Renaissance Man

25 Aug

Let’s see. So yesterday was the Renaissance festival. We had to meet Jeremy and Amber at 7:45AM, at their apartment,so we could move the carseat to their car, pile in, and go. Renee is not really good at forward motion, when we’re leaving the house (she finds so many billions of things to do) so I stressed that we got to their apartment at 8. It was a moot point, since they weren’t ready to go until 8:30. *shakes head* This is fairly typical, in that I get nervous about being somewhere on-time, and everyone I know sort of treats things like time as being a sort of affable guideline.

So we left. Not much traffic. got to Renaissance Festival, not much traffic there neither, but that was okay. We were early. We were bustled in. I gave my ticket to a person who wore a tall, pointed red hat, made out of felt and held together with a safety pin. “I shall recognize your ticket with my Gnome technology!” She declared to me. “I always suspected there were Gnomic lasers,” I returned. And she beeped me in.

I have never been to a Renaissance Festival before. I was looking forward to it. The tricky bit was that it was hilly and unpathed, of course, but the paths were strewn with woodchips and small rocks. Try moving a stroller across that for eight hours…

First thing in the door, a girl leaning over a counter was shouting “HOT TEA! GITCHER HOT TEA! HOT TEA SERVED HEEE-YAH!” and so forth. EVERYONE shouts what they’re selling. i like that. I wish that happened more in real life. I urgently wanted a cup of tea, having failed to have one before we left. But glancing over the lady and looking at her tea, I noted that I would be paying $3.75 for a small cup of hot water with a Tazo Brand Tea bag in it. This was disappointing, although I don’t know what I expected. I didn’t really think she’d be making me a proper Medieval cup of tea (would it be workman’s tea, what you could stand a spoon up in, guv, not ‘alf, old duck?).

Wandered on. I like the costumes. I like that people dress up, even when they do it badly. I am of the opinion that a pair of fairy wings, a costume that lends confidence, and intricately done hair can transform a dowdy, overweight, uncomfortable girl into someone who is vivacious and alluring. I got the sense that she (being a generality of shes encountered through the day) was not that way in the rest of life. But so what. Here, in a costume, it’ll be fun.

SOME people dress in costumes and look interesting and fantastic and imaginative. OTHER people dress in costumes and look…homeless.

Lunch was a gigantic turkey leg, cooked in grain beer. I guess I’m just boring, but Giant Turkey Leg is a pretty poor lunch for me. I had some of it. Er. I then ate nothing else for six hours, which was probably a mistake, in that running on four bites of turkey is unwise when you’re in the hot hot sun all day.

We saw a stage show, but no on purpose. We were standing near the place where the show was, and the guy came down and heckled us. And then heckled the crowd waiting for the show, indicating that WE were holding it all up. I waved at fifty people and said “I am really holding the show up. Hello!” and then, under further heckling, we sat down.

The show was amusing, when it wasn’t interminable.

More wandering. Saw a collection of Basque dancers, which was surprising, because I didn’t know we had a Basque community anywhere here. We did in Nevada, certainly, a big one. And then, thirty seconds after I noted that a number of gentlemen with beautiful sets of bagpipes were approaching…eight men with bag pipes, several more with drums, all clustered together and played Scotland the Brave loud enough to bust eardrums. There’s no quiet setting on bagpipes.

I seriously love bagpipes. I think you haven’t really lived, until a big collection of men in kilts have blared Scotland the Brave at you relentlessly. I was really happy after that.

Later, walking through the crowd, I saw a man with a full-sized harp, playing Greensleeves, and that just broke my heart. The man was old and whispy and had the brightest blue eyes of anyone I’d ever seen, and his accent, when he spoke, was Welsh. Seriously Welsh, too, as in From-Wales. He was charm itself, I spoke to him for just a moment to tell him how pretty the music was, and he said thank you and wished me a very fine day. I wish I could’ve just sat down with him for an hour and chatted.

Still later, I saw an old woman who played something Beethoven (I don’t remember what, and youtube doesn’t have a “whistle the tune and I’ll tell you what it is” feature) on a fiddle, and that was gorgeous too.

I saw a psychic who offered “Handwriting analysis” which I didn’t do, but actually wanted to, just out of sheer curiosity. She was about four feet tall and old, old, old, and so hunched in on herself under her tent and surrounded by pillows, she looked like she was going to just sink away and vanish if nobody watched her. I wonder what she would’ve said about my handwriting? “You are probably a doctor, or illiterate.”

We watched a parade, full of bagpipes and flutes and trumpets and jugglers and lords and ladies, elegantly done up, and shambling beggars and a Jester who only whistled and had clearly ripped off Harpo Marx (there was no sense that he was affectionately doing it…Jeremy pointed out how hilarious he was at every festival, but mostly, he just looked like a bad mimic).

Then, insult tennis. I was infomed that this would be the high point of my life by the man next to me, who was drunk and smoked heavily the whole time. Two teams of two stood, one to each side of a “net” line made of people sitting down. And they hurled insults back and forth until one team was declared winner. It was amusing, in bits. Things like “Yer mom is so loose, she had a bigger opening than The Dark Knight!”. Laughed at the time.

Other things happened. After this bit, I was starting to get a bit fuzzy in the head, and tired.

Oh, shopping.

Here is how you shop at a Festival. You go up to a shop/booth and look at an item that you are particularly impressed with, because it is beautiful. And then you look at the price tag. And then you go “HOW MUCH and I could feed a country of HOW MANY? for the cost of this fairly small mug made of polished wood????” and then, when your brain has recoverd, you walk away and fail to buy anything at all.

That seemed to be the common method for about everyone there, in that everything is priced clearly higher than what anyone intends to spend. A wooden mug, which was gorgeous, was eighty-five dollars. It had better be wood from a World Tree for that kind of money. He had a larger one for a hundred and eighty-five, which is absurd.

As a result, I purchased neither teapot, teamug, journal, nor pen. And there WERE some pretty journals. Everyone kept telling me, “They make paper here! See, go up there, she’s making paper,” and I kept patiently explaining “No, she’s pulping paper into…paper. Trust me, if she were MAKING paper, it would be the only thing at this Festival you could smell.”

Walking past the carnival section, a large woman with enormous…tracts…of land…(in between which she kept her change-making money) came over and indicated a booth where you hit a thing with a hammer and try to get the little metal thing to go all the way to the top and hit the bell. “Fancy a go, luvvy?” She said to us.

We smiled nicely and said no, thank you, we were probably too small and wee-weedy-weaky to do anything like that. But she nudges me…er, in the sense that a wrecking ball nudges buildings, and says “C’mon, Weasley, you, me, a big ‘ammer, Oi’ll maker man outta yer!”

And you had to be there but, through sheer force of personality and abuse, she essentially yelled us — five grown men — into paying her two dollars for the privelege of playing the hammer game, for no prize if we won and heckling if we lost. So Renee and Amber sat on a log in the shade and fed Zach and laughed at us. Ahead of us were two men, very muscular, who hit the bell with impunity every time. And then us lot.

…I am proud to say that out of all of us, me being the shortest and smallest of us…I got highest. I didn’t hit the bell. But I got higher than every one of my friends. So THAT’S all right. 🙂

Other stuff happened. I don’t think any of it was interesting. And then we left. And I spent the rest of the night with my brain working like a TV tuned to a static channel. I am also bright, bright, bright red (except where my watch was). My face hurts when I make expressions. I’m going to go to class tomorrow looking like a stoner surfer dude.

And that was the Renaissance Festival.


Posted by on August 25, 2008 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Renaissance Man

  1. tjwriter

    August 28, 2008 at 9:25 am

    It was an experience at the very least. Maybe not something to do all the time, but something to check out every now and again.

  2. Pete Tzinski

    August 30, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I was grumbling to Kristine about this, but I really wish the vendors had all been selling things for prices human beings could afford. I would rather see people going around with interesting, unique things they’d bought from individual craftsmakers and vendors, than walking around with little pewter steins and statues because they were made by a company and thus, affordable.

    I enjoyed it. And it was nice to get out in the sun. And my sunburn is just now starting to go away.


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