Thursday, April 14, 2011

A rose by any other name would still be anonymous

So, now that I've told you about the Faire thing in more detail, I'm going to tell you about flowers and mugs.

My job at the festival is to entertain the people who pay money to walk through the gates, eat the food, see the shows and shop until they drop. That's the job of all the 100+ members of the performing company, that we refer to as "the cast." We bust our butts, sweat buckets, laugh until we cry, and generally leave all of our hearts and energy out in the lanes to entertain those 10,000 people a day who walk through our gate.

Our cast isn't a leaderless band of hooligans and rabble-rousers. We have a leader. That leader has many jobs, most of which I know nothing about. Honestly, I'd like to keep it that way. One of the jobs that I do know a little about is the picking of the "Character of the Day." It's kinda like being chosen MVP for a day. It's the Oscar of our faire... only instead of a golden statue, we get a special mug. Instead of an acceptance speech, we lead the cast in a short physical warm up.

So, during out morning meeting, the Director (our leader) makes some announcements, says some stuff, then tells us about the performer who has been chosen--what they did that caught the attention of the Director. It's a fun time for the cast as we play a mental guessing game to try to figure out who is being described, because the name of the performer is always the last detail given. Again, like an Oscar, the Director verbally gives us the "highlight clip" for that performer. Anyway, it's a fun thing. Just like the Oscars, there can be drama about getting or not getting a mug, but in the end, most people have a pretty good attitude about it. As a cast, we like to celebrate our friends when they do well, and just like an Oscar doesn't make a movie good, neither does a mug make a performer better--it's still nice to be recognized for the work you do.

Anyway, enough about the mugs. They're nice, but they're really just the backdrop for what I really want to talk about. A 350-word preamble, if you will.

There is another recognition-thank you-thingy that happens each day as well. It's sneaky, unofficial and anonymous. It's a yellow rose. This yellow rose is delivered by one of the festival rose sellers, usually fairly early in the day, and with it is a little unsigned note that says simply, "A day without laughter is a day wasted. Thank you for being my personal character of the day." The note is attached to the rose with a little blue ribbon, and that's all there is to it.

Only, that's not all there is to it. It's such a sweet, personal gesture. The mug is public and comes with a nice words from your boss, and a happy-hour style toast at the end of the day with your peers. The rose is... quiet and intimate and wonderful in its own special way. Once you know it's out there, if you see cast members with a yellow rose, you ask, "Is that the thing?" Usually they smile and blush a little, and say yes, and it's neat. I don't know if I even have the right words to tell you how awesome it is to get that rose. I was lucky enough to get one my third season, and to this day it's still one of my favorite memories. I know that some people know who the mysterious rose-sender is. I know it's someone who is or was on cast who knows the meaning of the mug and wanted to say their own kind of kudos or thank you. Beyond that, I don't know, and I don't really want to know. I wouldn't cry if I found out but I don't spend any time agonizing about it either. The sender wants to be anonymous, so I let them be anonymous. The note and the thought are what counts and made my day and hopefully the sender got to see that and know that their efforts brought joy. I believe in the power of anonymity in these situations, so that the giving of the good stuff is selfless and stuff. Not that anonymity in and of itself is always good... it's like fire. It can be good, it can hurt people...

And THAT 350 words was brought up in my brain by the fact that I got a completely different anonymous rose this past weekend. At the end of the day Saturday, right before we get to the sing-the-song-fire-the-cannon-go-home part, a rose seller came and gave me this beautiful coral-ly red rose, with the pale outside to the petals and the vibrant inside, so the rose looks two colors... you know what I mean? Anyway, it was lovely. And I just sort of assumed it was from my husband, because he sends me flowers once in a while, and he knew I'd had a sort of rough week, so... yeah. Assumption made, but I asked the rose-deliverer anyway and he said the rose was from "Anonymous" with the message "I love you." Ok, fine. Still probably my husband, but being...subtle... or something. Whatever. A rose is a rose and it was lovely. I said my thank you to the rose seller and told him to tell the sender thank you as well, and that I probably loved them too. You know, it's possible. There are lots of people that I love and lots of them happen to work with me out at Faire, and all the people that I could think of who would send me a flower out there definitely fall in the category of "people I would gladly and willing share a meal with in my house" which is a kind of love that defines my friends.

So, the day ends, there is a shower and changing into clean clothes, then some tailgating and when I see my husband next, I give him a kiss and tell him thank you. He, smart man that he is, says "You're welcome. For what?"

Logical question, he does lots of great things for me, especially on a faire day. "For the rose," says I. There is a pause, where I can see the gears in his brain turning as he ponders whether to take credit or fess up.

"What rose?" says he.

Uh-oh. Huh... puzzled look on both of our faces. He didn't send the rose... now I really want to know who did! Do I love them? Did I send some poor floral messenger with a false declaration of affection? Probably not. I probably do have a great deal of admiration and devotion to whomever was kind enough to send me a flower, because I'm not exactly the kind of person to whom random growing things are given, so it's probably from one of my friends. And yet, my brain kept turning the puzzle over and over in my head. I re-ran the conversations I had with everyone about the arrival and mystery of the flower, looking for clues as to the identity of the mystery gifter. Who could it be? Why the mystery? WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? I wore the rose all day Sunday, hoping for more hints, for a look, a glance, a revealing smile that would tell me who had been so kind to me. I was maybe a little nicer to all my friends and everyone that I thought might possibly have been involved, just in case, but the mystery was still bugging me...

Then I remembered the yellow rose and the truth that I believed about the anonymity of that floral-favor-sender. I stretched my brain a bit to extend the same faith and grace to the sender of my pretty "I love you" rose. Not only did the rose itself make me happy, it caused a little extra kindness to be shared with the people I came in contact to. All in all, not a bad outcome at all.

So, I lay it to rest. If, perhaps, the gifter of said rose knows my Beanishness, then I say to them, "Thank you." If not, hopefully they saw and were pleased with my pleasure at their kindness and thoughtfulness.

Like my husband, who found the little rose bud, half dried in his car and tucked it into my car for me to find the next morning... now it sits on my dash as a reminder that I am loved and that I can continue to be loving in return to all those around me, even anonymously.

1 comment:

Beylit said...

The secret character of the day rose is the only reason I did not quit faire on the last day of my second season. I was tired and felt hurt and slighted, completely unappreciated, and useless. I had been crying since morning meeting ended and had to be prodded and coerced into going to front gate. After cannon when I came in the gate there was Joe with the yellow rose and the card holding it out to me. I burst into tears on the spot. It restored my faith in myself.
I have been so lucky as to receive two of them and they are a huge point of pride for me.

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