flatiron in the rain

And so, my two weekends in Greenwich village have come to a close, and after a short hiatus, I  am back in the studio painting.  The show really exceeded my expectations, as I sold a lot of work for prices that I am happy with, and made a number of good contacts.  In addition to all this, I really enjoyed conversations with the people who stopped by my booth.

Well, the reader of this blog will recall my Saturday morning blues, as I waited to pack my sister’s Jeep with all of my paintings.  Having packed everything, I set out for the city.  The drive went well enough, except for the occasional driver cutting me off.  This is all expected, but when your vehicle is heavy laden with a year’s worth of work, it is difficult to maneuver around thesse types of drivers.

I pulled up to my plot of sidewalk above Washington Square, and began to unload my paintings.  The rain had just subsided, and so I quickly poured out all of my belongings onto the sidewalk.  I had just unloaded five or six paintings, when I suddenly heard someone screaming in another language.  I turned around to see a Chinese woman pointing to my paintings, and screaming something unintelligible.  I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but I understood that she was less than happy.  Finally, I discerned that she was another artist, and that my paintings had overlapped her designated sidewalk exhibition plot.  She did not have a tent, and so I didn’t realize that she was exhibiting.  As I moved the paintings, I tried to explain that I didn’t mean to encroach on the seven inches of space, I was merely unloading the materials, and would set up only in my area.  She kept yelling.

I had enough.  I had enough of leaking trucks, I had enough of darwinian drivers on the Long Island Expressway, and I had enough of this Chinese woman screaming at me.  I was just as nasty back to her, and said things such as “CALM YOURSELF, WITH COUNSELING, YOU WILL GET OVER THIS CRISIS.  I AM MOVING MY PAINTINGS, AND LIFE WILL GO ON.  THEY WERE IN YOUR SPACE FOR THREE MINUTES?  THREEEEEE MIIINUUUUUTES!!!!”  She didn’t understand, so I made the hand motions of a person having an asthma attack, and then taking an inhaler to calm down.

She kept yelling, and I just turned my back and continued to set up.  Every time that I passed her, she scowled at me and muttered, and I returned the gesture.  In half an hour, I had my tent up, my paintings hanging, and everything was reinforced with waterproof tarps.

And then, the heavens did burst their bowels asunder- the rain came.

I sat contentedly in my tent, happy to have all of my work safe and dry.  I briefly stepped out of my tent, and then saw this woman, standing in the rain, water dripping off the tip of her nose.  She was staring at her paintings, which she had laid on the sidewalk.  They were all getting soaked, absolutely drenched.  I looked down at my wealth of tarps, with extras to spare.  I said to myself,  “humph, she deserves it.”

And my self said to me  “Wow, I am becoming a terrible person.”

I grabbed the tarps, and walked over and covered her work.  One was clear plastic, so she could still exhibit her paintings.

She walked up to me, and was quietly saying something.  I had no idea what she was saying, but I knew that it was not confrontational.

An hour later, she came up to me and grabbed my arm, smiled warmly, and said “Thank you.”

The next day, she helped me set up my entire tent.  Then, she gave me half of her lunch.  We began to talk, and I found that she was an accomplished classical violinist who performed with a well known orchestra.  I also found that I could communicate with her much better when we were both kind to eachother.  At some point in the day, she got a parking ticket- immediately afterwards, she ran over and warned me to move, so that I would not get the same.  At the end of the day, she kindly insisted that I park my truck in a nearby (legal) parking space that she was leaving.


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