I moved to Kansas City in early 2015 and started floating around the edges of the BFS fighter practice that spring. If I’m honest, it was—and remains—an even mix of an outlet for my historical enthusiasm and an attempt at building a social circle that has been difficult to create as a single guy in his early thirties who doesn’t know anyone in town. With any luck and effort, I’m trying to pull off both.
So, off to the big event I went this Memorial Day.
The following are in no particular order, except for #8. As it turns out, that was the big one this weekend. It should have probably been #1.
1. Dress for Success: Call it my vanity or my rampant insecurity or a combination of them both, but it was very nice to get all the compliments about my late 1570’s Dutch-German impression. That garb was a very specific goal of mine the past three months. It turned out fantastic, from the big-ass ruff to the pluderhosen to the sword and hanger.
I struck absolute gold with my costumer, and all compliments should go her way.
2. Liquids, Motherf***er, Do You Drink Them? I ran out of steam at about 9:45 Saturday night, hard. Hitting the wall hard. I headed home, stopping at QuickTrip for assorted liquids (which I pretty much chugged straight), and then immediately went to bed (while raiding the fridge for store brand Kool-Aid to chug more of). Bad Hugo, drink more water.
3. Are You Late Period? Let’s Be Friends. We got to stick together. Enough said.
4. All Hail the Victorious Autocrats and Organizers: Wrangling the crowds and the events and the volunteers (and lack thereof) is a tough, if not exactly not thankless, gig. Kudos to Gwen and Janos for autocrating, Brian for running the C&T lists, and the apparently always reliable gate lady who’s name escapes me.
5. Watching People Be Awarded is a Damn Great Feeling: Damn great feeling. AoAs up to Peerage elevations. Good to see people be recognized and rewarded – all the moreso when it’s folks you know who have been up to some good stuff.
6. It’s Okay if You Screw Up, But You’ll Still Feel Like A Moron: I got gang-pressed into field heraldry and event crying throughout the weekend… and made a mess of both of them multiple times. Nothing catastrophic (generally), but it felt like I was broadcasting my ignorance at the top of my lungs (literally) on a regular basis.
No one made an issue of it. Everyone was gracious. But still, I’d like to get it right for the sake of the people involved and the news I’ve been asked to announce.
Hello, my name is Hugo, and I’m going to mispronounce your names, f*** up your titles and addresses, forget important parts of announcements, and bungle up the announcing of a Peer taking on an Apprentice. Go me.
7. Peers Behaving Badly: Ah, the frustrating parts of the SCA that I forgot all about. More bemusing now than the disheartening experience I would have taken it as when I was a naive college student starting out in the Society, but frustrating nonetheless.
8. Good Peers are Worth Their Weight in Gold: But! The inverse to the above is true, so true! Oddly enough, the best memory I have of the weekend is stumbling into a camp Sunday afternoon to compliment their period setup, being shown a great deal of hospitality, offered drinks, having good conversation, and being invited back that evening.
Only after the event last night do I figure out that the two hosts were both Peers—and neither of them acted that way. No introductions of titles, no big egos, no snark, no looking-down-their-nose side comments or posts on Facebook about me.
And that was what made the impression. Are they great at their craft? Sure, they have to be. But they behaved like the Society’s Peers theoretically should.
What is the saying, again? Peer-like qualities? Yeah.
Would that the whole of the Society aspire to emulate these two.
9. Dude, Just Get Out There and Enjoy Yourself: Hello, this is my big modern gold topped pop-up, and this is my very modern looking director’s chair and plastic boxes. Was I self-conscious about them? Hell yes. Should I have been? Only insomuch as they don’t represent where I want to eventually be, but you better believe I was happy to have shade, a place to sit, and a way to keep my drinks cold.
10. Some Goals Are Worth Pursuing: Learned about the award of Keeper of the Flame and, being the historical/persona-driven person that I am, was immediately intrigued.
If anybody knows one of these folks, please put me in touch. I’d love to talk with any of them.
11. Maybe Not Friends, But Maybe Friendly Faces to Remember and Be Remembered By: I’m still guilty of largely sticking to the edges and peripheries, but feel maybe—just maybe—I may have taken a couple of steps forward this weekend in building out that social circle in the KC area and within the SCA just a smidge.