There are too many big-picture worries that I can do nothing about: Iran’s acquisition of nukes, civil war in Iraq and the Philippines, bird flu, an Arab takeover of our ports, global warming, trade and budget deficits (with mankind about to re-enter the Dark Ages, one wonders why the Dow is near its five-year high) that you just have to close the lid on the laptop, turn off the news, and go to the annual home and garden show.
The San Mateo Expo Center, like the Bay Meadows race track next door, has seen better days. With million-dollar condos springing up around them, both facilities are being eyed by developers and may be gone within a decade. The Peninsula Home and Garden Show fits in with the ambience of the Expo Center's mid-20th century architecture: garden gnomes and tree experts mingled with demonstrations of the latest kitchen gizmos that we can’t live without.
The H&GS occupies that niche halfway between the flea markets and the mega-trade shows, e.g., electronics, auto, aircraft, where manufacturers introduce their latest products. (There was nothing cutting-edge here, unless one is referring to ginsu knives.) We listened to lectures on the merits of organic fertilizer, whirlpool baths, solar panels, and artificial grass that looks like the real thing without the muss and fuss. There were no booth babes to distract the audience from the message, not that the graying attendees---and I say this wistfully as one of them—would be much interested in those distractions anyway.
What did interest me were the bath, patio, and window displays. We picked up some brochures and started to sketch out how much all the improvements we desired might cost us. Despite the Dow coming back, retirement will have to wait several more years. © 2006 Stephen Yuen