I've been spending time thinking about an incident that occurred in the last moments we spent at Rhinebeck, on Saturday. About knitting celebrities, about stalking, about privacy, about respect. How it goes both ways. And now, how it affects me.
There were so, so many people at Rhinebeck; it was somewhat like stampede, crowd-wise. For me it was a minor inconvenience, I had a few problems getting to a washroom in a timely manner, and getting close to a Bosworth spindle.. but overall, I wasn't being pushed around (tho Sherry was) nor accosted. Not so for the celebrities.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee had a posse (the few times I spotted her), and I noticed that they did a very effective job of surrounding her and affording her protection. I cannot fathom how stressful it must be to attend a festival celebrating your biggest passion, yet not be able to have a moment's peace. The fact that the Yarn Harlot writes a great blog and super books does not give the general population permission to speak with her or share her day at their convenience.
And on the other hand, if a knitting celebrity is in the center of her customer base, her demographic, her fans... well, can he or she expect not to be constantly approached? Is there a way to determine when it is appropriate to approach, and when it is not? Is it ok only when the celebrity is sitting at a table selling their books and doing a signing? Is it ok if the person on the approach comes bearing gifts; or perhaps a donation? Do we act as though the celebrity is for sale, and we've bought our slice?
I am baffled. I don't know the rules.
A minor situation occured at Rhinebeck, and I'm still processing it. A group of us were leaving the park and saw that the Yarn Harlot and her posse were very close by; perhaps 6 feet or so. We approached to say:
(Insert the names of two mutual friends) say hi!.. and we look forward to seeing you in November at the retreat.
[If I was being totally honest I would have to admit that I would have asked if Denny was at Rhinebeck (she had told me that she would be), because I think she's fabulous, and I would have wanted to send a hello along to her.]
As we moved towards her, the posse closed in and she turned away. Her body language clearly said: Do not approach.
So we didn't.
I definately respect that she is a woman with a job, and I happen to be a customer, not her very best friend. At the same time I think that she couldn't have been in a worse location if it was peace she was looking for.
I haven't resolved how I feel about the whole thing.. surely it was a non-event, yet in a few short weeks I'm in a 6 hour class with the very same woman. I'm sure many would offer up their stash for the same oppotunity. I feel confused about boundaries and expectations, and a bit like an interloper.
I dunno.. I'm not done thinking it over.