I’d been back to selling hemp jewelry regularly for over a month, and not a single person had snickered when I said the word “hemp” or asked about smoking a necklace. I was beginning to think people had become more informed, that maybe hemp had taken a step or two into the mainstream. However, on a cold afternoon, I found there were still misperceptions about the fiber.
The first shoppers were a mother and teenage daughter, both tall and blond and from Oklahoma, it turned out.
(Sidenote: The majority of people from Oklahoma I’ve met at the Bridges act as if they are on their first trip away from the farm. Old people, middle-age people, young people, kids…trying to get any sort of conversation out of folks of any age from Oklahoma is usually like trying to pull teeth out of a firmly champed shut mouth.
Me: Where are y’all from?
OK Tourist: (Long Pause) Oklahoma.
Me: Oh, cool. Are you enjoying your vacation?
OK Tourist: (Long Pause) Yes.
Me: I made all the jewelry on the table.
OK Tourist: (Long Pause) (Silence)
Me: All the bracelets and necklaces are made from hemp.
OK Tourist: (Long Pause) That’s…in-ter-esting.
It’s maddening. And forget about making a sale to 95% of Oklahoma tourists.
Of course, there have been some exceptions. There were two lovely fat women who bought four necklaces from me one summer afternoon and offered to take care of my not-very-nice ex-boyfriend if he ever bothered me again. There was the rock guy I met at the Bridge who eventually supplied me with ammonites, and the fused glass artist I bought pendants from. There seems to be some sort of renaissance of cool going on in Tulsa, and in fact, all the folks I just mentioned did live in Tulsa. The visitors from the rest of the state seem to have a very difficult time mustering up any personality.)
So the mother and daughter walked up to my table and were exhibiting enough personality that I didn’t immediately peg them as Oklahomans. (Maybe they were from Tulsa.)
When I told them the bracelets and necklaces were made from hemp, they started giggling. The mom said to the daughter, I’ll eat it and you can smoke it!
I said, You can smoke it if you want to, but it will probably only make you cough. If you want to get high, Colorado’s right over there, and I pointed in the general direction of the state where recreational marijuana is legal.
That’s where we just came from! the teenager exclaimed. She (the girl gestured to her mother) kept saying she was going to buy me a brownie. (More giggling…)
You have to be careful with those brownies. They’ll get you real high, I told them. I think I scandalized them a little. I don’t think they planned to talk to someone with real life pot brownie experience.
They giggled some more, and I asked them where they were from. They said Oklahoma, and I realized they were more interested in giggling about hemp than buying any. I didn’t even try to explain the differences between marijuana and hemp. It seemed like a lost cause.
Not very long after that a young man in his mid-20s was at my table with his mother. When I said the bracelets and necklaces were made from hemp, the young man picked up a necklace and sniffed it. I’ll give him credit for doing something I’d never seen anyone do before.
I might have given him a strange look (although I swear I was trying to be cool), because he said, You said it was made from hemp, that’s why I smelled it.
Natural hemp (undyed and not manufactured to be totally uniform and soft) does have a particular scent, a bit like hay, I think. But I don’t know if that was the smell the guy expected to encounter or if he expected the necklace to smell flowery like marijuana. I didn’t ask. I was too cold and too tired to go into educator mode.
To learn more about hemp, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/19/hemp-2/.
To read more about customers, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/05/we-feel-for-your-situation/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/10/red-letter-day-2/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/09/26/turtle-ass/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/14/mean-daddy/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/03/17/how-much-are-these/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/12/hard-times-on-the-highway/