Foiled by bureaucracy!

On Feb. 12, 2012, myself and a band of New Times cohorts did something very brave and very silly–but mostly Larperssilly. We put on our finest warrior attire and attempted to lay siege to the Barony of the Seven Sleeping Dragons, a local larping (live action role playing) group that meets on Saturdays at Santa Rosa Park.

It should be noted that our intention in all this was neither to mock nor humiliate. I’ve driven by the park and seen them playing on dozens of occasions. In fact, I’ve made a point of reading in the park on Saturdays in order to watch the battles which, despite the costumes and boffers (foam-wrapped sticks they strike one another with) seemed a little forced. How could they not be, in this age of non-adventure? It’s difficult to feel as though there are, in fact, adventures left to be had and discoveries to be made. It’s all been said, the map’s been filled in for what seems like a very long time. So we fill theaters and watch other people have fictional adventures. We read books and we root like hell for Rand and Katniss. But wouldn’t it be thrilling to give someone who obviously values the spirit of adventure and fantasy a small taste of what it’s really like to be attacked by a band of marauding enemies? We could be their dragon, their monster, their orc, their death eaters, whatever they were fighting against, we would embody it for them. And they wouldn’t have to plan or schedule it. We would simply materialize, attack, die or inflict death as the blows fell, and then retreat (most likely to a nearby bar).

That morning, we met at the office. I wore a jacket I’d obtained from an opera company’s costume sale, and wielded a stick of bamboo liberated from my backyard. Colin (who was at that time New Times‘ news editor) wore a kilt I’d bought for him when I was in Scotland. Ryan (Executive Editor) was dressed as Hagrid, including the pink umbrella, of course. I loaned Anna (Arts Editor) a gold leotard for the occasion. Nick (former staff writer) could best be described as a goth ninja hybrid, and his daughter Layla was a cowgirl with a giant plastic gun I’d purchased at the dollar store. Matt (current New Times news editor) was dressed as a convict and sporting nunchucks which I believe he fashioned from toilet paper rolls (or, cardboard, at the very least). Maeva (calendar editor)  wore a horse head, strapped a turtle shell on her back, and clapped coconuts together as she trotted. Chris White-Sanborn (intern) wore a hat and cloak and was armed with a plastic sword that proved less than serviceable.

At the appointed time, we met on the field of battle. I blew attempted with no success whatsoever to blow the conch shell signaling the charge. Ryan was tasked with calling retreat at the appointed time (if the word “police” came up at any point, or the larpers began beating us soundly).

I would love to tell you what happened next. I would love to finish the story because it so beautifully and tragically illustrates my point about the lack of adventures to be had in this world of red tape, antibiotics, and safety scissors. But I’d rather show you.

I don’t know if I want to go so far as to say that Camelot is dead. Because that wouldn’t accurately reflect my feelings. It’s just harder to find in this regulated, sanitized, zoned, mapped, vaccinated world we live in. And I can’t think of a better argument for travel and books.

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