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The Ups and Downs of Sea Glass Addiction
Beachfront Flea Market Disaster
Well that was fun. Not. Flying ants in our hair if not in our mouths, burning shoulders turning red, heat, headaches, and flea market goods blowing all over the place in the awful wind.
Oh, and cost too: R30 (about $3.50) for the morning, plus R20 (about $2.35) petrol (gas) for the car, plus a week's worth of every spare moment - inbetween trying to find new clients for our freelance business - spent either beachcombing for suitable pieces of sea glass and other interesting beach pebbles, pieces of driftwood, and seashells, as well as making the beach craft and sea glass items. We made one sale: R20. That was our transport costs covered. Whoopee.
So much for our earlier "Sea Glass! This is it! Our next big thing. For sure."
Welcoming the Relief of Hysteria in the Face of Disaster
One's got to laugh, right? If one didn't laugh, one might cry sometimes, or just give up. What a wonderful stress reliever laughter is. I think Tony worries a little when I laugh hysterically - it tells him I'm on the edge of freaking out, but at the same time, I think perhaps he welcomes the hysterical laughter as it tells him I'm going to be okay - when I'm done laughing.
With that said, let's look at the funny side of our flea market outing:
Well, we came out of it alive, so I can't really say whatever could have gone wrong did, but it felt pretty close:
Okay that's an exaggeration, but we weren't even sure if the flea market was going to be happening that Sunday morning, as we suspected that a few of the flea market Sundays over the Christmas and New Year period would have been cancelled due to the East London beaches and beachfront being too full of holidaymakers. Not a bad thing in itself as more people on the beachfront would mean more people to buy your flea market goods, but when there's too many people having a good time, some abuse of drinking can often spoil it for others.
We needed the money pretty badly, and held our breath as we drove up closer to the green. It was on! We thought we were pretty early arriving at 7.40am, but there were already a few other flea market stands going up.
We drove onto the centre of the green looking for a guy with a hat. We'd forgotten his name, but remembered from about 3 years' before that it was a guy with a hat that would be the one to tell you where to park your car and set your flea market stand up. Now anyone can wear a hat, but this hat sort of suits the guy. Not quite a cowboy hat, and not quite a bowling hat. Something inbetween, and sort of rustic. There he was! Same hat. Hopefully a hat that was at least washed or cleaned a bit in the past 3 years.
Just to be sure (he was the right guy, not to smell the hat), we rolled our car window down a little further and amidst the miggies (flying ant things) asked him if he was the guy in charge. "I like to think so," he replied.
Hat Guy told us where to park, pointing to a spot about 5 metres away from himself, in the middle of nowhere, telling us that we needed to wait there until he found a space for us. Although there weren't many people there yet, he wasn't sure who was coming, and of course it wouldn't do if we took the usual place of a regular (he didn't say that but we assumed so - and rightly so - we'd also be upset if we were regulars and two strangers arrived before us and took our spot.)
All the same we still felt a little out. Our (well, not really it's my dad's even though I've bought it from him - oops, no time for that story or hysteria now) little car that is supposed to be red, tried to shine it's now dull orange for us since it had received a little wash earlier that morning. It also tried in vain to keep its glaringly obvious grey duct tape "gas tank lid" from flapping in the breeze that was beginning to pick up. At least the thinner tape across the one front headlight seemed to be staying in place, and at least it had gotten us there, after us recently having to spend about R2 000 (about $230) on having all sorts of things on it repaired.
While waiting to be told our place (anywhere but there, we felt, but we were determined to stick things out) a local aquaintance we knew strolled up to us. He had some gorgeous cactus plants he was trying to get rid of, and had brought them along in a good-looking shiny pick up - a man who just a few months before had stopped regularly frequenting our little home office for us to type up a CV for him, or to email a CV for him. He'd been out of work for ages. We were pleased that by chance he'd bumped into an old aquaintance of his, who offered him a good job, company shiny pick up, and more. We also felt a little jealous. Now he was better off than us. Well, everybody at that flea market was better off than us.
Once we were parked at our allocated flea market spot, and started to set up our stuff, I was convinced that the miggies were hovering around only us. Tony pointed out miggies further away from us, near other flea market stands, but I was convinced we had the most miggies. Targetted, that's what we were.
At least we weren't the only ones targetted
We had no cover over us or over our goods for sale like the two flea market stands next to us had (other than the open boot of the car providing a tiny bit of relief from the sun as we sat on a beach towel on the grass beneath it - but the sun shifted position in the sky and the car boot didn't, or so say our red shoulders), and we didn't have material items being touched by little hands full of ice-cream, but those two stands gave up, packed up, and left before us. They didn't even make one sale. At least we made R20, even if it was only from the guy with the hat.
While waiting out the allocated (by me) time (much to Tony's impatience, depression and frustration) before also packing up before the official packing up time, we watched in amazement as the wind blew a gazebo over on the other side of us. We thought it was only our homemade sign (with sea glass and shell and pebble earrings hanging beneath it from plastic blue and yellow clothespegs since we didn't have more appropriate wooden clothespegs at home) that would fall over in the wind that day (which it did) but here a gazebo across the way was falling before our eyes, slowly, it seemed, like in a dream. Except it wasn't slow; it was as quick as a strong gust of wind, and sunglasses and t shirts went flying all over, some of the sunglasses being crushed beneath the steel poles of the gazebo. As much as we felt sorry for the four people manning that flea market stand, it was also a lesson in not feeling sorry for ourselves, and to try look on the bright side of things, like at the shiny ocean over the roof of our dull-colored car.
Give up on Sea Glass or Beachcombing March Forward?
Well, we gave up on the flea market, leaving a little early, but by that time other folk had started packing up too. It was a bad time of the month or year, the Hat Guy told us, and he encouraged us to come again, saying that people had to get used to seeing us there too, or that more people would visit the flea market at other times of the month or year. He also obviously realised we don't have a lot of money, and recommended we try building our own gazebo and use it the next time. Well, if we'd made some money at the flea market, maybe we could afford the materials we need to build our own gazebo.
But it will all happen. We survived and will continue to survive. Also, we've already started two websites targetting beachy things, beach crafts, beach house decor etc, so we're not giving up yet. And at least people visiting our websites don't notice our car and our missing gazebo. I was going to say "or notice the miggies" but they did actually vanish after a while - almost immediately after a lady told us they only live for a few minutes.
And we're already addicted to beachcombing - and looking for sea glass, in particular.
The Highs of Sea Glass Addiction
"Ha ha, you missed that one, I can't believe it - you put your foot right next to it and I so hoped you wouldn't look down and pick it up, and the moment you stepped away I grabbed it. You didn't even see me get it."
"Look at this one, it's got a pattern on it! Come and help me get it loose from underneath this rock."
"We should go home now, but I want to find just one more..."
"I can't wait to get home and show you what I found."
"Right, are we comfortable? Is this little table big enough to spread out all your findings? Who's showing first?"
"... and this last one I'm putting on the table is my favorite. Look how frosty it is and it has no cracks or chips! Perfect for a necklace pendant, or for earrings - if we can find another one similar to it..."
Can we make money out of sea glass?
Only time and hard work will tell. For now, we have our healthy addiction, and if all else fails, there's always hysteria...