Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Went to the feast, and didn't take a single photo

I know that I said I would post photos of the feast, but I didn't take any. I spent 4 hours in a small booth, under a crowded tent, shilling goldfish to hapless parents and determined youngsters, and hapless youngsters and determined parents. My husband showed up to cover me for that last hour, because I thought I might just lose it completely if I didn't get out of there. Between the smell of the fish and the sense of desperation amongst the contestants, it was pretty grim.

There was the uncle that let the kid try a few times, and then dropped $40 in an incredible effort to win a fish for him - and struggle to hide his embarrassment when he walked away empty-handed.

The boyfriend that jeered at the girl when she missed, and then came back to the booth 5 seperate times - ostensibly to show her how it was done - and never showed her a damn thing except what an asshole he was. He probably spent $25.

I watched one family blow over $30 trying to get their 13 month old to win her own goldfish by throwing a ping pong ball into a small fishbowl.
Even the kid pulled out her pacifier (I swear to god) and looked at me with these eyes that said "These people are batshit crazy, just give me the damn ball so I can get out of here."

I handed out some of the most expensive half-dead goldfish on the planet that day. On first glance, when I was signing up for my volunteer shift, it seemed like it would be a fun gig - we LOVE trying to win a goldfish every year. The kids just can't get enough of it. Maybe that is because we always win with relatively little effort. Based on our past experiences, I thought it would be a nice way to spend my mandatory 5 hours - but I walked out of there jaded and smelling like a fishtank. And I wasn't even the one shoveling fish into bags of fishy water, and then blowing into the bags to inflate them when the oxygen tank ran out an hour into our shift. It seemed counter-productive to be filling the bag with CO2 instead of oxygen, and the idea of pressing my face into a bag wet with fishbowl water made me gag, so I am lucky my booth partner was made of sterner stuff. She was scooping and blowing and I was taking tickets and watching families spend a small fortune in an attempt to take home a 99 cent fish.

"JESUS!" I wanted to say (but I didn't because, HELLO? I was at the Catholic Church Feast) "Just go to the pet store and BUY a fish ! Preferably one that hasn't been traumatized to within an inch of it's life and will probably die before you get home." I also didn't tell them that these little fishies require more then just a little fishbowl to survive. According to the pet store, you need an aquarium. And a pump. And a filter. And special food. And purified water.

I ended up feeling guilty - guilty about the families spending so much money. Guilty about the fish suffocating in the bags filled with CO2. Guilty that I hadn't bought more portuguese bean soup.

I love portuguese bean soup.

Viva La Feast !

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