By Lindsay Huffman
No one wants to believe that he or she is a party pooper. People want to perceive themselves as relaxed individuals who go with the flow rather than being uptight and boring. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who are simply uptight and boring. Not that it’s always a bad thing-it is usually these people who keep the rest of us in check.
Me, on the other hand? I’m part of the former group. I like to try new things, go to places I’ve never been, do things because they’re completely random and hey, who knows if I’ll ever get the chance to do that again? I like to adhere to the “live like you’re dying” philosophy because, in essence, we don’t know how much time we have left in our lives. All in all, I’m a fairly laid-back, adventurous person.
Or so I thought.
Three weekends ago, I went to a Renaissance Festival. If that’s not nerdy enough, take in the fact that my friends and I drove two and a half hours to get to this particular festival in Ohio.
But I’m enough of a geek to admit that I was pumped. Two of my friends were decked out in Renaissance attire, complete with a long, green princess dress for one and a gypsy costume for the other. I was too cheap for an actual costume, so I dressed in a blouse and skirt that made me look like a peasant. The other person in our party was dressed normally, which helped me to remember that I live in the 2000s, not the 1500s.
Because as soon as the four of us stepped through the gates of the castle-I’m not even joking-it was like stepping back in time. There were some people selling garlands, a Robin Hood-esque figure, a man selling flowers and the costumes looked like they had been made in the Renaissance. And most of the visitors were dressed up, too. Needless to say, this festival was a big deal to these people.
As my friends and I traveled down the dirt path, occasionally stopping to look at a really cool sword or chain-mail armor, I tried to take pictures and take in how much effort had been put into this.
I became distracted by a group of festival workers congregating on the commons. They, of course, were in their dresses and britches, and there were some musicians mulling around. Before I could begin to wonder what was going on, the most regal member of the group, a woman acting as a noble person shouted to the public that a dance performance would be starting soon.
We sauntered over to the benches in front of the common area and watched as the group counted out the simple, yet fun-to-watch steps and watched as the group moved in lines, came together into a circle and spun each other around. It was all very entertaining-a very nice way to start the day.
Until the last act, when the workers asked the audience to join them for a simple dance.
I would never claim to be proficient at many things, but that usually doesn’t stop me from trying. However, I know myself, and there are some things that I know I should never do, and especially not in public.
Dancing is probably at the top of that list.
So when a woman whose clothes were basically covered in patches begged me to join my friends and dance, I flat out refused, sorry.
I was beginning to be embarrassed by the begging, but I was stubborn enough to not give in. Then, the noblewoman who announced the dance performance and was obviously the leader of the group, came over to me and basically threatened me. She said that Patches knew all about being fireproofed-and I did notice some burnt places on her clothing-and that if I did not dance, I would be fireproofed as well.
Um, sorry, the answer’s still no.
That’s when Miss Noblewoman bent down and said, “Do you see that man over there?” She pointed to a guy who had danced every dance and was bouncing around, looking kind of crazy. “He’s our village half-wit, and he can do this dance. If you say you can’t do this dance, then you’re admitting that you’re a complete idiot.”
Lesson one of the week: don’t try to be smart.
“Well, I guess I’m a complete idiot then,” I responded. I should’ve known something bad was coming when I saw the glint in Miss Noblewoman’s eye as she straightened up.
“Alright, then,” she said. Then she turned to the rest of the festival and said, “Everyone, we have here a complete idiot! This lady has just admitted to it.”
Talk about mortifying. I kind of hoped the earth would open up and either swallow me or spit out someone else onto whom I could shove my new title of idiot. But that didn’t happen.
And as I watched and recorded on video my three friends doing the very simple dance, I couldn’t help but think about my mom, who loves the song “I Hope You Dance” because she always wants me and my brother to take chances.
But I didn’t dance. I had the opportunity and probably would have avoided a lot of humiliation if I had just let go. But no, the uptight, scared, stubborn Lindsay overcame the fun, adventurous, go-with-the-flow me. And now, Patches and Miss Noblewoman will forever remember me as the village idiot, as well as my friends, whom I know will never forget that moment.
And, I thought as we walked away from the commons, I would never forget it either.
Especially not after getting “fireproofed” by Patches, which consisted of her sneaking up behind me on my way to the lavatory and flicking water from a pail right into my face.
So my life lesson of the week is, simply, don’t be the village idiot. Yes, know your limits, but also know that people will appreciate your effort more than your refusal. If I had danced and been completely horrible, at least I could have escaped feeling a bit better because I had tried. But I sat on the sidelines and missed out on the fun.
But don’t worry about this idiot, because I fully plan on attending the Ohio Renaissance Festival next year and rectifying my mistake. I will go and I will dance, even if I’d rather joust, and I will reclaim some of my dignity. Huzzah!