Friday, November 19, 2004

Completely Awesome Temp Job Report, Part III

I now understand the Influx of the Undatable, a subspecies of humanity only seen in The Swamp and possibly one or two other convention-rich cities. Conferences like this just absolutely sewer them in from across the fruited plane. It takes enormous balls or enormous idiocy or both to hit on a person hurling a T-shirt at you; this did not stop the upstanding fifty-six-year-olds of the Athletic Business Conference from receiving, in addition to their complimentary pickle-vomit green T-shirts, an absolutely free “the only reason I’m letting you breathe in front of me is because I am being paid $10.50 an hour to do so” facial expression.

There were lulls in between registration waves, leaving time to stare at the ricecake-colored walls engaged in The Expression of the Temp (“I am so glad I put myself into crushing student debt for this.”) At one point my co-worker Mel and I managed to escape long enough to troll the trade show floor. The vendors greeted us cheerfully as we passed; we responded by stealing pens. Blue pens! Black pens! Pens with a coiled spring for a body! We took them all! Marketing, f-yeah!

Mel shoplifted a mint from a soccer ball distributor. And paid for it. “What th—“ he said, spitting it onto a display of basketball nets. I pointed, and laughed, for what did the man expect, actually putting into his mouth food obtained at a trade show for athletic equipment? The artificial turf samples probably tasted better.

(Favorite trade show vendor: As we approached, we saw just a world-endingly enormous ceiling fan suspended from the ceiling, and agreed that it was, in fact, a big ass fan. Imagine our delight when we got to the booth and found it occupied by a company entitled Big Ass Fans. They had bumper stickers. We took four.)

We wandered past a mammoth treadmill that clearly needed its own land permit and an exercise bike apparently capable of launching the space shuttle. Past the Treadmill That Ate Tampa was the answer to a ponderous life question that I didn’t even know I had: If you really needed to buy a scoreboard the size of Montana, where would you go? Mel and I found an entire catalogue of vendors: Pixilated, flat screen, retractable, four-color.

Mel stood before one that featured simulated crowd noise. “I’ve got one of those on my headboard at home,” he told me. Yes, but did it come with a pen?

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