Monday, May 22, 2006

The morning after

I'm reluctant to post this morning, because I'm so completely exhausted that I can't possibly be cheerful, upbeat and optimistic.

The U Dist festival is so huge and crowded, it's truly an overwhelming assault on one's senses. The smells -- incense and cigarette smoke swirling from the street gang bunch hanging out behind the booth, burnt sugar caramel corn, fish sauce and mountains of greasy fried onion rings compete from the huddle of food tents at the corner, and endless streams of people from the hugely unwashed to the swimming in cologne. The sounds -- a million conversations going on around you and at you, all at once. Plus the twanging bluegrass band with full speakers set up at the bar not 5 feet behind the tent, and the screaming and hawking of buskers who take up space in the open spot under the tree right next to you. The early morning constitutional of homeless and mentally over-the-edge folks who walk back and forth, back and forth, bellowing gibberish or howling offkey to imagined songs in their heads. It's all ear-ringingly loud and difficult to conduct business and maintain focus. The sights -- so many faces that it becomes one big blur, their colorful dresses and eye-catching shirt prints are almost too much to take in. And the physical exhaustion -- from standing on the hard pavement for 12 hours, on a slight angle, with aches, pains and feet that swell to honeydew melon size when you finally sit down.

Not all shows are quite this large or taxing. But this is an outdoor street fair of the largest magnitude, and the weather was perfect for drawing out huge parades of local folks. So when the last item is tucked in the car -- usually my stupid chair which almost always flings a leg into my head on the way in -- settling into the seat for the drive home is when the adrenalin finally slows down. And by the time you reach the front door, it takes every last ounce of energy you have to turn the key in the door, shuffle to the bathroom and fall over.

I can almost stand up on my feet this morning. My ears have stopped ringing, but I'm still desperate for silence and as little stimulation as possible. And it's raining. The all day rain that my plants will love, but make me anxious for a break so I can unload the heaping pile of filthy tablecloths, dripping tent and dusty goods from my car. I've got loads of paperwork, a little pile of orders (again!), catching up and soap to make. It's going to be a full day. As long as I can do a bunch of it sitting down, in a dimly lit place, with no sound, I might be alright.

It's not as fun and glamorous as it looks, sorry to report . . . .