Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Flea Bitten

A and I went whitewater rafting this weekend. Low water levels on the Shenandoah made it a fun but mostly unremarkable event except for "Allie," about whom I'll say more later.

We got there early, so we decided to hit a flea market we saw going in. Flea markets are junk swaps that take your traditional expert junkemn, e.g., Fred Sanford, out of the mix and permit a bunk of amateur junkologists the opportunity to practice the art. They believe one man's junk is another man's treasure. Sometimes, maybe, but mostly it is just junk.

One guy seduced with the pitch, "Everything is super cheap." It was verbal musk for the frugal. We approached. "All jewelry is 50 cents. Except for those rings." Given the "high quality" of the rings they must have been at least a dollar each.

He was clearly selling some woman's prized possessions. Next to his stand was a boy who looked about six. He stared blankly at the ground, pounding it with a plastic mallet. Over and over again. "Real cheap," the man said again, "50 cents, no more." This had "my wife was fucking my best friend" written all over it.

We walked off and surveyed more stand.

"I want to go," I said after about fifteen minutes.

"Why? This is Americana."

"I want to leave Americana."

"No, there is so much here. So many cool things we could use to decorate the place. Like this." She was admiring a giant pez dispenser shaped like Homer Simpson's head. This admiration for kitsch was both shocking and troubling. "What is it, do you think people are looking at us weird?"

"No, I don't give a shit about that. I am talking about things like THAT."

I was pointing to a stand a few feet up. It was manned by a guy with a dyed mullet, tied back delicately in a pony tail. The hair was either brown and dyed black. Or black and dyed brown. Either way, it was a shitty dye job. Dye guy was also gun guy. He was in the process of laying out a remarkably diverse assortment of assault rifles for sale.

"Wow," A said.

"Now do you want to leave?"

Apparently not. She'd wandered into an indoor stall. Outside the entrance was an assortment of confederate flags. I assume she hadn't seen them, because otherwise I apparently had a front row seat to her losing her mind. The fact that the stall contained bongs and weird license plates only added to the mystery of why she went in.

Dye guy got out from behind the stand, and I saw he had on a hip holster containing a large calibre revolver. Nothing says "I have a small penis" more than a guy who has an obsession with guns. I am pretty sure if you measured the average penis size of guys at a gun show, it would be 1-2 inches shorter than the normal average.

A had emerged from the stand. "Do you see the gun on his hip?" I asked her. For some reason she missed it every time. I think she believed that maybe, deep down, I was making it up. Because the notion of a guy selling assault rifles being strapped is such a stretch.

We eventually left and made our way to the whitewater rafting adventure, where A and I were teamed with Jim, Allie and Eleanor, a father and his two kids. Allie was a fat, obnoxious nerd who deserved to be beat down every day of his life. I am not some sort of judgmental asshole who thinks these things all the time. That is just what Allie brought me to after spending four hours in a boat with him.

Allie's crimes included:

  • not rowing notwithstanding the fact thate he was the heaviest person on the boat
  • complaining about the rapids despite the fact that he refused to row
  • insulting and embarrasing his father incessantly (e.g., "my dad says there are no fish in this river. Just hillbilly spit. What? I can't help that you are a bigot.") The best moment of the trip came when his father said, "Listen lardass, be quiet or I'll throw you overboard. The only thing stopping me from doing that is that we'll have to fish your fat ass out of the river." It was completely appropriate.

Allie made re-think my stated desire to have nerdy kids. I have frequently said to A that I want my kids to be studious and not "cool." Especially my daughter, because that'll impede her from screwing. But, for every cool nerd, there are probably three nerds like Allie.