I'm not even sure I can frame this with humor... but let's just keep going and see what happens, okay?
Firstly, I had a great weekend at Bristol. Even a bad day at faire is still better than a good day Not at Faire. Saturday was a typical day in that I showed up, I walked a lot, I took photos, I talked with awesome people- you know, same old stuff for a day at faire. Saturday night was the RESCU Rally. The RESCU Foundation is an organization that helps ren faire vendors/performers with medical bills and having been someone without health insurance for a few short years (the longest "short years" ever), I know how scary the prospect of going to the doctor for any reason can be...
The rally is an after-hours event and I wasn't allowed to take photos. We had to change into regular clothes (meaning not our garb, so we brought jeans and such with us to change into). And the rally was fantastic. I donated two photos for their auction. The jouster in the photo even signed it, and this one. They had a silent auction (I didn't see my photos out there, so someone said that it meant they were probably doing them in the live auction) and there was entertainment and food. But the best part for me was talking to my faire family out of character. They have to be "on" all the time out on the streets of Bristol, so to see them in normal clothes and relaxed (or even drunk, in a couple cases) was pretty damn cool. And we talked about everything from the day at faire to ridiculous stuff. We left around 10:30 (after the silent auction ended, because Ceej bid on something and wanted to wait and see if she got it- she didn't- and then we had to drive the hour and a half home).
So, Sunday dawned after a mere four hours of sleep and more than fourteen hours on my feet the day before- you can imagine how my body was rejecting activity. I took the hottest shower I could tolerate to loosen some of my sore muscles. My feet were a lost cause. I knew they were going to be killing me all day. My plan of getting up to a show I hadn't seen yet wasn't going to happen. I finally got to have a real conversation with the woman who plays the queen, as herself and not the queen. She's as delightful as she is lovely. As the day wore on, I was having a good time despite all this pain. I'd taken my pain meds around 1130 AM, I was doing fine. I shot video of the Towers game, took my usual oodles of photos and was even privy to an event (which is in video form, but both Facebook and YouTube were being uploading jerks yesterday).
There's a joust at 3 PM- the Royal Joust. I was asked two weeks ago to get photos of the nobility who sit in the dais. At the end of that joust (spoiler alert or whatever), there's a fight and they react to said fight. So, I stood in front of the dais (safely, because- duh- I shoot every joust, I know where I'm allowed to stand) and snapped photos of both the joust and the people. It was great. Then I shot on over to the Nobles Glade for the first part of the event- Captain Hawkyns being accused of piracy and arrested. (in between, I caught most of a presentation about Elizabethan clothing, which was interesting and informative- I suggest you go: "Courtly Fashion" at 330 PM).
After the incident with Hawkyns, he found himself with some free time- some very brief free time. But he accompanied me over to the tilt yard to watch the 300 Battle (which is good fun to spectate and I assume its fun for the kids involved). Along the way, we were stopped to have our photo taken and talked to a woman who was there for the first time (she sews, so it looks like she may be joining in on the fun). Then came the Joust to the Death... Which went well, as usual. Then I had to scoot back over to the Glade for the trial of Hawkyns. No problem... I kept a watch on the time. Leading up to the joust and after, I kept telling myself: "Just a few more minutes" because I needed to get some water so I could take my pain meds. I normally take my Vicodin at 6 PM when I'm home. But at faire, I take it any time after 5 PM because I'm usually busy after 530... but no. "Just a few more minutes" kept turning into longer and longer till it was well over an hour after I should have taken it.
I went to the Glade, I sat in the back to wait for the trial part to start. I took my Vicodin and then found a place to stash my basket where it'd be safe. (I don't like to set it down and walk away, especially when I have an extra lens inside). One of the cast was standing near me and he said: "Looks like you have your own little area all staked out." I don't remember what I said, probably something clever like "yeah" and he asked me: "Are you okay?"
When the tears sprang to my eyes, my first thought was: "Holy shit, what do I look like that he noticed something was wrong?"
I, of course, told him that I was fine. Wiped the tears and tried to calm down. Luckily for me, he had to go do whatever it was he does during that show, so I was able to crank it back down to 5 and not totally lose it. Video shot, everything's fine... I put my camera back into my basket and start back up the hill for the Friends Garden where I planned on ice water, sitting down, and unlacing my bodice (which isn't all that tight to begin with as this was the bodice I had made-to-order). I started to make my way past the Guild of St. Michael- which was in the middle of a demonstration. I had to pause while they blew up a cabbage with a pistol and then started to walk again. From my right (the tilt yard), the woman who runs the whole faire was walking in my direction (she was going to the front gates, the same direction I was going). She saw me and asked if I was okay.
And I burst into tears. Right there at the faire, in the middle of the street. I kept saying I was fine. I was fine and I just needed to get up to the garden. She offered to walk with me and I said I was fine. It was my own stupid fault for not taking my pain meds on time, it was my own fault for not staying ahead of the pain, it was my own goddamn fault. And there I was, crying at the ren faire, for reasons brought on by myself. That's what was so bad about it. I knew I was going to have an issue and I knew when I should have taken my pain meds. And I didn't. It was my own fault and the tears were more out of frustration at myself than the pain.
The worst part of that whole display was the ego-crushing embarrassment I felt. Maybe if she'd been a stranger or at least not someone I knew very well. (not that I know her very well, but we know her enough that she got Ceej her intern gig). I felt the same way with that cast member. I've known him for a few years now- in the sense that we recognize each other. I don't think he knew my name till Facebook, but whatever.
It was embarrassing that I let it go that far.
I made it to the garden without any further ego-bruising and sat down, unlaced, drank ice water. And I talked. (and talked and talked) because I knew if I kept talking, I was okay. If there's one thing I do well, its not shutting the fuck up. I sent Ceej a text message, telling her that if her boss told her I was having issues that I was fine and I would explain later. And I talked. And talked. When I had to leave the garden (to go wait on Ceej), two of the henches hugged me (which made me get teary again). Then when I re-told the whole thing to Ceej, I started crying again, but that time was out of sheer humiliation.
I'm still feeling the aftereffects of the whole thing too. My skin is still on fire, my muscles are sore and when I sit still for a long time and then move- I feel like I did before I was being treated with muscle relaxers. And so very tired. I hope I'll snap back by Saturday. When those gates open, I'll definitely feel better. Take in a game of Towers... boom- better.
It doesn't happen often, but when it does, its loud, messy, and cringe-worthy to watch. I suppose I will take comfort in that my first public meltdown was at the faire and I was among friends. That's a lot better than having the same kind of meltdown at the post office where nobody would have cared enough to ask if I was okay and would have stepped around me in line, which would have made me wait longer, increasing the pain and making more tears.
So yeah... good thing it happened at Faire.
Oh, and all that pain I was in? I still managed to get photos like these at the Joust to the Death.