How would I describe the Renaissance Fair? Enchanting, fairylike, full of weird people. The place where the inhabitants of Chekhov’s Ward No. 6 would feel at home, because they would share it with the grandmas with wings and the flower headbands, the mermaids with naked “oversize” bellies, the princesses with tattoos, the robin hoods, the musketeers, and the classy ladies with the parasols drinking beer from the plastic cups. And then this peaceful grandma with the butterfly wings would step by the knife/sword shop, admiring the weaponry, its superb sharpness and craftsmanship, and discussing how she liked to share her passion for swords with others.
I entertained the idea of renting a costume and doing a face painting for a while, but was not supported by my family. My son commented on the price, followed by an expression saying: “Ye. OK. But I will pretend I don’t know you.” He did not really get into the atmosphere until later. Eating the gigantic, smoked turkey leg on the grass under the tree, than washing off his hands in the nearby fountain, was not his idea of having a good time. The portable “privy” did not get him excited either. His Royal Highness preferred the more sanitary conditions, people who look sane, and activities that are planned and attended on the scheduled times. The term “comfort zone” has a very specific meaning for him. Too bad the Medieval Torturer, the huge man covered in all black including the square headpiece covering his whole face and carrying the range of the torture tools including a scary-looking axe on his back, did not know about it. The giant confronted my baby boy. He took the “No Soup for You” T-shirt that my son was wearing too personally. Should Larry David knew the repercussion, I am sure that episode of Seinfeld would have never been created. But it was too late. My son tried to answer his verbal attacks by the sentences carefully build out of the fancy “SAT Prep” words he learned in his English class. He, obviously, tried to win the torturer over with his intellect, but it did not work. He forgot that plenty of people in the 12th century were beheaded or burned for being smart. The Medieval man kept repeating that he did not understand anything my son was saying, and reached out for his axe. His fair lady came to my son’s rescue, and begged her man for mercy. After this brutal encounter, my son loosened up, and decided to enjoy life, while he still could.
The shops with moccasins, hats, pantaloons, scarves, skirts, ponchos, dresses and pottery lined up the tiny streets. The shoe maker measured the customer’s foot; the blacksmith made metal; the cute girls in corsets, scooping their tight waists to accentuate the cleavage, carried single roses in the baskets on their shoulders; their long full skirts sweeping the dirt roads. It was hot, and a little muggy. So we decided to trade the bench seating around the arena for the “grass” seats in the shade under the tree. The knights on the horses were about to start the fight. As they were charging the crowd, my younger son became restless; he wanted to seat on my lap, otherwise he could not see. Then, he wanted to take pictures, and to do many other things, none of which included just sitting calmly and enjoying the show. His dad could not help but notice that, unlike his own son, our 3-year-old neighbor was quietly playing with his wooden axe. While I started saying that the neighbor toddler had a different last name, set of genes, etc., he ran after his friend and bunch of other kids with his axe threatening to behead them all at no time. I let my son to sit on my lap.
I started seriously thinking about purchasing a gaze hip scarf covered with the golden coins, generally used for the belly dancing; especially after my husband promised to forgive me things if I did. I tried to clarify if he would forgive me everything and anything. He said:” Depending how good you will dance.” So, as soon as I do something that I should be forgiven for, I would invest the money into the most luxurious hip scarf and the belly dancing lessons.
Certain items of women clothing sold in the Renaissance shops could also be a better and cheaper replacement of a family therapy, making husbands, previously angry with their wives, to overlook the differences in spending habits, cooking/cleaning disasters, relationships with the in-laws, and overall make them better spouses and fathers. Looks like these ladies with parasols knew exactly what they were doing.
Watching people, especially such a diverse crowd, is a lot of fun. It proves that there is someone out there crazier than you are, which is always encouraging. On a second thought, I should’ve rented a costume. Or is this a midlife epiphany (as my son would say)?