For those of you who don’t know: My name is Alisa Starr. I make Snarky Cards: Brutally Honest Post Cards. Once I’ve got ’em made, I sell them in bars from a box that hangs beneath my boobs. They’ll crack you the fuck up. You can find them online or at these fine Portland Retailers.
OK. That was a horrible, scandalous lie, so that I would look good on The Internets. I didn’t sell that many cards. Mostly, I traded cards for whiskey. And it was hard. I think I didn’t realize before last night that approaching drunks and asking them if they’d like to buy your art is asking for a lot of rejection. Which can sting, if you’re not used to it. And after 3 months of holing up in my house, nursing my broken leg, getting stoned, watching Buffy and knitting, I’m not used to rejection anymore. So when a guy told me that “Card season is over”. It kind of surprised me. I sold these cards last year around this time. So that asshole is wrong. And was just blatantly making shit up so that he wouldn’t have to talk to me. The pre-broken Snarky Card Chick wouldn’t have let that slide. But I was…like…impotent.
And I kept using high-nervous-voice when I said “I was hoping I could show you my Brutally Honest Greeting Cards!”
After an hour I stopped trying to sell and I just started drinking. “I used to be good at this, right?” I asked The Cute Bartender. He nodded and looked surprised. “You used to own this room.” He told me emphatically. I looked at him nervously over whiskey #2. “Really?”
“Really.” He said firmly. I turned morosely to the cute boy next to me. The girl he’d been talking to got up off the stool and went to the bathroom. “You’re working her hard.” I told him drily when she was out of earshot. “What? Um, no. I have a girlfriend.” My face crumpled in disbeleif. “Shit! See? I can’t even read that! Ohmygod. My mojo is gone! I can’t even tell when people are flirting anymore. Shit! It’s like finding out you’re suddenly not good at sex!” I wailed. He grinned. “Oh. No. We were flirting. But, you know, it’s not going anywhere. I have a girlfriend.” I stared at him while he looked sheepish. Something inside of me clicked. I can tell when people are flirting still. I can even get them to confide in me. I’m not terrible at this.
I got up off the barstool and limped to the back room, where I hadn’t tried selling yet. And then things started looking up. Someone recognized me! Or at least, she knew my cards, and she looked at them and said “Gimme! I wanna see what you’ve got!” And then I was surrounded by people squealing and laughing while they read my art. And all was right with the world. Later, a cute boy spent an hour working his cheesy-ass game on me. It’s been so long since I’ve heard cheesy bar game, that it worked! And I got laid.
So, it was not the triumphant return to the bar that I expected. It turns out that my job is hard. And it takes skill. You have to have the right tone. You have to be able to read people. You have to be grateful. And you have to be ok with people telling you “No!” a lot. Most of which I was not, last night. I was nervous. I was scared. I was worried that the Universe broke my leg because it wanted me to stop selling my cards in bars.
But, I think the Universe broke my leg for other reasons. And while I didn’t make as much money as I would have liked, eventually, it got easier. And I realized: I can remember how to do this. My leg is healed. I can go back to my old life. So, thanks to the Bonfire, and The Cute Bartender, and the boy who had sex with me and the people who traded me Snarky Cards for whiskey. You reminded me that I’m still Super. Even though I got broken.