I always start feeling melancholy around the time of the Telegraph Avenue Christmas Street Fair. Remembering all the years. . .
For 15 years the Telegraph Avenue Christmas Street Fair was at the center of my universe. From 1990 to 2004, Duncan and I co-published the Telegraph Street Calendar. And we sold most of them at the Street Fair. We could always tell, the first day of the Fair, whether we had a hit or a bomb. If the potential-customer picked up the Calendar and gleefully leafed through every page from beginning to end, we knew we had a hit. But if they leafed through a couple pages and then put it back down we knew we were in trouble.
The Telegraph Avenue Christmas Street Fair was especially exciting, because the crowds, the energy and the excitement would build up every day. And it always came to a frothy peak the day before the day before Christmas (the day right before Christmas would start out fast but then die early as everyone went home to start their holiday).
You’d see all the other vendors on the last day of the Fair as they packed up their tables for the last time. And they were mostly exhausted but exhilarated, with big wads of cash in their pockets. That was always the special time for me and Duncan. That special satisfaction that comes from hard work and a job well done. As it started to get dark and the frenzy abated, we’d sit there quietly smoking our cigarettes and sipping our beers as we listened to Christmas music on the radio. It was kind of like that after-glow that you get after having good sex.
I thought it would never end. That me and Duncan would keep doing the Telegraph Avenue Christmas Street Fair forever.
I guess that was a stupid thing to think.