I've never had anything quite like it. For sheer complexity, it was...insane. The demented love-child of Perdido Street Station and Kushiel's Dart. It was like reading a particularly bizarre novel. (Really, REALLY like reading it. As in, when the dream finished, there was a page of advertisements for the other two books in the trilogy, the second one of which was titled "Hittide," and was apparently a combination of "Hittites" and "tide." Alas, I didn't see the title of the third.)
The fetish fair was interesting. Very small, very local, so nothing huge in the way of selection, but entertaining enough in its own way. It's things like this that remind me of that great truth--all fandoms are the same. Doesn't matter if you're into anime, furries, or Japanese rope bondage. Fandom is fandom. (Actually, I have a theory that the less mainstream and wholesome the fandom, the nicer the people tend to be. I have never heard anything good about the model horse fandoms, dog show people are notoriously crazed, and I have it on good authority that miniature collectors are as nutty as anybody, but furries and fetishists, at least, tend to have the same vague sense of good-natured solidarity--we're all nomads wandering a vast wasteland, so when we all get together at the oasis, everybody better bloody well be polite. On the other hand, take that with a grain of salt--people do tend to be nice to attractive redheads with an expression of wide-eyed astonishment, so my data may be skewed.)
Such events are best attended in company. When you are gazing at an automatic spanking machine, a lovely example of geektech and the home inventor, and you absolutely HAVE to say "Next week, on a very special episode of "Robot Wars"..." you want somebody standing there who'll make a snarfing noise and have to take a moment to compose themselves. And of course, sometimes you have to ask "Okay....is this a prop for something I just can't even conceive of, or are these actually potholders?" (They were actually potholders. Thank god.)
I always come out of these events feeling vaguely like Margaret Mead in Hell. My inner anthropologist is scribbling notes like a fiend. My inner snark can't get the jokes out fast enough.The rest of my brain sort of loiters around with its hands stuffed in its pockets and occasionally mutters "Oh...my...god...." and gazes at the ceiling.
No, I didn't buy anything. I am arguably broad-minded enough to find some of the offerings entertaining in proper company, but lacking such, and with few prospects on the immediate horizon, laying out cash on items that one would hardly use solo struck me as an act of--pardon the pun--self-flagellation. (Ha! You know, when the children's book finally comes out--June of '08--I'm SO gonna have to start another blog so that I can keep making jokes like this...) Nor did I purchase a raffle ticket. The rather large St. Andrew's cross getting raffled off dissuaded me. Much like the "Win This Pony!" raffle at the fair, that's one that you don't dare enter out of fear of winning. I mentally ran through my list of broad-minded friends with trucks---"Hmm, there's--no, I'd sooner chew ground glass. I could call--HELL NO, that's not a conversation I'm gonna have. Hmm. Well, Mike and Amy are nice people, I suppose if I explained that it was an accident and offered to buy 'em a pizza....or I could see if it'd fit in Larry's van...Maybe I could claim it was a type of easel. You know, let's just not buy a raffle ticket..."*
And while I...suppose...it's good to know that if I ever wish to redo the bedroom in Modern Dungeon Chic, I can keep the eye-searing color scheme (and believe me, "Dude, that flogger matches my bedroom set..." is not a thought I expected to EVER cross my mind, and god, why did I attend this thing on the day my mother gets her internet back and is probably reading my blog again for the first time in weeks? Err...hi, Mom...?) and no, I had no idea they could hand-dye rope, let alone in pink and saffron but...no. Just...no.
And that I found myself having this mental conversation at all is alarming, and probably a sign that I need to go do some work until my brain settles down a bit.
*Of course, my traitorous brain immediately chimed in with "But think what a blog entry that would be!" but was shouted down.