okay, so I just told you about my 4th. It was great.
On Saturday, me and the squeeze met up with my future sister-in-law and her beau for a day at the Renaissance Festival. Haven't been there in about 5 years so it was time.
What a great day it was too, the weather was warm but not bone-meltingly hot. It rained twice for about 3 minutes each time and I wore EXACTLY the right shoes.
I was struck especially hard this year by the extremes to which most of the hard-core Ren-Fest'ers will take their costumery. There they were, just walking around in broad daylight with a self-satisfied glow of superiority about them. There they were, BARELY covered in what must have been some generously re-inforced faux fur wraps and bras. No really. Faux fur bras. Barbarians I guess. I saw a few piratey folks all decked out in their dusty polyester halloween costumes and one or two black-cloaked deaths. It's already hard enough to take a teenager seriously - but most especially when he's wearing a somber black polyester robe with a hood and a tinfoil sword.
It was kids day too, so the kiddumses were all trolluped up as well. I saw lots of Disney princesses and pint-sized pirates. They had glittery face paint and hair bows and wooden axes and big strawberry ice-cream smears everywhere. Over the course of the day we walked past a LOT of tantrums.
So I guess there are three kinds of Ren.Fest participants these days. There you have the "devil may care" costumers with not a wit of an inclination towards historical accuracy (no, just because your boobs are falling out of your lacy-pillowcase-turned-blouse does NOT make you a princess of a bygone day - it just makes you jiggly and me uncomfortable). There you have the t-shirts and jeansers, who not only admire the GOOD costumes but are also made constantly uncomfortable by the bad ones. Or mostly constantly. It's eerie how quickly one gets used to the wierd-ness out there. And then there are the sugarbuzzed, dehydrated kids in electric shoes and last year's princess costumes. I can't tell who the festival is really FOR anymore (except for "duh" everyone). Think about it, it's not that educational, laden with overpriced and syrupy goodness at every turn, and there are nowhere-else-on-earth sparkly things in every nook of every cranny. Swords, lawn ornaments, ceramics and hammocks. Not exactly stuff I would expect after, say, using a time machine... but stuff that no festival of this nature should be without.
There was a time when I'd be all over that whole inacuraccy thing, but now (as I obviously bring it up a billion times in a row) it's less of a thing to wag my finger at and more of just part of the experience. The Renaissance Festival is just a field full of weird people behaving absurdly and we all pay for the privilege and at the end of the day we happily promise ourselves to do it again. Someday. It's a great way to bring daily life into perspective and it's an awesome springboard for the realization that maybe it's okay to not take yourself so seriously all the time. So what if you can see her butt? She's wearing a faux fur... something... and brandishing a sword and shouting ARRRGH at complette strangers who are responding ARRRRGH in turn and when she goes back to her day job on Monday she'll still secretly be the triumphant... whatever... and I'll only be the person who stood there and looked at her. There's something very important about that. Grown men with screwball beards in mardi-gras jester hats and corsetted grandmothers with boobs you could set your martini on... They'll go about the rest of their year having actually been the people they were portraying and I'll only be the person who looked.
It's so true of many social gathering places that you go there to see and be seen. There are few places where this is more evident than at the Renaissance Festival.
There is something very important about that.
(okay, and I'll have you know that I was wearing jeans. Plain old jeans and a regular shirt. And hiking boots. LORD what a good idea to wear hiking boots.)