To me, the universe is an incredible place, filled with mysteries just waiting to be uncovered, but I don’t attribute any sort of supernatural source to it. I’ve said before that I’m not the kind of person that’s going to sit here and tell you that there’s some Grand Design for all of us. The idea of a sentient force at work and pulling the strings, meting out punishment to the wicked and rewarding the righteous, makes me kind of twitch and gag at the absurdity of it all (at least in my opinion – I’m not about to sit here and call you a credulous idiot for believing in the equivalent of an imaginary friend), but sometimes things in my life align in such a way that they can be awe-inspiring… even to an old curmudgeon like me.
“Okay, what the fuck is he talking about?” is what you’re probably thinking right now. “I thought he was going to regale us with embarrassing stories of how he dressed up like Joffrey Baratheon and got slapped around by people wearing fursuits all weekend.” Well, there was that, but the real interesting bits actually ended up happening after all the face paint and Renaissance Faire gear came off, and I wouldn’t have experienced them at all if my car hadn’t decided to shit itself all of a sudden earlier last week.
Both my fiancée and I were lucky enough to be offered a ride to camp by Sandi, one of Legacy‘s staff members, as she was also leaving on Friday afternoon. Her car was packed to the brim with all sorts of important items for this month’s game, including but not limited to all the props designed to be the physical representations of crafting materials in-game and all the ingredients for the big “feast” meal on Saturday, in addition to her own personal stuff for the weekend, but she made room for our items. It ended up with me squeezing into the back seat and burrowing into all the bedding and pillows, which would have been quite comfortable if it wasn’t for the fact that the only way my stupid shield was going to fit was jammed into the car in such a way that one of the edges was lodged against my windpipe for three and a half hours straight. Not that I complained, of course.
The ride up was a pleasant one, and it allowed both me and my fiancée to get to know Sandi much better. She’s one of those incredibly selfless people that would bend over backwards for nearly anyone, even to her own detriment, and she proved that later, on Sunday, as the majority of people were packing up to go home. I had expected we were going to do the same, as I had work that was due for one of my UK clients that night, but Sandi had found out that her husband, another Legacy staff member, had Memorial Day off tomorrow and wanted to know if we’d like to stay an additional evening and hang out with the rest of the staff and some players, as the owners of the campsite had extended an open invitation to us all.
Naturally I was concerned, as I didn’t have a laptop with me and there was no internet access on site, which would have made it impossible for me to stay at Faire Play an extra day. My fiancée and I tried to arrange a ride home with our next-door neighbors but their car was packed to the brim, which made Sandi offer to drive us home and miss out on a Memorial Day celebration with her husband and the rest of the staff. The prospect made me feel awful; the woman works two jobs and never gets to spend any time with her husband normally, and the thought of depriving of her of that so I could get home to work made me feel like a total douchenozzle.
Then, Sandi surprised the hell out of me. “Why don’t you just borrow my laptop and car and go into town for a couple of hours?” she said, like I’d known her for years and we did this all the time. She insisted, so I went down to the local Pump ‘n’ Pantry to use their free WiFi, where I spent a couple hours there getting everything done that I needed to.
I came back, fiancée in tow, only to be welcomed warmly by a group of revelers sitting around the fire, telling stories and laughing. The night went on quite pleasantly, and the next morning we all got up, grabbed a bite to eat in town, and then spent the day building a stone dam across a stream in order to create a swimming hole, which we then basked in for hours.
Normally I hate going swimming, considering there’s a big honking surgical scar across my chest that looks like I came in second in a chainsaw fight, but I was feeling so relaxed and at ease that I jumped in and helped to build a pretty impressive dam. By the time we were done, the swimming hole was large enough for ten people to play around in, and the water was four feet deep at its lowest point. Scott and Dee, the site’s owners, were absolutely thrilled at how amazing it looked, and we all walked away with a huge feeling of accomplishment, minds whirling with plans for how to use the new spot in the game weekends over the coming summer months. Most of these plans involved thinking up excuses for running off in the middle of a hot day and taking a nice long soak.
We all changed into dry clothes, put the finishing touches on camp cleanup, said goodbye, and set off for home with Sandi. The car was much roomier this time around, which made it unnecessary to taste the Gorilla Tape I’d used to line the edges of my shield, and the three of us talked about what a great time we had for the entire way back.
I most likely would not have been able to experience any of these things if we’d taken our own car to game last weekend. We wouldn’t have spent that time getting to know Sandi on the ride up, and we would have most likely returned home Sunday afternoon and missed all the fun – and the opportunity to forge new friendships and strengthen existing ones – the day after. And we certainly wouldn’t have had been given the opportunity to help build what we’ve already come to call “The Wall.”
I may not be particularly happy about having to get the transmission fixed on my car, but I will say this: I’m grateful that our car problems led to all the positive things we got to experience. I’m looking forward to next month’s event – even if it’s just to sneak off with my swim trunks and hang out on The Wall for a few hours.