October 16, 2005
First, my parents.
My parents were like children with ADD. They just kept wandering from shiny thing to shiny thing and they wouldn't stay together, so you'd turn around and one of them would be gone. And sinc ethey didn't pursue anything in any kind of order, they kept asking, "Have we seen this yet?"
Naturally, I knew everywhere we went and everything we had not seen because I actually looked at the map. I think when they were looking at the map, they would just making a show of it, because they didn't seem to retain any information from it.
Not that it mattered if we had been to a particular booth already; they didn't seem to remember having already inspected that particular overpriced, poorly constructed, shiny bauble.
My parents started attending these things as a result of their interest in geneology. My dad in particular loves the fact that he can trace our lineage back several hundred years, before the American Revolution, back to Ireland, and back to Scotland.
Personally, geneology is of only passing interest. The most interesting aspect of all of this is that my Dad had a Y-chromosome DNA tests done. With these tests scientists can determine the various genetic influences that went into his make up. It's pretty cool. Doesn't change the fact that he acts like a crazy, but it's interesting.
Ok, but the silliest thing about the Highland Games to me was all the people in costume. I'm not talking about kilts. Kilts are to be expected. I'm talking about people dressed like they thought it was the Rennaissance Festival.
Primitive clothing is irritating to me.
Thanks to modern manufacturing, kilts aren't what I would call "primitive." They're just skirts with a flat front and lots of pleats in back. Although, I really have to question this design, particularly for those engaging in athletic activities. If you run in a kilt, the front stays put, but the back flaps wildly. Thanks to this, I can tell you that many of the participants decided to forego the American tradition of underwear. How authentic! (I'd wager that Flibby would be concerned about this.)
But there were people wearing capes and bodices and what not. Some of the men wore the old-school kilts that consist of a single piece of fabric wrapped around and secured with a belt. Did you know that you have to lie down to put a kilt on this way? I saw it happen.
I suppose if you want to play like it's 600 years ago, it's ok to put on scratchy, ugly, ill-fitting clothing. My patience was wearing rather thin with it, though.
And the bagpipes. I hope I never have to hear another bagpipe song.
There were actual competitions for these pipe bands. It was what you might imagine of a small marching band competition. There was marching and playing "music." Except every single band played the same exact "song." I have to use the scary quotes because I really wasn't able to clearly discern a tune or direction to the noise they were making.
Really, I'm just griping because everything I would have wanted to see could have been seen in two hours instead of five. And it was difficult dealing with my parents who are really different sorts of people from me.
BUT I was a bit concerned with the sort of tribalism that abounded. Everyone was all concerned about which clan they belonged to and they wanted to make sure that they had the right tartan on their kilts, scarves, and sashes.
My mother and I thought it would be perfectly reasonable to just pick out a fabric we like and use it for whatever we want. My dad would have none of it. Apparently, it would be inappropriate for him to wear the wrong tartan.
Can I also say that I think most of the tartans were kind of boring and ugly?
I just don't see the value in identifying with some particular clan. It's not like the different clans have different philosophical ideas or anything. I suppose that if a person doesn't have or care about having good ideas, they might choose to associate with one another based on something one doesn't choose in life.
So, anyway, Highland Games. I don't recommend it.
Oh. And I don't care if you're of the clan McDonald or not. You're going to have to have something more to offer to get invited to my house.
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