Through My Lens

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Catching Up - Freak Shows, Boots and Ice Cream

I could be sitting on the couch reading a magazine or looking at some photography books that are overdue. I could be editing photos I recently took at the state fair. I could be taking a nap since the kiddo is currently doing so. But no, I jumped up from my rest because I realized that you poor readers have been stuck with that horrid hula hoop video for a week now. Sorry about that.

So, what have I been up to? Well, I went to the Tennessee State Fair last Sunday solely to take photos. I have no memory of ever going to a state fair and definitely never in the South. There were Southerners galore, but the most disturbing thing were all of the freak shows that I thought didn't exist anymore in this pc era of ours. They were an additional $1 fee (and I only went to one - the non-human one) and featured the "world's smallest horse," who turned out to be a very sad small horse indeed. There was also the "world's shortest woman," who I guess was a 29" Haitian woman, and then the "Snake Woman," who, according to the announcement, "had the beautiful head of a woman on top of a 200 pound boneless, hideous snake body." The whole idea of paying to see someone who was abnormal, ill, or simply deformed made me very uncomfortable and images of the film The Elephant Man came immediately to mind (did anyone else grow up with this movie in your house? It scared the living daylights out of me). I wanted no part in the further marginalization of these people, even if (as some claimed) it was their only source of income. But then I did some googling last week and now feel foolish for all of my moral angst because it might have all been fake. The announcement on this video sounds identical, so I'm thinking I wasted some ethical energy on this.

The fair was also interesting because a) I hardly ever go on photo shoots and b) I never take pictures of strangers, but c) because I was with 2 other women I was brave and snapping away. But then I got yelled at - that's right, yelled at - even though the women I was with were taking just as many photos of strangers as I was yet they got by without so much as a peep out of anybody. A cowboy, whom I sheepishly told I was taking pictures of his boots said, "Well I do mind! I charge $10 a shot, lady!" and a bubble-blowing stall worker snottily said, "You know that's illegal, right?" Sheesh! I was just participating in the further marginalization of the freaks at the fair taking pictures that I thought were interesting. (Pictures to come in another post once I work myself out of this ethical hole.)

I had a decent week of work, but most of it was overshadowed by a deadline I had for the cancer survivor's grant I applied for. I know that most of you probably assume that everything is fine and dandy after surgery and radiation is over, but on top of the ongoing fear of remaining cancer, I have $5,000 worth of medical bills hanging over me with at least $1,500 more to come this year (if all goes well - knock on a forest!!!). So when I found this foundation that awards young cancer survivors money each year, I went for it. I made it through the pre-application process a few months ago and was invited to submit a full application with a personal essay and financial documents, etc. It was a difficult thing to write, not only because I'm out of practice (I haven't written an essay since college) but also because it was so personal and made me realize just how much I've been through this past year. Please hope with me that I get something out of this - it'd be such a blessing.

Yesterday was a perfect Claire and Mommy day. Don't get me wrong, but sometimes Saturdays are a real challenge. I love my daughter, of course, but having a day off (it's my weekend away from work after all) and needing to entertain her while still having a relaxing day that I enjoy is sometimes hard. But yesterday worked out perfectly. We went to the downtown library for their Cinderella marionette show (it was the closing weekend for it which is good since Claire's seen it at least a dozen times this summer). On the way home we went to I Dream of Weenie (as seen here) for lunch. While we ate our hot dogs on the table outside, I chatted with one of the women who works at the shop, complimenting her on her vintage cowboy boots. I asked where she got them, since I have been thinking about finally getting some (I know I have said horrible things about the South, but after 5 years in Nashville the kitschy, vintage look here is getting to me). She told me about a vintage sale going on, so after Claire's nap we headed back out to see what it was all about. I came home with a pair of bright red vintage cowboy boots circa 1970. They look great and were only $30!


Then we went across the street for locally made ice cream where I chatted with the owner - a woman my age with a son only a month behind Claire. This is the only place in town who always offers a dairy-free ice cream: sometimes soy ice cream, sometimes sorbet. It works great for Claire who has food allergies AND it's great ice cream. If you're in town go there for their Trailer Trash ice cream. (And there we've gone full circle.)

What a great weekend in my city with my girl. Nashville, you're alright.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:04 PM

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