I floated into uncharted waters again this past Saturday.
I attended my first gun show.
I wasn't really shopping for anything; I just thought it would be fun. It's the middle of winter after all; I couldn't play kickball in the street with the neighborhood kids.
Besides, my buddy Jeff -- an inveterate gun-show attendee -- was looking for someone to tag along with him. Hey, that's the kind of pal I am.
We met at a nearby strip center where I left the supercharged Range Rover I am driving this week and piled into Jeff's truck.
Admission was a reasonable $7 and someone was passing out one-dollar-off coupons at the door. What a bargain!
Our well-intention plan to park for free was foiled, though, by alert parking attendants who had blocked off the grassy area near the back lot where Jeff usually parks. We took a five buck hit on that.
Five bucks seems to be the magic amount for parking in Greenville. Despite all manner of free parking downtown, there are a few privately run lots that charge to park. Whether they are near the ball field or on Main Street, the price is $5.
I had come from the gym and was in sweatpants and a long-sleeve shirt. It was about a seven-minute walk from the lot to the convention center hosting the show. As we approached, we saw that there was a line of probably 300 people waiting to get in. I wasn't dressed to stand in the cold for 30 minutes.
I had no idea if this was normal; Jeff insisted it wasn't.
We took our place at the rear of the line. A veteran of Disney World, I am familiar with lines. This one moved with all the slug-like speed of a Disney World line and contained about as many kids.
My damp shirt was no match for the lake-effect-like wind whipping through the crowd. Our conversation went something like this:
"Crap, it's cold!"
"Yeah; this is the longest line I've ever seen here."
"What's up with all the kids?"
"No idea. Man, this line is long."
"Wow, that wind is really cold."
"I've never seen the line this long."
"Why would you bring all these little kids to a gun show?"
"Beats me. Jeez this line is long."
We had advanced about five feet.
Finally Jeff looked around and said he'd be right back.
He slid in a side door and was gone for two or three minutes. Sticking his head out the door, he motioned me in.
Apparently this convention center was also hosting some sort of dinosaur exhibit for kids. Because we had come in the back way, we must have missed whatever signage the convention center had provided instructing people where to go for what.
Although there were a few kids at the gun show, the 250 of them standing in the line we were in were there for the dinosaurs.
Their parents could have saved themselves some money by just pointing us out to their kids.
The gun show was fun, but after about three hours of wandering around, my feet were sore and my eyes were bloodshot. I was ready to head out.
It's coming back the last weekend of March; I will probably go again. Hopefully the dinosaurs will be gone by then.