duck-shaped pain


Where I Think About The Corn Parade

So I'm sitting here telling myself that if I a) finish the tutorial for stupid Front Page and b) make the graphs for my other employer I have to make before Monday and c) clean the house tonight, I can go to the Carbondale Mountain Fair tomorrow. And guess what? It's not working.

Even if I do get all my work done, I don't know if I'll go. It's about an hour and a half drive away, and I'd have to buy gas and get up early. I was thinking of going because I'd like to get out of town for the day and go somewhere that has nothing to do with work. Since the fair was this weekend, and I've never been to it before, it seems ideal. I'd rather go to Carbondale [1] for their annual Potato Day celebration, but that's not until October.

Now is the time of year when western Colorado breaks out in festivals. Name a crop, it's got a festval or commemorative event. Next weekend is the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival, which I'll probably go to, since I'll probably be in the area that day. The Palisade Peach Festival is August 17-20, and might be worth going to because there are actually peaches to celebrate with this year. A few weeks after that is the Colorado Wine Festival, which is more fun than the previous two because it involves more drinking and better food.

I am of course a big sucker for this type of stuff. I'm really not sure why I like to go to these sorts of festivals -- I mean, I'm fairly resistant to similar events, such as Renaissance Faires [2], truck pulls and the ubiquitous "Taste of " food festivals.

But tell me about something that involves a Corn Parade or Potato Craft Marathon, and I'm there, even though I know that the former will involve hundreds of little kids, all dressed up as corn, waving from the beds of trucks, and don't want to know what the latter is about.

I'm a big sucker for weird yet banal small-town events, even though I don't go to the ones in my own town, because they don't register high enough in either category. [3]

I run into people from my past a lot around here. I have either the incredible or terrible luck to be able to make myself anonymous, so most of these encounters are brief and not worth mentioning.

I saw my eighth grade math teacher this morning, when I went to her yard sale. She didn't notice me, which isn't surprising, since I wasn't the biggest presence in my eighth grade math class. I checked out mentally sometime in the first few weeks, never to return. All I remember about eighth grade math class is that the teacher let us listen to walkmans in class, which must have been a last-ditch attempt on her part of keep us coming to class.

But at the same yard sale were both my seventh grade PE teacher (who did recognize me) and my freshman year English professor from college, who was leaving when I arrived. Quite the convergence.

I always notice that the people who recognize me and go out of their way to say hello to me are the people I'd least expect to. Like a guy I was in high school choir with for only a few months. I ran into him last week at the organic grocery with his kids. I barely remembered who he was, but he knew all sort of things about me. Or one of my many high school drama teachers. I ran into her at the bookstore a few weeks back. She asked me how I was doing, and was very cordial, which surprised me, since the thing I remember most about her from school is that she hated me. She once tried to keep me after school once because I put an empty plastic bottle on my head. "Things don't go on heads!" she yelled at me from across the auditorium.

The thing that's the worst about living here is that everyone knows you for what you were like ten years ago. There's very little interest in who you are now, and it's hard to dispell the sorts of ideas people have about you. It's like you'll always be in high school, no matter how much time has passed since you left it. It's really horrible, and it's enough to make the urge to leave even stronger. All I need is some more money.

[1] Town flower: the dandelion. And they have a festival to go with it, which just confirms my belief that Carbondale is a town of loons. Then again, I wish we had an official municipal flower.

[2] "Renaissance Faire" has my vote for the most frightening phrase in the English language.

[3] Take Dinosaur Days, my town's big summer festival. I have never been to a Dinosaur Days event, even though I've lived here, off and on, for about 20 years. It's always been a slight bit embarassing to me -- I always think it makes us sound like yahoos, and if there's one thing we need less of around here, it's yahoos.

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