We got onto the busy Interstate heading north to Denver and got off again almost right away to get a snack. Santa's Workshop had a couple places to eat, but not much that was vegetarian-friendly. 7-Eleven was better. Hush. But then, onward and northward into the streams of traffic that apparently are just the whole populations of Denver and Colorado Springs swapping places for a Sunday. But we were headed back to Larkspur, where we had stopped for a bathroom visit, to the Colorado Renaissance Festival.
Not to attend. The day would end at 6:30 and if traffic let up we'd be there about that hour. But to see a friend, someone I've known online since protons began to form, and who's one of the performers. He and some of the other performers gather outside the gate after close on the weekends to sing some farewell songs and this would be a fine chance for us to meet up when he would be at reasonable liberty. And for a wonder I had a fair chance at recognizing a guy I've only known online forever, since he's also a writer and keeps asking my opinion of the promotional copy on his web site. As though I knew how to sell books online. I barely know how to buy them.
Between the 7-Eleven visit and the traffic we got there a bit late, and trying to head into the festival when everyone in the world is heading out was a bit of a mess. But we got to what sure looked like the front gates and stepped out to find it was not just cool now but honestly getting a bit cold. But there were front gates, looking like an amusement-park castle, and a crowd of people gathered around watching a line of people finishing a song. And a woman dressed as some kind of fairy spirit then said their goodbyes. Ah, but --- I saw my friend! He smiled and bowed, tipping his hat towards me and bunny_hugger. We had made visual contact at least, from fifty feet apart.
The fairy said parting words of thanks and lead the performers in a chant of how they had to get inside, inside, inside. The audience broke up and the performers started clustering together and then walking into the doors. I walked toward the bunch and then felt --- well, they had just said how they were going back in; would it break the scene to come up to my friend? Well, he'd tipped his hat to us; he'd surely come back outside just as soon as he was free.
I stood by the exit gate, and did catch a view of him inside the Renaissance Festival grounds, walking back toward wherever offstage is. I thought about calling to him, but my voice doesn't carry that far. My voice doesn't carry at all, really. My words reach out about two feet and then plummet to the ground, never to be heard from again. I don't know how I ever taught. (Also I realized I didn't know whether to use his real name, or whether it was bad taste and I should use his Renaissance-Festival name which I was none too sure about, or to use his furry name which for all I knew might lead his companion to ask questions he didn't want brought up just then.)
bunny_hugger tired of how chilly and drizzly it was, and went back to wait in the car. I stood by the gate, accidentally fooling people into thinking I was some kind of exit guard. I was wearing my Clementon Park T-shirt, which has this nice diamond-pattern that looks vaguely heraldic. One person asked if I got it at the Renaissance Fair. People drifted out, some of them in regular garb. Some in Renaissance-festival garb. Some playing characters big and broad and wild.
My friend never came back. I waited about a half-hour, as the very last bits of the crowd drizzled out. And supposed that something must have detained him. I went back to the car and apologized for such a strange, ambiguous, unresolved meet-up.
Later my friend contacted me, disappointed that (as he figured) traffic had kept me from getting there. I told him I had got there, just at the end, and seen at least the last minutes of the show. The hat-tipping he had done was, apparently, just showmanship. I would send along pictures, some of which he liked enough to ask if he could send them to the other people photographed. Also belatedly proving that I had made it and it's just that somehow we looked right at each other without being able to connect.
So that was our odd, weird anticlimax to the afternoon.
Trivia: The trip from London to Edinburgh in the 1750s would require about ten days in the summer. By 1836 it took 45 and a half hours. Source: The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century, Wolfgang Schivelbusch.
Currently Reading: Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet, Steve Squyres.
PS: Not done with Gillian's yet!
The inside of the Gillian's Wonderland castle, as seen from the elevated Frontier Express monorail ride's loading platform. The carousel is in the far distance, upper right of the building.
Frontier Express train ready for loading. Waterwonderland seems to be a possibly obsolete name for the water park section of Wonderland Pier; they seem to call it Island Waterpark now.
View inside the castle as the Frontier Express monorail gets into motion. Mostly kiddie rides inside, yes.