The Crazy Train — Pt. 2

We found the ever-elusive parking spot in the outdoor lot and climbed out of the car. Immediately, both kids began a game to see who could contract the most diseases by touching every metal signpost, fire hydrant, bike rack, and garbage can in sight. 

At least they weren’t licking them. 

Never mind. Spoke to soon. 

After I finished laying down the ground rules — touching ok, licking not — we continued our adventure to find my artist wife’s white tent in a sea of white, art-fair tents. 

The Whyte Avenue Art Walk is a summertime staple in Old Strathcona — one of Edmonton’s oldest and most historic neighbourhoods.

Art Walks aren’t exclusive to the western Canadian prairie though. They pop up in cities across North America — Los Angeles, Miami, and Seattle are among the heavyweights — and are wonderful places filled with incredible artists.

On the surface, the Edmonton version is an event that should leave artists haggard, frazzled, and tired. And it certainly does. Beneath the surface, it also leaves significant others, kids, and those who live with said artists on the verge of crazy. 

At least, that’s what it does to our family. 

You see, for the week leading up to Art Walk, our house is a hot mess — not just our kitchen table. But it’s all in the name of marketing and selling her art. That’s the name of the game and the whole family plays their part. 

The week, of course, always culminates in my wife steadfastly manning her tent, trying to entice every last sale from passers-by. 

Meanwhile, the kids and I always pop by. But never empty-handed. We always bring a 20-piece Chicken McNugget meal — her favorite fast food — to be her lunch and snack. 

On this visit to the art walk, the kids decided to play their game; much to my chagrin. 

The week was already crazy enough. I didn’t need them contracting who knows what from whatever germs might be on these metal signposts, fire hydrants, bike racks, and garbage cans. 

As our adventure to find her tent dragged on, their game continued. 

As their game continued, my irritation grew. 

As my irritation grew, the crazy train barreled ever closer to the station. 

… Don’t ask me how you declare a winner in a race to the bottom of germ mountain…

Finally, as the kids inevitably began arguing over who was winning (don’t ask me how you declare a winner in a race to the bottom of germ mountain), the train screeched into the station. 

I stopped dead in my tracks. I spun around. 

The kids, behind me, immediately froze. 

Eye contact was instant. 

The game was over. 

After the week that was, dad’s patience had finally run out. 

Nothing needed to be said. 

We continued on in relative silence, save for the noises of the art walk around us. 

As we reached her tent, I placed her McNuggets on her table, gave her a kiss, turned around, and headed for the car with the kids in tow. 

Nothing needed to be said. She knew. I knew. The kids knew. 

The crazy train was in the station for another year, and tomorrow everything would be back to normal. 

That walk back to the car was bliss; the most calm I’d had all week.

Read It Again

1 Comment

  1. Carolyn

    Great read Conal. Obviously only a wonderful parent can control their kids with only a look After putting up with the contest as long as you could