she gets all pissy because she wants everything "serene". when the farmer's market director comes over to give me shit i just want to hold her little cheeks in my hands and say "honey its ok. get it out. i need to be reprimanded. i'm only sorry that its probably not going to work. but you go on and give to me just the same.
this week at the market i was positioned across the aisle from an impressive display of normal. tight perm kind of normal - she was so sweet, i could have wept. it was pretty much love at first sight for me. not track lighting, vest wearing kind of love. the other kind. i spent the better part of 3 hours trying not to scare the bejesus out of her. she spent the entire show crocheting a shopping tote from plastic bags. and the look on her face - mother mary could not have looked more serene. hopefully she and i will become confidants by the end of the next summer
when people are cranky and bitchy it in some ways makes me all the more happy. in my head i think "ok missy, we'll just see about you. i'm about to crack your misery like an egg." i always start with normal chitchat - "it's a pretty day!" that sort of thing. then if i can't bring her round. i say "where did you get that sweater!". or "my god, you smell good" if i'm still failing i move to the straight forward approach and ask "are you mad at me?". finally if she's still there and still not coming around i start to wane and just end it by saying "you look so sad, did your man just get out of the pen"
we're all there every week, the farmer's market amateur players - the tupperware lady (whom i'm a bit afraid of), the bubble shirt seller with her impressive spiel on how her bubble shirts will fit sizes 2 through 22. the knife lady with her razor sharp personality. the woman wearing the jaunty hat selling lamb jerky. i know, lamb jerky! honestly eating that would be like poking the baby jesus with a stick. and the man who sells environmentally friendly household cleaner who says to each and every person "i like you. i'm willing to offer you a special deal". these are but a few of the stars in our little troupe.
if you're ever in town and find yourself in want of something..... stop by - we put on one hell of a show.