Pennsic 2013 Diary: Thursday, August 1

Morning – Marauders

Fun night that nearly didn’t happen. Around sundown, I was really tired, so I went into my tent and lay down. I set my timer for an hour and a quarter or so and woke up about three minutes before it went off. Then I had a choice: stay asleep, or get up and do things. The first was really tempting. But damnit, it’s Pennsic, and it was only 10 pm, and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I missed a whole night of Pennsic in which so much was happening, so I got up.

First up: the Kingdom of Acre. I’d stopped by earlier, before my nap, but they weren’t ready yet. When I came back, the party was hopping and there was a really nice food table out. Acre definitely knows how to entertain. Conrad was super-happy to see me – I think he’d resigned himself to the fact that I wasn’t coming. He introduced me to people, showed me that he had in fact brought the promised mead, and took me to the fire. With His Majesty Hanover’s (sp?) leave, I took my place and started performing. I did my three most polished saint stories: the knight and the Virgin, St. Julian, and Emperor Nero. His Majesty gave me two of His coins, and I think I now have an open invitation to perform at Acre – yay!

It was late enough that the Marian of Heatherdale concert was almost over, but I managed to get there for the last few songs and to hand out the “Perpetual Gift” CDs she’d brought. Saw a lot of my favorite people in the audience, which is always fun.

Then I decided to browse the merchants and the tail end of Midnight Madness. Still a lot of people out, which was unusual for that time of night compared to previous years. I guess everyone knew there was only one more day of shopping left and so really pushed themselves. Ran into a few people I knew out shopping, but I think most of my bardic friends were either at Calontir or Enchanted Ground, neither of which I was quite up to attending.

Night was much warmer than the last week: 19 degrees in my tent at midnight, warm enough that I took the heavy cloak off my bed. We had some pretty heavy ran around 6:30, but I slept until about 8:00. And now I’m on Benadryl. I hate Benadryl and am keeping myself awake through sheer force of will. I really hope it mitigates my allergies today. Sadly, only time will tell.

Took my final shower of War today, because the shower tent is coming down this afternoon. Don’t get me wrong – our camp shower is better than a lot of hotel showers I’ve used, but I still miss my home shower that I don’t need to turn off while lathering my hair or applying soap.

Okay, time to brush teeth and get dressed.

Early Afternoon – My Tent

Ah, Benadryl. You work, but I hate you so. I am now taking a break from… well, just about everything… to try my best not to fall asleep from the most recent pill. Which is kinda tricky in my very warm tent. Opening the back door will hopefully help a bit, but still… so sleepy!

Anyway. This morning was the EK College of Performers meeting. Meetings: everyone’s favorite thing to do at Pennsic. (And if you believe that, I’ve got some swampland in Florida going cheap.) The meeting was… mostly free from too much drama. Not entirely, but mostly. But that’s what happens when you get a baker’s dozen of bards together in one place for a business meeting.

Afterwards, Linette, Tristan, Katrusha, and I wandered the merchants a bit until Kafe Merbana opened for the day so we could have our traditional baklava. Also on the menu of things I tasted: a blood orange and pomegranate julab for me (tasty and refreshing!), a lemon-mint for Katrusha (too sour and minty for me, but still quite nice).

Then they all left, I checked the booksellers one more time (but didn’t buy anything), got lunch from the food court, and came back to camp. Tear-down is in full swing, and I did a little, but mostly right now I’m struggling to keep my eyes open. Stupid body…

Late Afternoon – Marauders

I love knowing camps that will feed me excellent food. Yay Crook’d Cat!

So, after writing last, I realized I wasn’t good for anything and took a nap in my tent. By the time I woke up, there wasn’t really anything going on in camp, so I went over to Mystic Mail. The line was long, but on the way I ran into Roger and baby Ben, so I got in some baby time. I also performed a few saint stories for some Bardicci behind Oakwood Hall and confirmed that Da Team will be having a group photo op around 8:00.

It was around 5:00 at this point, the time I knew the bread comes out of the oven at Crook’d Cat, so I stopped by. And, oh, did I stop by at the right time! Fresh-baked, still steaming hot bread with butter and cheese, sausages with cooked greens, and Brussels sprouts. Yum! And all this for just two songs (Hector’s “Pennsic Blues” and Ken Theriot’s “The Feast Song”). I definitely got the better end of this deal. I wonder if they’ll ever catch on. (They invited me back next year, so my guess is “no.”)

While I was singing, there was a 5-minute rainstorm, so the big tent may not come down today after all. We’ll see. Dinner in camp is bigos, and I missed it the first time for Oostgard’s fry night, so I’m definitely not missing it twice. But maybe only a little bowl. Crook’d Cat are my friends.

After Dinner – My Tent

I’m in kind of a mellow, melancholy mood. (Two weeks of bardic and my brain starts alliterating without any prompting on my part.) I think I’ve decided to leave tomorrow afternoon. For one thing, I don’t want another full day on Benadryl. For another, I think it’s time. The big tent’s coming down tonight, everything’s going into storage tomorrow morning. I’ve packed up my tent as much as I can before dressing up spiffy for the photo op tonight. If I wear garb tomorrow, I’ll fish a tunic out of my laundry hamper for the half-day.

I think tonight I may do one last tour of the Bog, maybe even walk all the way around the lake. I want one last apple dumpling. I want Pennsic not to be ending, not to force me back into the “real world” where I’m unemployed and being “The Pocket Bard” doesn’t mean anything. I like being able to walk into a random camp, announce “I’m a performer,” and have an audience, maybe even have people give me stuff in exchange. I like that when I walk around, people call out, “Hey, Pocket Bard!”, and then tell me interesting things. I had a young woman tell me yesterday that after watching me and Lorelei last week and Mistress Marian yesterday, she now wants to be a bard. I love that I’m the sort of person people think worthy to tell these things.

Don’t get me wrong: I miss home. I miss my boyfriend and my shower and a bed I don’t need to pump with air every night. I miss the variety of restaurants we’ve got in Montreal. I miss roleplaying and my computer. But I still love Pennsic. I think if Pennsic lasted three weeks instead of two, I’d still be in full swing. But it’s not, and I’m winding down along with the War.

It doesn’t help that, as usual, I’m not sure I’ll be able to come next year, or for the next few years. If I find a new job, even if I find it soon, I may not be able to take vacation time as early as next year’s Pennsic. Or I may want to take it for a honeymoon instead (fingers crossed). After that, I may be pregnant or have young children and I’m not sure I can do the whole “single parent at War” thing. Almost every time I leave Pennsic, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to come back, and that makes me profoundly sad.

But, all that said, I still have tonight. And even doped on Benadryl, I intend to make the most of it.

Back to Wednesday, July 31
Forward to Friday, August 2

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