So then, the show on Sunday.
Though I do go to these shows myself, it's not because I like old cars or anything, which you may have guessed by now. I'll just never understand why people like these antique Volkswagens: they have no heat, don't go over fifty, are cramped and claustrophobic inside, owe a good deal of their concept to, well, Hitler, and by now having been in New England for some years, are pretty much all falling apart.
I will also never understand the mentality of people who plan things for nine am. On a Sunday, when all decent people are sleeping in for gawd's sake.
But that was the time it started, and my fellow vampire sister and me managed to get there for the opening, even though that meant I got up at seven, which I'm really not used to. Well, okay, yeah, technically I did 'get up', in that I had been lying in bed; but seeing as how I got zero sleep, and I mean literally none at all, I can't say I 'woke up.' I was, personally, pretty much operating on fumes the entire day, and Tara was not doing much better from what she said.
Anyway though it was the show we've been going to for some years now for old air-cooled Volkswagens. This year the weather was quite nice, if a little on the crisp side. It's usually a good show, with plenty of people, but for some reason this year the place was packed. Show cars had to park in the field across the little street, and I've never seen that happen.
We brought the trailer, full of mostly light stuff, except for this one engine, this oddball 1700cc thing from I don't remember what, maybe one of those abominations known as a 411. But last Tara knew it had run, and she wanted to see if anyone would be interested.
The Bus itself had of course been packed full of the usual milk crates and plastic bins of parts, which you can see all unloaded here:
And here's the sea of carburetors which some customer has helpfully spread out; it rather reminds me, in a boiled down 'artsy' symbolic form, of old pictures of the yard. Pretend those carburetors are actually full-sized engines randomly strewn about on the grass and you'll get the idea.
You know there are some people who call themselves artists who are all about old grungy textures, found objects, the loveliness of rust, and seeing the beauty in that which is decaying or discarded, and who consider things like flowers to be simpy and too 'nice' and not hard-hitting or edgy enough and so not really art. Yeah, well: fuck 'em.
So it was the usual thing of people swarming over and throwing money at Tara, as well as the usual thing of it not looking like much stuff went away when all was said and done. She got a bit of a bite on the oddball engine, but no one wanted to take it home with them, so it stayed in the trailer. I don't think this year we even threw away a box, and yet I know we sold plenty of stuff. Why won't it go away?
At the end of the day (like four, which, honestly, is about when my days usually get going) we packed it all up and headed off, stopping for dinner somewhere on I think Route One. Which was fine, and my sandwich had avocado on it, so yum and all; and then we headed home, mostly taking back roads because like I said above the thing doesn't really go over fifty, especially pulling a trailer.
I suppose I should mention something about this trailer. It's kind of a dinky little thing, not very strong or sturdy. It's the kind that you can theoretically fold up in the middle and store in your garage if you want to and I don't think it's rated for a lot of weight. In fact I imagine most people use this particular model of trailer for dropping off piles of leaves or maybe a bit of light brush at the local dump.
So then. We were just commenting that the town we were driving through was a total pit (though not as bad as Brockton, ho golly no!) when we stopped at a light at the city center to find some guy tapping on Tara's window. We had a flat tire, he said. On the trailer.
If I were prone to migraines (I am not, and I am very grateful for that) I'm pretty sure one would have kicked in just then. You will note that by this time it was Sunday evening, with not much daylight left, just to make everything that much more complicated. We pulled over. Tara glanced at the tire, and with a remarkable lack of pissing and moaning (that came later) decided she was going to walk to the auto parts store we had 'just' passed, to get some Fix-a-Flat.
Of course it was rather further than she thought, since we had been driving, and that goes a bit faster than walking; but I suppose we got some exercise in, right? So we trudged all the way over there and get there, miraculously enough, while it was still open, and Tara buys some Fix-a-Flat.
Except when we get back, Tara looks at the thing properly and notices that the entire valve is missing from the tire, which is of course one of those especially annoying types with no tube. So no, Fix-a-Flat is not going to help that.
Now I have Triple A, but that's not much use when the trailer's the problem. The Bus was of course just fine and could have gotten us home, but Tara didn't want to just leave the trailer in some random place. So she came to the conclusion that her best bet was to try to drive, albeit very slowly.
Which meant we puttered along at about fifteen miles an hour for some miles. It wasn't a highway, no, but it was a main road and busy enough; and we weren't all that close to home just yet. Now I'm not sure I've mentioned this before, but I'd like to point out that the number on the sticker on the windshield has been stuck on 2 for quite some months. And there's nothing like going stupidly slow to attract the attention of the local law enforcement. For my part though I was worried about something catching fire, because Tara had said the tire had been very hot, too hot to touch, when we first pulled over though I don't know why.
After a time I think even Tara realized this was not going to work; so we pulled over and she pulled out her phone, trying to find a store that might have a replacement tire.
Remember, this is Sunday night. While stores these days are open later than they used to be (which vampire-me does appreciate), still, it was Sunday night, in Massachusetts, a state (well, technically, a commonwealth) that until recently didn't even sell liquor on Sundays.
But she found one, and miraculously it was not too far off. Except when she asked the guy about the specific tire he kind of didn't get it, and said they were twenty inch wheels or something, which makes no sense. But it was our best bet, so we started to limp there anyway.
Which took I swear like a million years. But we got there eventually, and it was still open.
Once inside the employees directed us to the lawnmower tires; which yeah no. Tara was (you can imagine) somewhat annoyed* by this time, and wandered off somewhere else. I was, I'll admit, rather done with the whole thing so didn't immediately follow her. A bit later I went to look for her and couldn't find her; when I did turns out she'd had a minor breakdown in the rug department. Which I'm rather glad I missed, truth be told.
When she had calmed down a bit she finally located an employee who knew what he was talking about who led her to the actual trailer wheels; of course they had one bolt-hole too many, taking five bolts instead of four and so couldn't work at all, which Tara was not happy† about either.
In the end we left the trailer in their parking lot (after asking the manager) and took the Bus to the other large chain hardware-type store (I suppose in England you'd call it the DIY store); they were of course closed by then, it being a Sunday night in Massachusetts. So we went on home.
She had her work cut out for her the next day, and managed to find the correct replacement wheel at a different store entirely even though by then it was a holiday; and the trailer wheel was fixed and we in fact used it today for an iron run, of said engine, which it turns out no one was interested in after all.
*You may mail me my Understatement of the Year award to the following address: Box 350, Boston, Mass 02134. Thank you!
†See note above.