So I’ve already broken my commitment to write something daily for this blog, but I have plenty of stories for you today to make up for it! Right now, I am on my way to my first Renaissance fair with my mom and her best friend of 30 years, but let’s rewind a little bit first. This weekend, I have been travelling back in time in more ways than one. It all started Friday night when my friends and I took a trip to the rockin’ 80’s.
Our friend had landed a part in a local production of Rock of Ages, a comedy musical that streams together all the classic 80’s rock songs people know and love to form a story about an aspiring male singer and a young female actress trying to make it big in LA. Being born at the tail end of the 80’s myself, I missed out on the big hair and crazy fashion of the decade, but our friends decided to get in the spirit and show our support by dressing up for opening night. For me, this meant a last minute search through my closet to pull together a Madonna-inspired outfit, complete with black leather leggings, skirt, tank top and lace bow on my head along with a red lace cardigan. I was quite proud of myself and as a group we managed to turn quite a few heads.
The real star of the show, however, was our friend up on stage. He had been out of the theater game for 5 years or so, and was nervous to return to the boards. Despite his nerves, he killed it as the comic relief character, leaving the audience in stitches and our large circle of friends laughing so hard that we were wiping tears from our eyes. It’s moments like that, surrounded by my second family, that I wonder how I got so lucky to meet such wild, creative, free-spirited people. We’re all chasing different dreams, yet we still somehow find the time to come together like that to show our support for one another. Whenever one of us is down or going through a rough patch, just getting us all in one room seems to make the world a little bit brighter. This was most certainly the case for a few of us on Friday night.
As the show closed and the curtain call came, we watched our friend on stage dancing and singing with the biggest smile on his face. It warmed my heart to see it. We spent the rest of the night celebrating, making our way down to a nearby bowling alley where we drank and caught each other up on the latest news in our lives; a couple’s wedding arrangements, one friend’s upcoming trip to England, another’s plans to open the city’s first cat café. Talking about the future and swapping stories about the past, several of us commented on how we’re actively trying to stay present these days. Being present for me at the time though meant that I was desperately trying to take a mental snapshot of the event to look back on some other night in the distant future. So much for trying to live in the moment.
Time is a strange thing, and for a group of sci-fi geeks like us obsessed with Doctor Who, time travel is a frequent topic of conversation in our group. Given the chance, I don’t think any one of us would pass up the opportunity to hop in a time machine (or Tardis, if you will) and just let the winds of the space-time continuum take us where they may. Which brings us to today, in the Renaissance, with my mom and her best friend, the woman who was present at my younger sister’s birth and who has known me since the day I was born as well. Like I said, time is a strange thing when you actually stop to think about it.
My mom is the most versatile and creative person I know, and she had invited us to the Renaissance fair to seek out inspiration for her new side business. Her plan is to make and sell Tudor style hats along with other custom made period pieces to sell at the regional fairs and festivals. This woman raised me on fairy tales and gave me an appreciation for the classics at a young age, including the works of William Shakespeare and all things Renaissance. It was frankly astonishing to me that we hadn’t attended a Renaissance fair already. However, if there are two things my mom and I have in common, they would be our mutual tendencies towards procrastination and self-doubt, particularly when it comes to our creative endeavors. So when my mom asked us to join and support her in this venture, I felt it was long overdue and much needed.
Today, my mother’s car was a time machine. I sat in the back seat like I did as a child and listened to my mom and her friend swap stories, reminiscing about when they first met working together in a ceramics factory that no longer exists. Every time I see these two together I wonder, will my best friend and I still laugh and talk like this when we’re their age, driving to our next crazy adventure with one of our kids in the back seat? I certainly like to think so. As we drove, I watched the scenery fly by and felt the stress of my upcoming move fall away. More and more often these days, despite my wonderful friends and deep affection I hold for the city that I call home, I find myself longing to travel. I don’t know if it’s just my natural wanderlust or a sign that I need a change in my life, but today’s trip was a welcome escape.
When we arrived on the fairgrounds, the sound of harps and drums filled the air. People in period costumes, pirate garb, and peasant rags milled through the crowd of modern spectators who snapped pictures of the actors as they passed. It felt like wandering onto a movie set and the scene reminded me of a lecture my art history professor had given when I was in college. She told us about a study on memory that demonstrated how cameras have changed the way our brains catalog and store information. If a tourist, for example, takes a picture while she is on vacation, her brain is less likely to commit that image to long term memory because she knows that her camera has already done the work for her. After my professor read that study, she told us that she stopped taking so many photos when she travelled. I’ll admit, I have cut back myself, and often think back to that lecture whenever I pull out my camera. Today, I simply couldn’t resist the temptation and justified the action as an act of research on my mother’s behalf.
The past year has felt like a time of growth and change for so many people I know, and I’m happy to see my mom joining these ranks. After recently starting a new and better job, I’ve seen a change in her spirits and a drive to get her new side business off and running. It’s a reminder to me that it’s never too late to chase your dreams and time is really what we make it. With that in mind, I bid you all good night and safe travels through the space-time continuum. We might be merely players in the grand scheme of things, but let’s put on a good show while we’re here, shall we?