four hours on my feet
Saturday, February 2 2013
This afternoon, KMOCA, our favorite Kingston art gallery, would be holding a benefit art sale. As always, Gretchen had volunteered to provide the bulk of the food that was to be on offer. This would include two different kinds of vegan quiches, a red pepper dip, and what looked to be a couple hundred cupcakes. We left a little after 2:00pm and arrived at the gallery in the midst of a wild frenzy of activity. In the front, artists (there were somewhere between a dozen and twenty; I was not one of them) were overseeing the hanging of their works, while in the back packing material was piling up. The back was where we set up the tables for the food and beverages. I didn't have anything else to do, so I helped with the arranging of food, cutting of some bread Deborah had baked, and the uncorking of wine. Well before any of this was done, there was a surge of eager art buyers, all of them drawn by the incredible low prices. Everything for sale cost either $25 or $50. Gretchen was quickly recruited to handle all the purchases being made with cash or check. Michæl and Deborah fielded purchases made by credit card using an Android tablet outfitted with a card reader (a technology I'd only first seen a year or two ago).
Once the food had been set up, most of the activity was out in the front room where the art was. The crowd there was so dense that I had no desire to be there, so I stayed in the relatively-uncrowded back and drank wine. There I talked to a series of people who were also into the wine-rich/people-poor nature of the environment. The people I spent the most time with were Doug and Jenny from the Farm Animal Sanctuary when they unexpectedly came by. Our conversation lingered for a long time on the subject of a three-legged dog they recently adopted from the South. He turns out to be something of a coprophagist, with a keen interest in dining on his own feces. That's its own kind of nasty (and, as you may recall, Ramona went through a phase of this), but occasionally it gets worse: the dog sometimes vomits up his own shit. The only comparable horror in our house comes when the dogs vomit in the house after picking flavor packets out of the cat litter. (While dogs and cats generally know enough to shit and piss in prescribed areas, they feel at liberty to throw up wherever they happen to be when the nausea strikes them.) Doug and I also joked about how we now use Google to solve every problem that comes along, claiming that such queries as "What the fuck am I supposed to do about the thing that just broke?" had turned up useful information.
The show went on for hours, featuring several waves of art-buyers. And the art was definitely selling. I saw the fat wad of 20s and checks Deborah was accumulating, and there were large empty swaths on the wall (though some artists were decidedly more popular than others). Towards the end there I became aware that I'd been standing for four hours straight and all I wanted to do was sit down. There was maybe three-feet worth of bench in front of the window, and I took advantage of it even though it required me to block a view of some of the art (in this case a shoe-sized wheeled high chair sculpted from a four by four block of pressure-treated lumber).
Eventually Gretchen got a chance to get away, so she, Nancy, and I went a couple doors down the street to the Armadillo, a southwestern-style restaurant we usually avoid these days in favor of the more directly Mexican Mole-Mole. Still, Armadillo gets a lot of business from KMOCA events, and so the woman who owns the place had provided a token of her support to the KMOCA benefit: a huge tray of chips, a large container of chipotle salsa, and a tray of burrito wraps that weren't vegan. The three of us sat at the Armadillo bar and drank a couple drinks and ate yet more chips and salsa. Nancy didn't actually drink anything because she is still gun shy since Ray got pulled over for a DUI back in August. Happily, though, he recently managed to plea his charge down to mere reckless driving. (I just happened to think: reckless driving often leads to wreckful driving.) Ray had had to pull some money out of his retirement fund in order to pay the lawyer who managed to get the charge reduced. There was still money left unspent from all that had been pulled out, so now Nancy was wondering if perhaps they should buy a new boiler. I suggested that she buy a replacement online and have me do the installation (since I could work for much cheaper than any licensed HVAC contractor).
Before heading home, Gretchen and I stopped in one last time at KMOCA to retrieve our dishes and baskets. We didn't know it at the time, but the benefit had managed to raise nearly $6000. The experience gave us all ideas for how to make the next benefit even better. For example: muster more art from the artists or get more participating artists so that replacement works can be hung in place of works as soon as they sell.
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