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Blowing Glass (Part 4)

June 4, 2016

On the way back we stopped at a little restaurant and had the best tacos ever. By the time we got into Sante Fe it was late afternoon. Mr. Houston said he wanted to have drinks on a rooftop or balcony and watch the sunset. He found several places to try in the old town. We headed back to the Super 8 to freshen.

I think it all started with the glass blowing. A series of weird communications began a spiral that ended with me crying in the bathtub of our Super 8 room.

Just before reaching the hotel Mr. Houston spotted a large import store and wanted to take a look. I wondered around the crafts and bought a tee tiny Mexican nativity seen in a little egg shape. Mr. Houston popped his head around the corner and said, “Come see,” with urgency. I followed around the back of the store to a small glass blowing studio. Mr. Houston wanted to take a one-time class but they weren’t having any that day. Instead a woman was giving him a demonstration. I ran back to the car to get my camera.

I’ve seen glass blowing before. It’s a fascinating process and it looks fun. But like all crafts, it can used to make chintzy crap or fine art. I’ve seen everything in between. I took pictures and watched Mr. Houston’s fascination as the artist from Minnesota made a hideous glass flower, explaining the process along the way. Then she made a cute little bird. Mr. Houston could see that I wasn’t as impressed as he was.

He got information about the next day’s class and we headed to the room. As he was ironing his shirt and I was primping, he kept singing the chorus from War’s song, “Why can’t we be friends.” Of course he has zero pitch and with the Indian accent it was quite amusing. He just kept blurting out the line over and over. “Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends?” I thought he had the song stuck in his head but it turns out, he was subtly posing the question to me. I pulled up on the song on youtube in the car and we listened to the whole thing.

He continued to extol the virtues of glass blowing. I just replied, “yeah, uh-huh.” I told him about artists like Dale Chihuly, who make pieces with glass and assemble them into larger works. I was trying not to be negative but the truth was I wasn’t impressed with the medium on its own, it was what you did with it that counted. Multi-colored, ugly glass flowers were boring to me.

We found a cute, hopping rooftop restaurant, ordered drinks and waited for a table to open. Mr. Houston started pitching the idea of a glass blowing studio to me. I don’t think he realized how common the art form is. We looked up a studio in Houston. He has a habit of taking what he thinks is a good idea and pushing it on the people around him. He did it to me once before with a self-help seminar. Now he was doing it with glass blowing.

“I have never been drawn to or wanted to engage in glass blowing as a form of artistic expression,” I told him. “It’s a fascinating process and it would fun to try, but it’s not my form of expression.”

That kind of shut him down but the evening was taking a decidedly negative tone. He segued into his poor opinion of a former employee who expected to be paid a lot and wrote bad, self-published poetry.

“Are you ok?” I asked.

“Yeah, why?” he answered.

“You seem kind of negative.” I don’t remember what his reply was.

Meanwhile, we were watching two sides of a weird staring contest between two men behind him and a couple behind me. Mr. Houston gave me the play by play on the couple and I told him what the two men were doing.

That part was fun.

I kept looking over at the sunset, hoping the scene would change the mood. I took some nice portraits of him. Once the sun went down, we headed out into the streets. Lots of shops were open and we stepped into the Silver Coyote.

It was run by a large, tall Palestinian. As soon as we walked in we became pawns for a little game he was playing with two older white women in the store. He watched me pick up a small, simple black piece of pottery. “How much is this?” I asked.

“For you? Ten dollars.”

“Oh, for me?” I said. Like I hadn’t heard that one before.

He brought over a silver bracelet with large turquoise pieces inlaid. The typical southwestern style that I never cared for.

“This for you, I make special deal.” he said in his Arabic accent. “Just forty dollars. For you, forty dollars,” he said loudly, placing the bracelet on my hand and looking over at the two women.

“No thanks,” I said. “If were five dollars I wouldn’t take it and it would end up in a garage sale. I don’t like that style.”

I was eyeing a dragonfly made of black stone. “How much is the dragonfly?” I asked.

Guess what he said? “For you! Forty dollars.” I asked him to take it out of the case.

He offered Mr. Houston a cow skull for $10, again all for show.

As soon as the women left and I was purchasing my little finds, he went off about the two women.

“I don’t need this. I don’t deal with rude people.” he bellowed. “You come to my shop you say oh…..I want this….you talk…you look, then you say, ‘I’ll think about it.’ Huh! I don’t need this. I’m rich man. I sell this piece for hundreds of dollars tomorrow.”

We laughed and engaged with this odd storeowner, then headed out in search of another bar.

 

 

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