Despite the camera ready iPhone in my pocket, I took no photos. There was a feeling that nothing on film or memory card could sufficiently convey the cheap nightmare quality of my outing to Daytona’s huge weekend flea market.
It is spread over a vast area, probably five or six acres of merchandise that in my opinion would make an excellent bonfire. I suppose it really shouldn’t surprise me what people will buy. Ashtrays molded out of beer cans, keychains in the shape of names spelled out in pink and aqua plastic, baseball caps completely covered in sequins, cut rate make up and perfume, bundles and bundles of ugly socks, embarrassing sea shell “art” and other countless tables of rubbish. At each intersection are stalls selling funnel cake, corn dogs, curly-Q French fries and Coca Cola.
Off in one corner—a relatively small area compared to the acres of carnival goods—is a meager offering of fresh fruit and vegetables. But look at the prices and you’d think you had just crossed over to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Why would anyone buy a basket of bruised peaches for $24.00?
I located the information booth to ask about fountain pens and books, but I might have gotten more information about spacemen and life on Mars had I asked. The lady didn't know what a fountain pen is, but said I might try Edna’s Jewelry Art on aisle D2.
Did I mention the heat? Within ten minutes my shirt was sweat soaked and perspiration dripping from my face. There are huge fans all about, but they do little more than blow hot air and spread the smell of popcorn and cotton candy. Add to that the generously proportioned people filling plastic shopping bags with funnel cake and painted seashell ashtrays, pushing a baby carriage and trailed by four juniors. You would think that people shopping for a tattoo would opt for an air conditioned place, but I noticed four different open-air tattoo stands.
I could take no more after forty-five minutes and turned for the exit. It took me another thirty minutes to locate my parking area and walk to my sun baked car. On the way I passed a man playing show tunes on an amplified electric violin.
Try to imagine hell.