Tuesday, May 06, 2008

my new favorite mississippi moment

This afternoon, I went out to a friend's country property to help critique the site-specific sculptures her students had produced out there. About every ten minutes, she would warn us of some new danger. Watch out for snakes! Oh yeah, and the brown recluse spiders. Next it was fire ants, and then the poison ivy and the slippery muddy swampy bits. Seriously, why do people even LIVE in the country? It's freakin dangerous. And there are bitey things.

So, one of the students had accidentally placed her piece outside of the friend's property, in her neighbor's field. The field was right next to the driveway, just a chunk of field, nothing much happening. She dug a hole, inserted a 10' I-beam, and attached on top a ring of metal (imagine a really big iron stop sign, only with a ring instead of a circle). There's another piece on the ground that fell off during installation, but that's neither here nor there.

What *is* important is that the neighbor came rolling up as we were all standing around, having just finished critiquing the work. He was the very picture of a pissed-off redneck, in his ginormous crew-cab pickup truck and his triplet-sized beer-belly. He was on the phone until he stopped the truck, then got off the phone and started snapping pictures of us with it. He shouted "Do you all know what you're doing out here?" Which, to my mind, is a dumb-ass question. Anyway. My friend walks over to chat with him, and tells us to go back to the house, since we're done with the critique. A few of us kind of linger around for a few minutes, because he really seems pretty pissed. She looks around, says, no, she's fine, head on back, and we mosey back slowly.

Ten minutes later she returns. What's the deal, we ask? This is rich. Wait for it.

He was convinced we were performing a Satanic Ritual on his property and was outraged. Yes. He thought that it was an Satanic symbol of some kind and we were out there sacrificing goats or whatever the hell. As soon as he said that, she knew it would be fine and she'd be able to calm him down, because it was so freakin absurd. Look, he was DEAD SERIOUS. Somebody had called him and told him that satanists were preparing to worship the devil on his land.

I mean, I must've laughed for ten minutes straight when I realized what he was so het up about. Satanic Rituals! On his PROPERTY! Goldangit! Do you people realize what you are doing? I'm surprised he didn't launch into a preachin'.

So that was the surreal end to my very sweaty, swampy, buggy, arty afternoon.


Michele said...

Too bad there was any sort of goat-motif on the piece. Great story!

Michele said...

rather, too bad there was NOT any sort of goat-motif on the piece... Ugh.