All she wanted was to give a small gift to the young girl who plays her favorite character on a particular show. Absolutely not! She was told curtly and unsympathetically. “Hurry up, come in. No touching! No hugging! No props! No masks! Keep them moving!” All the while I am calculating in my head how much money these people have shelled out for a photo opportunity with ‘xyz’ “celebrity”. She is ushered out unceremoniously and cannot find her small brown bag. The line must keep moving so there is no stopping to help. In and out! In and out! The girl begins to cry. I stop the machine and help the girl. The bag fell behind the table. “Here you go. It’s okay.” She cannot even forge a smile.
A woman shows up frantic and out of breath. The person she wanted a photo with had already left. “What can you do?” she asks me pleadingly. I find someone and immediately she is told that the person she so anxiously wanted to meet had already left. “I paid $50 though and I was told to go to the wrong line.” “You should have been here on time.” The woman looks like she is about to burst into tears.
There is a tremendous amount of excitement to the right of me. One of the biggest guests of the event is in the booth ready for hundreds of people to have their photo taken with him – at $100 a pop no less! He could not be less interested or thrilled to be there. With no interaction with those so anxious to meet him, he can’t even be bothered to smile. The look of disappointment on the fans who have endured so much to get to this point is glaring. In and out! In and out!
The cattle chutes are full of hundreds of people as they wait to have the opportunity to gain an autograph and have just a minute or two with an artist they admire. So many people and so long to wait. The guest is so tired as it is late afternoon and barely has the energy to acknowledge the hopeful. In and out! In and out! No time for anything. Here’s your signature. Here’s your photo. Move on.
I stop among the sea of people and it is as if I have stopped in the middle of a funnel cloud. It reminds me of the scene in the movie ‘Accepted’ with Justin Long when he sees all the students in a high-end college rushing here, rushing there but seemingly going nowhere. It is a very poignant scene and a scene that comes to my mind often as we all seem to rush to and from without any real place to go. All these people, all meandering, all searching for something. I personally don’t think they will find what they are looking for. Perhaps for a moment though the special commissioned art, the signed photo, the rare comic or the unique item that ties into a favorite TV show or movie will bring them happiness. Judging by the faces, that happiness was either fleeting or perhaps is belated hopefully waiting to appear after leaving the mass of sweating bodies, screaming vendors, the pushes and the shoves.
There is one thing though. For many, this was a day where they could express themselves freely and that truly was a beautiful thing.
- Father’s Day
- No More Lamentations