A lot of AEschild’s story is influenced by my own life as a SCAdian blundering around in the mundane world. At some times I’m more obviously weird than at others.
Probably the most notable of these was just after Spring Coronation this year. The new King’s personal heraldry involves a blue chevron on a white field. It was all over the place that Saturday. On Tuesday I was leaving my Journalism class and about to go upstairs, when a woman wearing a dress in the pattern of blue and white chevrons approached the same stairs. Without thinking, I curtseyed and let her go up first. Since I was looking down, I don’t know if she gave me an odd look.
As my luck had it, Jenny was giving a talk about the SCA at the school library that same day (in garb) and I told her about that incident over lunch. Later I slipped in to catch the last few minutes of her presentation, and she noticed me in the back, deftly changed the subject to confusion in the mundane world, and told my story.
On the way back from that same Coronation, my sister and I got lost in New Ulm, where the policemen are very strict. (My father would have warned us about them, as I was a new driver, except that the original plan didn’t have us going through New Ulm in the first place.) After we crossed the centre line a time or two (debating whether I was supposed to turn here or not), a nice friendly policeman stopped us and asked if he could help. Olivia and I were both in full garb, and I almost addressed the policeman as Excellency, but that wasn’t the worst of it. All day I’d been wearing a dagger in my belt, and to keep it from interfering with the seatbelt on the drive home, I’d laid it (in its sheath) in my lap. By then it was second nature and I didn’t think of it as a dangerous weapon. If the policeman noticed it, he didn’t seem to think it worth mentioning, but that was still the most embarrassing part of the whole thing.
The SCA can affect the way we think in many ways, some of which we’re not even conscious of until someone points them out as unusual. Respect is much more common in the SCA — we’re a feudal society with monarchs, after all, and landed lords, and so on — so at events we little people are always bowing to someone with a coronet, and even the people with coronets are reverencing the thrones and crowns of the kingdom. We get into the habit of it, which carries over in little reflexes in our mundane lives. I’m often tempted, the Sunday after an event, to reverence the Communion table or my Pastor in much the same way. It’s an argument for the old (now almost exclusively Catholic, I think) custom of kneeling and making the sign of the cross upon entering the sanctuary of a church: there’s a medieval rule that goes, “Kneel on both knees to God, and on one to man”, and so if we give such honour to our earthly kings, why not reverence more to the Heavenly?
Another example is quite recent. One Friday night my church was gathered in the church basement discussing C. S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man, and I had brought along my tablet-weaving for something to do. I was wearing a long denim skirt, and tied one end of my weaving around my ankle to anchor it, and had the other end squeezed between my back and the couch. My father, to illustrate a point, mentioned knitting, and gestured to me, then saw that (for once) I wasn’t knitting, and said, “Oh. I guess she’s weaving or something tonight.” When half the people in the room looked in my direction, my first thought was, “Is this drawing too much attention to my ankles?” and my second was, “Is it really this obvious that you spent the afternoon researching garb?”
I’ve collected a myriad of other SCAdian moments, as we call them, but the last two I’ll share involve my sister.
Recently my lovely and talented sister bought a dress for when she plays in the orchestra, but she was of the opinion that it needed a belt. She dragged me to Walmart with her and we were looking at what they had. She said of one of them, “I like this one, but it’s white, and I don’t really feel —” In the SCA, white belts are reserved for knights.
In SCA combat, when a marshal says “Hold”, those fighting are to stop immediately. The other night we were helping move dinner to the table, and Olivia took a plate and walked off with it at the same moment my mother gave me the fork that went with the plate. I meant to ask my sister to stop, so I could give her the fork before she got too far away, but in my haste what came out of my mouth was, “Hold!” And she stopped walking and turned around.
None of these exact incidents have yet gotten into Of the North, but the general idea behind them certainly has. AEschild has her own SCAdian moments, but if I told you what happened to her, you wouldn’t need to read the book.
SCAdian readers of mine, do you have any particularly amusing or embarrassing stories of your own? And for those who aren’t in the SCA, did you find it interesting, if strange, to get a glimpse into our lives?