NOTE: This post contains some adult language, please distribute only to appropriate parties.
I got up early this morning to head out to the Barnfire Swap, as these are sometimes rather sprawling events and I wanted to get a good spot. Turns out there were only eight of us total, and there was some general lamenting that it wasn't held earlier in the month--or even late last month--to get a better variety of swappable goods. Part of me thinks that's the reason I was invited in the first place, as most of the vagrants have already migrated out of the area and there are slim pickins left!
Either way, I had an enjoyable time, made some new friends and...most importantly...came out ahead!
I arrived with a large 111 oz tin of chili beans. That's right, I said 111 oz! Restaurant size! There were more than a few disappointed looks that I hadn't brought my bicycle Mathilda with me to swap away...I'm guessing that was another main reason I was invited to the event!
Anyway, here is a list from memory of the participants and their swap items.
Train Tom - 111 oz tin of beans
Ezra - Flute
Corncob - Sjambok (weapon)
Black man (didn't catch his name) - Electric razor
Yellow shirt man (didn't catch his name) - Pair of thick gloves
Finger Fuck - Down comforter, dirty but in good shape
Jake Brake - Box of eight Bernzomatic "wind resistant" lighters
Man with one shoe (didn't catch his name) - Umbrella
Beantown was the Swap Caller, so he didn't bring anything and we each paid him a quarter for his services.
From the moment I analyzed the field, I wanted those lighters. I figured of all the items there, they would be the ones that would serve me best through the coming months (matches can be so finicky in a strong midwest breeze).
For those of you who have never been at a swap meet, usually it will go that you pair up in groups of four, with a Swap Caller telling you when to swap. The swap caller decides when you switch groups. On a hard swap, you have to swap with one of those in your group. On a soft swap, you have the opportunity to keep what you currently have.
It was a little awkward, everyone kept vying for either the lighter or the gloves, and a few had a strategy because I guess they had been to a swap with Beantown calling before, so they thought they knew his system. But the good items kept ending up going back into circulation until the Final Swap, which in a Barnfire Swap Meet is called the "Late Hook".
When the Late Hook was called, I was holding the lighters. Since the Late Hook is always a hard swap, I knew I had no chance but to keep them. The gloves were in another group, so I scrambled to cut a quick deal with Corncob, who had the blanket. He gladly accepted, as you can imagine!
So, in the end, not a bad day. I had come across the beans for free (they've been expired for a while, but would still make a good three or four days worth of suppers!) and for them I got a nice blanket that I'm sure will serve me well this winter.
I'll get to try it out tonight...which is good, because I hear the temperatures are going to head south real quick later today!
I think everyone from the Swap besides Corncob (a permanent local resident) and Beantown are heading out tonight for the winter. Hopefully some of them will return in the spring, they seemed like a solid group.