Ok, hello. I’m back. Vacation involved lifting entirely too many heavy boxes, but I managed to enjoy myself. I spent a few days at the geektastic Medieval reenactment festival Pennsic, and the long drive back from Pennsylvania across Central New York was an unexpected treat.
For some reason I never knew this, maybe because when you live in Michigan you are only allowed to say nice things about Michigan, but New York is darn pretty. There are all of these green mountainy things, long swooping valleys, and huge tire-sized turtles that stomp across the road and scare the heck out of you. Plus, after five days of camping I was singing the praises of every flush toilet along the way. Yay technology.
It was kind of strange to turn on the cell phones and get messages from concerned friends and family members worried about the blackout. Let me just say, if there is any place to be during a major loss of electricity, it is Pennsic. These people have tents that are better decorated than my house. It is not unusual to see a huge pavilion lined with ten oriental rugs, and filled with a long dining room table, an armoire, an antique full-length mirror, a dressing table, and about a thousand candles. People bring full kitchens, propane-fuels refrigerators, hot-water showers, beds, enormous gates, and enough clothes to clothe an army, which, incidentally, there also happens to be. We, on the other hand, brought our backpacking tent and some sleeping bags. All week, people walked by and asked if my tent was the “armor tent.” Yes, people set up special little tents for thier armor. As a seven-year employee of the Michigan Renaissance Festival, the weirdness of all this did not come as a complete surprise, but I have to admit being somewhat taken aback by the full-scale reproduction of a Viking encampment that sprung up across the road. They even had their own bus, with, I assume, oars that stick out the windows. Oh, and I’m told that every year there is a party for all of the librarians who attend.
Back when I was a spoiled undergraduate and could study whatever I wanted, I took this class in American Dialects. One of the interesting trivia factoids I learned was that people tend to take on the dialect of wherever they feel most comfortable, or they identify with the most. This might explain why a grandmother will still have her Irish brogue after 30 years in the States, while a theater student will return from a summer in Stratford calling trucks “lorries” and referring to her mother as “Mum.” This is all to say that I must like it here in New York.
I don’t know if it’s the smoke-free bars, or the truly excellent pizza, but I’ve been finding myself calling carbonated beverages “soda.” Now, as anyone with a self-promotional website can easily claim, I am entirely without pretense, so the substitution of my native “pop” for the exotic, foreign “soda” comes as a surprise. But I can assure my fellow Michiganders that I will continue to drink Vernor’s Ginger Ale and put gravy on my french fries.