Pennsic 37, 2008
As you know, for the past few years I’ve been posting my Pennsic photos to this site. Well, I didn’t go this year. I stayed home. Oh, there were reasons…
Reasons for Missing Pennsic
- I booked a trip to Burlington, VT and bought a new laptop.
- The cost of a two-week trip (including lost wages) was just too high.
- I needed a break.
- It’s a lot more fun to work for two weeks at both jobs rather than to see friends from all over the country.
- Dammit, I wanted to go to Pennsic.
That being said, I decided to post my Pennsic photos anyway. I’ve kept a day-by-day account of my sans-Pennsic misery. Here is my story.
Day 1 – Friday, July 25 2008
I could have counted Thursday as well, since that’s when I would have gone to Ivar’s place to load his truck. However, I decided that it was more important to track actual Pennsic time. At the time of this photo, I would have been at the site for the first night of Land Grab.
As an act of defiance, I ordered a meal. Did anybody at Pennsic get a meal served to them? I don’t think so. Plus, I got a bunch of advice from that guy on the right. I can’t remember any of it, but I’m sure it was better than going to Pennsylvania for two weeks.
Day 2 – Saturday, July 26 2008
This would have been my first day on-site. Depression was setting in. I could almost smell the homemade booze, and the clumsy attempts at home-cooking in camp. I even slapped imaginary bugs on my arms, shoulders and face… you know, just to stay in practice for next year.
Truly, this was as low as I could possibly have gone. With a heavy heart, I pushed through the night.
Day 3 – Sunday, July 27 2008
I was wrong. Things got worse. I had to work on Sunday night. My Starbucks store is downtown, near a bunch of posh hotels. That means that I was selling coffee and frappuccinos to a bunch of lousy tourists who were just oh-so-happy about being on vacation. Vacation. You know, that thing I almost went on that week.
I sank even lower, confident in the knowledge that none of my friends at Pennsic were mopping the floor. Well, except for doing it in the metaphorical sense with someone they met less than an hour ago.
It was only Day 3, and I was already hitting rock bottom. In a bad way, that is. That metaphore can go both ways, really… but this time it’s bad. Trust me on this.
Day 4 – Monday, July 28 2008
I’ve been depressed. Seriously, I have. I’m the child of an alcoholic. I’ve had my rough times, and I’ve seen the Dark Side of life. I’ve also seen Eddie and the Cruisers, but that isn’t very closely related to the subject at hand. What I mean to say is that I was reaching a low that even I had not experienced before. I considered talking about it with a friend, but then I remembered that all of my friends were at Pennsic.
Day 5 – Tuesday, July 29 2008
As difficult as it may be to believe, a person just can’t drink alcohol all of the time. Well, unless he’s at Pennsic. Then it’s pretty easy. Anyway, on Day 5 I found myself in a coffee shop. It’s called Kudu Coffee, and it’s awesome.
Yeah, yeah… I work at Starbucks, so why do I go to another coffee shop? Well, let me tell you something. No one at Kudu is going to ask me to cover a shift. Seriously, there’s room for both. The important thing is knowing that even my spiffy new laptop couldn’t ease the pain of waking up in my soft, warm bed instead of a tangled bunch of bedding on the ground in a tent with a henna-tatooed fire juggler.
Day 6 – Wednesday, July 30 2008
I didn’t even do anything on Day 6. I worked both jobs. That’s it. Yeah, I know… completely exciting. Hell, there are a lot of people who would kill to have two cool jobs like I do. A nice position at the College of Charleston plus a barista gig at Starbucks… who wouldn’t be jealous of that? Besides the people at Pennsic, that is. I don’t think they would be very jealous. Damn them.
Day 7 – Thursday, July 31 2008
On Thursday I was off of both jobs. I had nothing at all to do. Seriously, all I had on my schedule was getting up and moping around over not going to Pennsic.
In the end, I decided to go out for a little while. I thought that maybe I would feel better if I wore a festive shirt. I dropped by my Pennsic… I mean, my Starbucks for a mocha. We used to be a bank, so that explains the vault behind me. Sadly, the combined imagery of chocolate, espresso and wild sex between mythical animals just made me think of Pennsic again. There was no escape.
Day 8 – Friday, August 1 2008
Friday was another double. Copy Center during the day, Starbucks by night. I wore another festive shirt, but it still didn’t help. I spent the day loading paper, and wondering what kind of lazy day I would be having if I were hundreds of miles away from Charleston, South Carolina. I was sure that nobody at Pennsic had to move boxes. Again, damn them.
Day 9 – Saturday, August 2 2008
By Day 9, I was really beginning to sink. I’ll admit it, the whole thing was starting to get to me. I was even beginning to think that I might be obsessing over it just a little bit.
I tried to put on a good face for Starbucks, but it was difficult. I was pumped full of caffeine in reality, but in my mind I was being shamelessly courted by a belly-dancing viking woman while my friends tapped a keg.
Day 10 – Sunday, August 3 2008
By the third day of my birth month, I finally reached the Stage of Anger. My blood was boiling with my decision to stay here instead of making the trek to PA.
What was I thinking? Why the hell did I start thinking responsibly about my money? I had the damned money to go, but for some reason I stayed on the job, so that I could use my money more wisely this year. I figured that it would all be there next year. It was crazy talk, and I was fed up with all of it. The World had wronged me, and the World would pay!
Day 11 – Monday, August 4 2008
There’s just one problem. I’m lousy with grudges. I can stay angry for a while, but it wears off before I ever get around to doing anything suitably crazy. Go figure. I was a bit bummed about turning 35, so a friend was trying to cheer me up by way of introducing me to various shots. It helped me to forget about Pennsic, along with my age, my liver and my name. It’s too bad the photo doesn’t show off my festive shirt.
Day 12 – Tuesday, August 5 2008
I missed most of my 35th birthday, on account of a stupendous hangover. My friends from my college job took me out to dinner. Cheryl, Meaghan, and Chris. (She’s our Xerox tech.) We had a big meal, and Cheryl (my boss) bought me one of those USB-Powered coffee mugs.
For a few minutes, I actually forgot about how much fun everyone was having at Pennsic. It was an okay birthday, even if I’m now officially in my mid-thirties.
Day 13 – Wednesday, August 6 2008
To give myself a familiar sense of self, I walked around the apartment without my shirt. I even drank my coffee from a metal mug in the hope that it would act as a substitute for being somewhere, anywhere else. I didn’t go anywhere. On this very night at Pennsic, the Chalk Man would be open, and besides that I was missing the Men Without Pants party. Truly, it was a sad night.
Day 14 – Thursday, August 7 2008
Day 14 was the day of my own camp’s party. I was a little relieved by this, since they always make me dig the firepit by myself. This year, somebody else would actually have to pick up a damned shovel. Somebody else would have to do the manual labor. I was hundreds of miles from that crap, and they could have it, the bastards.
Finally, I had found something good to focus on. I work at a college, for crying out loud. I don’t dig ditches or load trucks anymore.
Day 15 – Friday, August 8 2008
When I got to the Copy Center the next morning, Cheryl made me stock cases and cases of paper all day. Heavy, heavy cases of paper.
Day 16 – Saturday, August 9 2008
Things were finally coming to an end. This is the last day. Most folks do their last bit of partying on Friday night, leaving Saturday morning for a last breakfast, some goodbyes and a lot of packing. Only the most hardcore Pennsic loyals stay past Saturday afternoon.
As I closed the Starbucks, I wondered how many people were still there. I also hoped that they got sick from all that leftover alcohol. Damn them.
Day 17 – Sunday, August 10 2008
Finally, it was over. At this point I would be home and recovering from it all. I took some time to ponder what I had gained versus what I had lost.
Final Cost/Benefit Analysis
- Booked a trip to Burlington, Vermont.
- New, tech-current laptop.
- Two weeks of pay, since I was here.
- Drinking every night with little cost
- Friends from the U.S. and Canada
- Henna-tatooed fire juggler
- Belly-dancing viking woman
Final Thoughts Concerning Pennsic 37
Damn them. Damn them all.