There’s a fellow I know, out in the great wild blue yonder of the intertubes, named SpiffyTumbleWeed. An interesting thing about Spiffy is that, well, I never actually met him-not until yesterday anyway.
I know, I know, you were probably expecting me to talk about my show, how it went, how it’s going, and all of that, but I wanted to talk about Spiffy instead.
You see, a while back I was in another show, one that Spiffy actually attended. But, I didn’t see him there, not at the opening. Oh, don’t get me wrong, he was there and I was there, I just didn’t see him. The show was too crowded, and some lady named Liz Smith (columnist for one of the papers in New York) was there. It was a hard show. I couldn’t really talk to a lot of people because, well, because I had to talk to a lot of people.[Now, that might not make any sense, if you’ve never been to a show before but, you’ll just have to trust me on this one, that’s how it works. The artists get pushed around, poked, dragged over to meet this person or chat with that person. At a really crowded show, we hardly have time to take a drink. Sometimes, it just works out that way, not that I’m complaining, mind you, that’s just how it is. We’re sort of obligated to talk to the curator, the press, the media, the local art critic, and whoever else might happen to grab our elbows and not let go. Sometimes, we don’t even get a moment to smile and nod at our friends. That’s all part of doing a show, and I accept that, but it makes it really hard to meet people like Spiffy, or, you know, somebody I actually want to talk to, there.]
Fast forward a few more gallery shows. I had work in a small gallery in central Austin, I think it might have even been last Valentine’s day. I thought Spiffy was going to show up. I was sure Spiffy was going to show up. I thought, “yes! This is it. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for! I’m finally going to meet Spiffy.” I didn’t. Spiffy didn’t show up. Or, you know, if he did, I didn’t see him there. Then, I was supposed to go to a meeting of another photo group, one in which Spiffy is a member, but I got sick and didn’t go, so, once again, no Spiffy. As time went on, I kind of forgot about Spiffy. I gave up on the idea of ever meeting Spiffy in person. I thought he would become, like so many of my other Flickr friends, somebody who only existed within the realms of cyberspace. I accepted my Spiffy-free world, and lived a Spiffy-free existence.
Until last night, that is. Last night, I left the dog with the neighbor’s, drove down to south Austin, parked the car, got out, and walked into the gallery show. I had no intention of meeting Spiffy, or anybody else, really for that matter. I was going to just go and check out the work, which I did. As I started to check out the work, I saw a few other artists I knew and recognized, some I had even done some shows with in the past. I smiled and nodded and drank a small bit of wine. This show wasn’t as crowded as the last one, so I could actually move my elbows and, even better, walk around to look at (and enjoy!) the work. Sure, there were enough people there, I mean, it was still full, but it was a nice crowd and I got to talk to people.
Then, without warning, an odd thing happened. This nice fellow walked right up to me and said, “Hi, are you Carol?”
“Yes, I’m Carol,” I said.
“Hi, I’m SpiffyTumbleWeed and I know your work from flickr…” I was a bit shocked. I wasn’t expecting to meet Spiffy. Just when I had given up, started to think maybe there really wasn’t a Spiffy, that he was kind of like some mythical figure, like some odd photographer’s version of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, *poof* there he was!
All-in-all, it was that kind of a night. I also talked to the Cupcake Lady, though I didn’t know, at the time, who she was. (She makes cupcakes out of cement. It’s an odd thing to describe, really, but she does beautiful work. They really are excellent cupcakes, you’ll just have to trust me on that one.) I started talking to her. She was very nice and we were really chatting away before I realized who she was. It’s kind of fun to go to a show like that. It’s kind of fun to meet people you’re supposed to meet-people who are kindred spirits-that way.
Sure, I could tell you how great the work was, or how nice an evening it happened to be (it was warm and mild, even though all predictions were for a cold, chilly, damp evening, we actually had to put the a/c on at the gallery.) I could tell you all about the artwork, the people, the gallery itself, the odd folks who show up to these things with blue hair (I love blue hair actually.) But, you probably could have guessed all of that, without me telling you a thing.
The thing that made it special, the thing that really made it special, was meeting all the kindred spirits. Meeting the people I was supposed to meet at that time, in that place. All of the people like Spiffy, the Cupcake Lady, the people with blue hair, the people I thought about before, maybe saw bits and pieces of them, their artwork and such-people who I had met before only in bits of spirit, now standing before me, shaking my hand, speaking with me for the first time, though I felt I’ve known them for years. I guess it was just destiny that one day I would actually come to meet Spiffy, the Cupcake Lady, and the blue haired people, but it still feels kind of fun to actually enjoy a bit of an evening in their company.
So, yes, I could tell you about the show but, instead, allow me to introduce you to Spiffy, the Cupcake Lady, and all of the people with blue hair. It’s people like that who make a show special and fun. The artwork is just sort of a decoration, a backdrop, if you will, for the interesting encounter.
Until next time…