Sunday morning came, and it was time to go home. I was ready. I missed my African girl.
Breakfast crew at Blazing Salads
That morning I asserted my S.O.P. status (see Part I) and was absolved of perimeter duty.
When I told Ed, the night before, that I was going to sleep in, he looked askance at me. "It's an unwritten law that the people that work are the only ones that get shoe-horned in for next year," he warned.
"C'est la vie, Ed," I replied. "Whatever will be, will be."
He looked disappointed, but, you know, as much as I love the Fair, I'm not sure I want to commit an entire week of precious vacation time on it every single year. I'd told Mark Freeman as much.
I walked in to the Fair at about 7am and moseyed up to Watergate to say "hi" to Mark and some of the other crew, then went down and got eggs and bacon from Get Fried Rice. I was disappointed with breakfast; I found it bland. The best breakfast that I encountered at the Fair came from Blazing Salads. They had a bowl of granola and oatmeal, with lots of fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries, cherries, apricots) all sliced up in it, the whole thing covered in yogurt. Delicious! (Also, potent! Ahem.) And the wonderful folks at Blazing Salads even indulged me by sparing the bananas when they dished me up!
|Karen, the can-do woman|
I strolled back to camp and slowly began packing up: Guitar, lantern, flashlight, extra food, paper towels, dirty clothes, battery... Ah, yes! The battery. A heavy, monstrous thing, about two-thirds the size of a car battery, that would push 2 Amps for up to 30 hours. I used it to power the Amazing Snore Machine and it worked like a charm, running out of juice just as I awoke on Sunday morning. Four nights of apnea-free sleep on a single charge! (Gratitude to my darling wife, who found the battery store and dragged me to it.)
I finally broke down my tent and hauled everything out to the grass in Far Side meadow. But Fair bureaucracy still had one obstacle to place in my path before I left.
We were informed that, due to the agreement Fair had made with ODOT (refer to Part I), no one would be allowed to drive his motor vehicle in to Far Side to load up until 6pm. I took the news with resignation and with no real worry. If there is any one trait that all hippies have in common, it is an innate ability, driven (I believe) by psychological need, to overcome, out-maneuver, and work around regulations of any kind. I just had to sit back and watch it work.
There is none better at finding a way to get things done than my Fair friend, Karen. (Oddly enough, I've known Karen for 7 years and I don't think I've ever learned her last name.) When she learned the bad news about car access she got things moving. She sent her husband, Tim, up to the gate by the highway to talk to the gate-keeper, while she started lobbying Mark Freeman to find a solution. She had everything humming along nicely when Tim returned with the news that the gatekeeper had relented and would allow us to drive in.
Clockwork, I tell you.
Pokin' along on the dusty road
I still had to walk to Outta Site parking lot, but that was no big deal. If the bureaucracy had yielded, three miles of walking in the hot sun would be a breeze. Besides, I had to walk through the Fair one last time, to get to my car, and that is always a good thing to do.
As I wandered down the Magic 8, I took a good long while to savor everything the Fair has to offer: the smells of food and Nag Champra and patchouli and ganja, the streaming music that came first from one direction and then another and then sometimes would meld in some magical spot, blissfully confusing your ears. And, of course, the sights.
Village Restaurant, with delightful barrista
|Dade: "Mind if I take your picture?" Top Hat: "So long as you don't mind if we look damn sexy while you do."|
|Do you like my hat, sir?|
|Stone Age Smurf hunter-gatherers|
By the time I got to my car, I was hot, tired, and happy. I got in, started the air-conditioning, drove back to the Far Side and loaded up my gear. Then I went around and said goodbye to all my crew mates. Another good year, all.
On the drive home, I putt-putted along in the slow lane, content to drive at the pace of the vehicle in front of me. I was unflappable, peaceful, content. After a time, I got home. And then I got unloaded. And then I shaved and took a long shower. And then I waited for my African girl to get home from work, so I could tell her all about it.
This concludes the OCF 2010 series.