Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Duct Tape Pinata

I repaired a pinata with duct tape this weekend. S and I made it for Rockygrass, out of paper mache, but it got crushed by luggage, bounced endlessly around in the car, and dropped on the asphalt of a parking lot immediately upon our arrival. So the next day I sat at the riverside, listened to bluegrass, sipped at my beer, and slowly put the thing back together. I love the contrast, a fragile and fanciful paper thing, designed to be broken, repaired with the no-nonsense, unbreakable, everyday white-trash miracle that is duct tape.

It was a big weekend, from which we are still recovering. A Major Birthday Milestone for me (hence the pinata; after S. and I filled it with candy I snuck in a few airline bottles of Dickel - little Dickels, get it? - and resealed the thing). We also had the most excellent company of the Dancehall clan at both the campsite and the festival. Plus, if that weren't enough, three days of camping and bluegrass and river tubing and beer and (mostly) legal fun. Rockygrass is like a Dead concert with more kids and less (or at least less conspicuous) drug use. Kids are everywhere, parents are everywhere, babies are everywhere; it's like a great co-parenting experiment, with everyone looking after everyone else's kids. We had several discussions of how it was a perfect libertarian utopia for three days. Very few rules, and the rules that do crop up are not codified, but rather decided upon independently by those attending. Sure, it's artificial, and at least partially built around commerce (lots of money changing hands for tickets, food, beer, t-shirts, mandolins). But three days of several thousand people co-habitating in the great outdoors, and I did not witness a single fight, or even harsh words (except for my own, but I'll get to that eventually). It was so much easier to just relax and have a good time.

Upon arriving at the campsite we realized we forgot to pack the rain-fly of our tent (we almost forgot the tent itself). It rains almost every afternoon in the mountains this time of year, so, not a good sign. We made do with a too-small tarp for the night, and the next day El Huquita went out and bought a giant tarp that fit perfectly. We had a damp night that night, as the tent was open to the elements all day long, but were fine from there on in. Pinata meets duct tape, once again.

We found a perfect little spot to set up every day of the festival, a tree-shaded glen right next to the St. Vrain river, close enough to the music, but at a remove from the crush of the crowd. Last year we were in the same spot, and there was a fairy circle set up right next to us. Dancehall, who knows about these things (along with fluorescent viruses, bread-making, and how to find Arcturus and Spica in the night sky) gave me the detailed lowdown on fairy circles, how if you disturb anything as you walk through one your "timeline" will be slightly askew, and you'll never be quite in synch with the real world again. Sounds fine to me. I made a point of kicking up the dust just a tad every time I walked through, just to see what would happen. I haven't been the same since.

The St. Vrain is a mighty fine river, but it does get swift out in the middle, and you've gotta be careful. I was out on a rock in the middle with three of the kids when J, one of Dancehall's boyos, slipped off the rock and got sucked downstream. I've never seen O (his Dad) move so fast. Ran barefoot over all those sharp river rocks and dived in to catch his boy, and carry him back to shore. J was actually in pretty good shape, it was his Dad who got beat up by the experience (that's his foot below). As we walked to the first aid tent, I remarked that jumping in to save his boy was a valiant act of fatherhood. He replied there are no valiant acts of fatherhood. I said maybe all acts of fatherhood were valiant. We agreed there wasn't much difference between the two, and after he got his cuts peroxided up, I bought him a beer. Medics may need bandages and antiseptic for their repairs, but beer is duct tape for the soul.

My eldest learned to hula hoop this year (last year she learned to somersault).

Here is KK getting all dolled up at the art tent by her Huckylicious Mom. She'd use up her body weight in glitter daily if left to her own devices. There is still glitter all over our camping equipment, our car, our clothes. A badge of parenthood, which I wear proudly.

I had a minor fight with my wife Saturday night, putting all my utopian musings into sharp ironic relief. Here we have the pure dumb luck to stumble into paradise, and then I carelessly kick at it as if it were a sand castle. Happily, we made up the next morning inside the tent, under a giant comforter as the sun rose and the morning birds sang, until the kids came tumbling in from either side and we all snuggled together. Marriage is as fragile as paper, but infinitely repairable. Thank God for duct tape.


Maggie said...

Round here we use duct tape for just about everything. Does a bang up job doesn't it?

Jo said...

Marriage is as fragile as paper, but infinitely repairable. That's just lovely--and a perfect ending to your romping duct tape tales.

The pinata was a Wild Thing?! Genius.

I'm with your littlest fairy--glitter makes nearly everything better.

meno said...

I'm curious to know if you were able to swat open the pinata after it was repaired with duct tape. Seems like it might have been rendered impregnable.

Eric Shonkwiler said...

I was really hoping to get on here and say, "Watch out, there's a Wild Thing in that tree!" but Jo has beat me to the pointing out. Boo, Jo.

Irrelephant said...

Clowncar, that's an excellent post, bar none. A little bit gritty, a lot real, and a little glitter sprinkled around it. Well done.

Clowncar said...

Yes, Maggie, duct tape can do anything. We've been known to boil it up and feed it to the kids for supper on occasion.

Jo, you give us way too much credit to think we could build a Wild Thing pinata. Ours was an amorphous blob made with a balloon. The kind folks at Rockygrass put the Wild Thing in the tree.

It was about one third duct tape, two thirds paper mache, Meno, and so pretty easy to crack. It went down fast.

You snooze, you lose, Eric.

Thamks Irr, My kids go through glitter like Godzilla through Tokyo.

Mother of Invention said...

Glad the fight was minor and was duct tape-repairable!Cute kids! Neat time.