Holy cow - you know how when you're chewing gum, and you stretch it out and out and out and it gets thinner and stringier, and finally snaps?
Or maybe you have good manners and don't do that sort of thing. Which reminds me of my first husband, who taught me how to make bubbles with my chewing gum and snap them in my mouth, then yelled at me for practising it.
That's how I feel today - stretched thin (though you wouldn't know it to look at me - I'm retaining water like a party balloon ready for a summertime street fight) and ready to snap. I'm battling a massive project at work that keeps throwing out new heads like an overachieving hydra and I'd better stop with the metaphors now before someone arrests me for metaphoricide. But it is being a little (big) bitch, and I'm in paiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Well, the red hot knitting needles stabbing my upper arms are new, but par for the course.
This following free-association, therefore, is brought to you by one too many painkillers.
I'm old-fashioned, I suppose; I really believe in things like paying duty to the Crown, whomever they may be. I've seen Kings and Queens come and go, and if there's one thing I've learned from the experience, it's that if people decide they don't need to pay respect to a Crown because they don't care for the person sitting on the throne, then it's the next King and Queen that suffer. The choice to withdraw support is entirely up to the individual, but the long-lasting consequences of that choice come as newer people see the apathy towards the Crowns and assume that all Crowns must be treated that way.
They will then go on to teach yet newer people that the Crowns don't matter. An extreme view? I've seen it happen. When we teach disrespect for the idea of the Crown, then we lose a vital and really magical part of our game. We contribute to the early burnout of people who really want to make things special, and work themselves into the ground trying to do so. Worse, we often give them a hard time because they're no-one special, and they shouldn't get big ideas about stuff just because they're on the throne, right? And while you're at it, gimme that award, or I'll tell everyone you kick kittens.
I often wonder why people who seem to feel no urge to participate in the trappings of the game we have set up play at all. If they don't like the idea of making the Crowns (and their representatives) special, resent the bowing and respect, and tell everyone around them that it's all nothing important, what does the SCA offer? A chance to ruin the experience for other people? An opportunity to hurt people's feelings?
... I also wonder what they're smoking that makes them think they should get all kinds of cookies from someone for whom they express utter disregard, like they're owed something special for merely playing. I consider this sometimes when I hear someone completely trashing the Laurels as useless, selfish, self-aggrandizing bastards who keep honest artisans down for the sheer fun of seeing them suffer, then hear them whining that they don't have their Laurel yet. Why would you want stuff so bad from someone/thing you so clearly despise?
I *want* things to be different from the real world when I'm playing - it's why I joined this nerdy little group of idiots (I include me in that statement, don't kill me) who profess to like something so terminally uncool as dressing up on weekends and playing at Lords and Ladies. I am very frustrated by people who are so determined to bring the modern world with them that they cannot and will not play at being the subjects of a King and Queen, even though the SCA is centered around that concept. We're not meant to be playing equals - that's part of the fun.
...isn't it? If it's not fun, why the hell would we stay?
There's nothing demeaning about bowing to the Crowns - you are respecting the concept they represent. When the day is over, the King goes back to being Joe Accountant, and the Queen goes back to being Suzy Real Estate Agent. The magic only lasts while everyone is at the event, and surely that's a short enough time that we can drop our democratic (well, socialistic, in my case) roots and play at being something else?
I am further amused when these selfsame sneerers are elevated, and start demanding all sorts of special treatment because they are now special. My head whirls sometimes at the astounding disconnect between the words and actions of some people, and how people create huge drama over molehills that wouldn't trip a fieldmouse. I am enraged, though, when people use those dramas to hurt other people. No matter how earth-shattering the crisis, trampling roughshod over all and sundry isn't cool.
I think some of the answers to this lie in the ideals we playact in our game - take the high road, act with grace, be more courteous, more honourable, more chivalric, and simply more than we are in our real life. The SCA should be a safe place for trying out those virtues - after all, no-one will take away your job or your birthday, so the stakes aren't life-altering, no matter how hard people try to make it seem so.
I've been pretty badly hurt by some of the stuff that's been done to me over the years in this game, but I am still standing strong - and you know, I'm pretty sure I can't throw a 20 pound cat (oof!) without getting hairballs all over ten people who have also been badly hurt. It seems sometimes like we use this hobby as a platform for doing as much emotional damage as we can to the largest number of people, but we don't really - it's just that we keep forgetting what drew us here in the first place.
Okay, okay, the clothes and the hitting of the people with sticks was pretty attractive too, but it's the ideals that make a lot of us stay. And putting those into practice when we've been hurt the worst is hard, but pays off in such a huge way in the long run. Some of the greatest moments of grace I've witnessed have been from people who could have chosen to behave badly, but chose instead to live up to their ideals. The people I repsect the most in the SCA are those who have put those ideals into action, and tried to teach them to others.
God, how did I get from respecting the Crowns to this? Clearly, my brain is a bit stretched, too. *snap!*
Anyway. I believe in the concept of the Crowns, no matter who wears them - it's what's kept me heavily active in this silly game for twenty years. I may never get to be a queen myself, but I can appreciate the ones we have, because their presence makes the game so much more fun to play. It's no skin off my nose to bow to anyone - not because I don't have principles, but because my principles can see beyond any particular reign, and see the possibilities of what's coming next. I firmly believe that scorning any particular Crown only really hurts the people who come next, and devalues the game for everyone.
Heck, it's only six months, anyway. In that respect, we simple Lords and Ladies have a bit of an advantage over our historic counterparts.
Not to mention the smell.