Thursday, October 19, 2006

Last Sunday Market Day in Astoria

Okay, I am finally back at the keyboard. The Sunday Market season did me in for several months, and took up all of my time and energy. Now that it's been over for two weeks, I think I may recover after all. A few more Sundays in my coma-chair should do the trick ... it sucks me in and knocks me out before I know what hits me. Everyone should have a good coma-chair to drop into and escape the daily wear-and-tear crap.

Anyway, it was a dismal market season. At least from my point of view. Last year we had lots and lots of tourists due to the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial and the wonderful Explorer Train coming in every weekend. This year we had around 200 vendors and a few stragglers wandering about every weekend. As usual, the food and produce vendors did beautifully (hell, people gotta eat!). In other words, there were way, way too many vendors for the size of the crowds we were getting.

The last day of the market was particularly grim. I'm not even sure why I did it. But I did, fool that I am. And of course, it was pouring. My dear pal Margot was visiting from Kansas, and she thought it was her duty to drown with me that day. She perched gingerly on her chair in the tent, leaning on her cane, ready to flee, but not willing to get soaked in the process.

Nobody but a few desultory dogs with their even more desultory owners were out and about. And they sure as hell weren't buying. I mean, nobody in their right mind would have been out in that crap, anyway, much less flitting from tent to tent in a buying frenzy.

Around 2 p.m. I had the bright idea that I should try to get the water off the tent-top. I did. Right on me. Think it must have been about 2 gallons - a direct hit on the top of my head. By then I was so stupified by how awful the day was going that the dousing actually felt good. Dementia must have been setting in.

At 3 p.m. I was so relieved to have the damn day over I could have wept. I could have wept even harder for having to pay a $25 vendor fee to sit there in that shit all day. I think Margot was about ready to start whacking people with her cane by then, me included, so I put her in the front of the car while I loaded up the back of the car and took the tent down.

And then it happened. The tent top got caught in the tent-frame. Not just caught, WEDGED. I could not put the tent back up, or take it down. It would not move. So I stood there in the pouring rain, growing gills, shaking the tent and swearing. I didn't have the height or the leverage to get the tent loose. A few people tried to help, but to no avail. Finally, Michael, who sells the wonderful bonsai trees and oyster-ornaments, came to my rescue, and was successful. Thank you, Michael!

So there I was with about 50 pounds of soaked tent to stuff in an equally soaked bag. We won't even go into how pruned-up I was by then. Nothing like ending the season with a wet tent. I wonder if it's some sort of mildew omen or something.

Anyway, I did get the tent home, and draped all over the basement to dry. The only thing that made the day liveable was an extended visit to the Triangle Tavern, then follow-up therapy at the bar at the Golden Star and a double Manhattan for the less soggy, but equally disgruntled Margot. Don't ask me why a Chinese restaurant has a yummy, but cheap, cheeseburger, but it's a fact. And it works as a great bribe for disgruntled friends, too.

There's much more to blather about, but I had to get that last day of Sunday Market off my chest first. I'm in no rush for it to be market season again any time soon.

Astoria Photografpix


Elaine of Vancouver Wa said...

Is that the chinese place down aways from Safeway? I think it's west on the left of the main street into town? If it is, it's such a dive but it's got great food!
We stay at the Hotel Elliot in the summer so we can go right outside and shop your wonderful market. It's funny because yesterday I found a necklace I bought there a couple years ago. It was one with the cut out nickle pendant. Maybe we'llm run into each other someday go I can view your pictures up close.

Elleda said...

Nope, you've got the wrong joint. Golden Star is on the west side of town, at the corner of 6th Street and Bond Street, a block up from Marine Drive on 6th.

The restaurant is pretty blah looking, but the bar is very nice, and cozy.

Hope to see you at the market next summer. I'm usually in the old Safeway parking lot (visible from the Hotel Elliott south side).