Leather and weapons for the fam

It has been about a year. Is there anyone out there who still wants to hear my rambling? I've got a few stories that have happened to me in the last 365 if you do.

Starting with the glory of all glories, the Renaissance festival. Have you ever been? Up until this fall, I hadn't been to one in close to 15 years. But I used to be a bit of a regular in my glory days. (Glory days = the days when I had the metabolism of a hummingbird and the charm of a viking.)

Ren fest is great because it makes the important things in life simple and awesome. The most important thing is eating. You can get everything imaginable deep fried, including turkey legs which I often mistakenly call chicken legs. (In case you were wondering, there is never a shortage of people who are ready to correct me on this.)

But the other most important thing is that this is an environment where people just do what they do. It's refreshing. The confidence of people at a Ren fest is inspiring. It is a place where you feel compelled to do all the things.

You stop and listen to the rock bands on every corner. Rock bands here usually contain a flute of some sort, an accordion, and often a lute, among other things.
You get a dress custom made for yourself and add a lot of bags to it to collect your treasures in.
You say wassup to Gandalf and his dead friend.
You find your kin and unite.
You share cokes with small fairy dogs.
You make new friends and hold their weapons.

I love it y'all. I really do. But you know what I don't love? I don't love being pulled up on stage to take part in ridiculous nonsense. This has been a problem my entire adult life. I don't get it. I can be sitting in the back of an auditorium, looking through my purse, saying my silent prayer of invisibility, and as SOON as the performance calls for audience participation, it's as if the entire room goes quiet and everyone is staring at me. I've been forced into improv routines at comedy shows, convinced to talk to puppets, bullied into holding people up, coerced into flipping food during cooking performances, pushed into dancing on stages in front of apathetic audiences ... Once I even had to salsa with a monster on a Peruvian train.

I was smiling in terror. That's a thing, a terror smile.
Look at it. C'mon, REALLY DUDE?
And maybe you're thinking to yourself, "Well, you have a choice. You don't have to do it."

THAT'S NOT TRUE! I always say no, repeatedly. Every single time. It doesn't matter. I am a magnet for the stage. 

The Ren fest was no different. I will admit, it was my idea to check out the magic show. They're fun! I chose a seat on a wooden bench in the midst of a sea of onlookers. The magician took the stage and started his dynamic performance when all of a sudden it was happening again ... he was scanning the crowd for a volunteer, i.e. ME. 

I whispered to my friend, "This is it. Just like I told you. I always get picked. He's going to pick me to get on that freakin stage."

I heard his booming voice through my anxious, hushed tones, "And how about that lady in the green dress?! Get up here! I need your help."

I looked down at my lap, feigning ignorance.

"I know you hear me!" He stepped off the stage and walked determinedly in my direction through the narrow aisle.

I glanced up and accidentally made eye contact. It was over.

"Yeah you! Come on up here!"

I shook my head no. He grabbed my hand.

Step 1: Tentative. What does he want from me. Everything is about to go wrong.
Step 2: Alone on the stage. What the hell is he doing. Sweating. Mild panic.
Step 3: Discomfort, borderline humiliation. Terror smile. Internal mantra on repeat "Please end soon. Please end soon."

This is just my life. How is this my life.

Does anyone have a solution for me? Like, how can I avoid this? It literally never gets easier. Does this happen to you? What am I doing wrong? I need a plan.

Despite the distress of stage time, the Renaissance fest IS the best. It is usually 105 degrees or raining or a combination thereof throughout the day. Also, the crowds can get fairly intense. So come prepared with money for snacks, layers to peel off and deflect mud, shoes you are not attached to, and perhaps a weapon to assist you in moving through the throngs of people. Also, although chainmail armor is socially acceptable to wear in this environment, the people who do often regret it.  

Get out there friends! Don a feather in your cap, fill your quiver with arrows, and join me the next time this festy comes to town.