people say the strangest things

In case you’ve been wondering if I’ve fallen off the world or anything, for a little while, I did! Actually, August is my busy month, because for one long, 3-day weekend in August, my sister and I “take our act on the road.”

In that, we sell our lapidary work at an art show, in a town called Poulsbo, not far from where we live. So in the weeks leading up to that, we’re busy getting our work ready, getting our supplies and equipment ready, getting all of our ducks in a row – as it were. And during THAT, we’re still working our day jobs.

Now that art show is done for another year, and we can relax and work on getting back to our normal lives. Which includes, for me, working on my current novel and blogging again J

So today, I’d like to reflect on this passed long weekend, and why it’s such a treasure trove of people-watching. Here’s a sample of some of the things we get asked by “normal human beings” while we sit in our booth full of hand-cut Agates and Jaspers: (my remarks and replies are in parenthesis)

“Look son, these are rocks.” (looks at me) “Or are they stones?”

“Agates, huh? Too bad these aren’t natural. I prefer natural things.” (we mine them from the ground, that’s not natural?)

“Pretty, but I don’t wear necklacy-type things” (you mean, like, necklaces?)

“What’s this?” (crysocolla) “Yes, I see the sign, but what is it?” (a jasper that goes by the name crysocolla) “I see that, but what IS it exactly?” (a jasper, which is a stone, named crysocolla) “But what IS it? You know? What exactly IS crysocolla?” (a rock) “I don’t understand.”

“You misspelled Polished here, on this sign, dearie. You needed to add an ED.” (actually, I spelled Polish correctly)

“Why do you call this tray Polished Flint and the others don’t say Polished?” (because that’s Polish Flint. The sign says Polish Flint.)

“So where does Polish Flint come from?” (Poland)

“Mexican Crazy Lace, how pretty! Where does this come from?” (um, Mexico)

“HA! You made that name up! Mookite. No way there’s something called Mookite.” (actually there is, if I were to make up a name for an orange/maroon stone, I wouldn’t have come up with mookite)

“Oh look, turquoise!” (actually, that’s crysocolla. It’s often confused with turquoise) “No, this is turquoise.” (I’m sorry, I actually don’t have any turquoise. What you’re holding there is crysocolla. Very similar to turquoise. Turquoise itself has more black banding, and some disreputable people will try and sell you crysocolla calling it turquoise) lady turns to her husband “This woman is lying, it’s turquoise.”

“So, um, I don’t understand how trees make agates.” (trees don’t make agates, sir. They’re rocks) “But this has rings, so it’s a tree.” (to tell you the truth, that’s not a tree, it’s a rock. The bands are formed as crystals grow to fill in a gap) “that doesn’t make sense. This is a tree, it has growth rings, see.” (I do see, but that’s not wood. I’m all out of petrified wood right now. That’s an agate, a brazillian agate, which is a stone.) “I don’t understand. Where do stones COME from, if they’re not trees?” (pardon?) “You said it grew, trees grow.” (Yes, sir, so do crystals) “But, you’re not getting it – I’m asking, that is, I don’t understand where rocks come from?” (you’re standing on one, sir, it’s called Earth.) “But I don’t get it.” (perhaps some research into geology would help you?)

“You found this Red Jasper on the beach?” (yes, ma’am) “What beach, exactly?” (well, some we found at Point No Point, some we’ve picked up on Fay Bainbridge Park on–) “Nevermind. I’m from Florida, just visiting, I don’t know the beaches here.”

“Prairie Jasper? Which Prairie?” (pardon?) “Which prairie?” (it’s just called prairie jasper) “Yes, but which prairie? Which one, exactly” (that’s just the name, ma’am.) “You’re not real bright, are you dear?” (apparently not, ma’am.)

“This is beautiful!” (thank you) “Only, I don’t like the shape.” (we have several to choose from) “Yes, but they’re not uniform.” (no, we do a style called Freeform, so no two are alike) “They’re amazing, but I don’t like them.” (thank you)

“I like rocks.” (so do we, sir) “I really like rocks.” (yes) “I have some rocks that I’ve collected.” (that’s terrific) – man reaches DEEP into his pocket “Here, I’ll show you” (that’s all right, sir, thank you)

“Very pretty” (thank you) “but I don’t like them.”

And that’s only the HALF of it. When you’re not watching customers and shaking your head at the things they’ll say, you’re watching other vendors. Like the hat lady who used the line “These are all made without electricity. I’ve been completely off the grid for 17 years. Here, take my card, it has my email and web page address on it.”

After a few days, you’ve heard the other vendor’s lines so many times, you could sell their product for them. You’ve smiled and nodded at people so many times, you feel like a bobblehead doll, and you’ve bitten your tongue at so many ridiculous comments, you could slip a ring in there and call it a piercing.

But it’s over, for now. We’ll do one more show around the holidays, then wait for August to roll around once again, and repeat the same adventure. And one day, maybe, I’ll write a book šŸ™‚

4 thoughts on “people say the strangest things

  1. Sure sounds like you had fun. And those questions and comments from the passerbys would have made me scream like a little girl after only two hours, let alone three days.
    Are these people for real? *shakes head and sighs*
    You have my unending respect for dealing with them.
    I look forward to the book *hinthint*
    Have a great week!


  2. I just want to go to one of these shows and sit at a table and write a book and UTTERLY IGNORE all customers who come over to me, cheerily wondering what I’m doing and what I’m selling and what I think. I think that’d be fun.

    “Oh, is this performance art?” (Will you bring me a cup of tea if it is?)

    “Are you selling stories?” (No. Bugger off.)

    Er. This is why Kristine does these things nicely instead of me. šŸ™‚

  3. It really is a writer’s paradise, sitting there observing and dealing with humans. Some of them are perfectly wonderful, and will tell you where they’re from or give you a story of how their grandfather was a rockhound and they have such fond childhood memories. Some of the older men tell you about ‘back in my day’ and some of the older women will remember long summer days with their fathers, finding crystals around the mines and such.

    We got a story of a woman who nearly lost her home to the fires in California, another guy gave us the story of how he rescued his dog – that we were petting. Loads of them are just polite and pleasant, and even say “Thank you” when they’ve only just looked at your product and not purchased a thing.

    I’m far more comfortable being introverted and not engaging people in conversations if there’s a way to avoid it, but at these shows I have no choice. I have to converse politely, spend hours and hours explaining the agates and jaspers, the types and where they’re from, how we mine and cut and polish them. So I step out of myself and become a talkative, informative, smiling person who isn’t at all phased when some dolt points to a piece of Biggs Jasper and declares, to his friend, “My dad used to grow these.”

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