Saturday, October 01, 2005

Night out

Well I unexpectedly spent the evening in town last night. I went in to do my banking and discovered it was Last Friday, an event they have in the summer months. It was odd but interesting.

I stopped in first at the Irish Pub, as I usually do after my monthly jaunt to the bank. I met a beer rep who was going to be conducting a beer tasting at the wine shop down the street so I hung out in town until it started. High alcohol beer has only just become legal here so they were highlighting special brews. In the interim I toured the scene. They block off part of the major side artery in town and there was a really good blues band.

I started at the new, used bookstore that just opened up. The stock was still pretty thin and the books weren't marked so I didn't get a sense of pricing but it looks like it has some promise. I almost bought a book on Tolkien that I had never seen before but didn't want to carry it around. I have a feeling it will still be there when I go back.

The street was lined with booths and food stands. Most of the booths featured cheesy costume jewelry, you know what I mean, it's not indivdual handcrafted pieces, but rather hand strung beads with cheap findings. There was one couple selling slippers that were probably imported from India. They looked really uncomfortable. There was one artist who was actually quite good, selling little line drawings. No one was doing much trade.

In contrast, the food booths were doing a brisk business. The Boy Scouts were selling cobblers and there were a couple of barbecue stands that smelled good but I didn't try. As I made my way past the bustling kid's activities table I ran smack into the mayor. The last corner was for politicians. He was a jerk and actually told me I should move back up north when he figured out he wasn't going to be selling me a $200,000 house and I expressed surprise at the way the local government works here. I was shocked to learn I'm not allowed to vote in town because I'm outside the "city limits." My only local representation is by county commissioner.

I guess he didn't like the rest my questions either. He's pitching for his fifth term but when I asked him, repeatedly, what the mayor actually does, he didn't have an answer. It would appear the mayor does nothing but attend ceremonial functions. They have a town manager to run things and it appears they also have some kind of local council. He's a lifelong townie and a pork politician. Didn't like him at all and if I had a vote, I would vote against him. However, I can't deny he was polite. He was clearly champing to go mingle among the crowd but didn't leave until I gave him a gracious out. I have to admit I continued the conversation longer than I might have, just to torture him.

I got to the beer tasting late and met one of the co-owners of the store, a tiny and charming young woman. I'm glad I went because they're about to discontinue the beer tastings and I don't drink wine, so I might never have gone in otherwise. They had an astounding selection of wine, but of more interest to me was their beer room. That's the one thing that's difficult to get here. They don't have package stores for beer, you get it in the grocery, the selection is horrible and real beer is quite expensive. This place has a decent assortment of beers, many of which I had never tried before and at better prices than the local Food Lion. I'm glad to find another local business to support.

Now if someone would just open up a decent deli, I'd be all set.


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