I’m Someone!

The other day I was asked to give a short presentation at a meeting of the local study abroad professionals group, with people from universities and colleges all over the state. I arrived quite early, and when I introduced my self to a few people who where there already, they all asked me how long I’ve worked in the office, and when I said 6 years, several of them commented, “Oh, I’m surprised we haven’t met before.” I didn’t feel like going into the background, but the reason is that for 4 of those years I was in a more administrative position so didn’t really get my name out there in the field.

But as more people started to arrive, I recognized several of them, mostly people who had formerly worked in my office (we’re the largest office by far in the state) and had moved on to other jobs in the field, but also a couple of people I’d met in other capacities. I suddenly had an odd moment where I realized, “Hey, I know people!”

I had a similar, but even stronger, experience at Fest this summer. Every year, the Renaissance Festival forum I’m on has organized a Pirate Photo with all the pirates from the forum, and any other Fest pirates welcome as well. I am loosely affiliated with the big group of pirates at Fest, the Bloodwake, and in their Facebook group somebody asked when the Pirate Photo was going to be, but the RF forum hadn’t gotten around to planning it yet. So I initiated planning of the photo and acted kind of as a liaison between the RF forum peeps, the Bloodwake, and (some of) the pirates on cast. When the gathering was held, I found myself flitting between groups and talking with lots of people. Someone asked who organized it, and I was like, “Well, I guess I kind of did.” (But I left it to the Captain of the Bloodwake to herd the cats, so to speak. I am pretty much physically incapable of yelling loudly.) We did a big group shot, and then the Bloodwake wanted some shots of just their group and friends. I was chatting with Captain Drake, one of the pirates on cast, and didn’t go line up for the picture, and a bunch of the Bloodwake crew yelled, “Where’s Charlotte? Why isn’t Charlotte here? Hey, Charlotte, get yer arse over here!” (Charlotte is my character name at Fest.)

All of a sudden, I looked around and realized that I’m actually pretty widely known in the Fest community. I don’t know when this happened, but people know me. I’m “Someone.” I always kind of assume that I go relatively unknown in big communities… friends with a few people, or on the fringes of the group. So it was a strange feeling, but a nice one.

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Fest 2011: Closing Weekend and Post-Fest Reflections

Closing weekend was, as usual, bittersweet. I had a lot of fun, tons of hugs, and I left feeling satisfied, lonely, conflicted, relieved, happy, and sad.

First, a recap. Closing weekend is one of the two three-day weekends (the other is Labor Day weekend) because Fest is open on Friday for school groups to visit. I’d never been out there on Fest Friday before because I always have work and have never wanted to take a day off for it before, but I did this year and my spouse and I went out there and took the dog. There weren’t any other members of our troupe out, so we really didn’t have to do anything… I played a few songs on my flute, but other than that we just did some shopping and wandering around. A lot of kids wanted to pet the dog, so that was fine.

The big news on Friday, though, was the fire. It luckily happened early in the morning, around 6:30, and people were sleeping on site and woke up and called the fire department. It started in one of the food booths, and spread and destroyed 5 other booths. So Fest opened an hour late on Friday, and about a quarter of the grounds were fenced off for the investigation.

If it had to happen, it was the best possible time—if it had been the day before, it would have been much worse because we had 35mph winds, plus there would have been fewer people on site so it might have spread more. If it had been the next day, it would have affected Saturday, which is a much bigger attendance/sales day and would have been really bad for the shops in the fenced-off area.