I went to the park and a pillow fight broke out. I am sure you have heard far-fetched stories like that before -- but this one is true.
In between the Farmer's Market, frisbee throwers and bikini-clad sunbathers, about 50 men, women and children broke out into a pillow fight Saturday at Marion Square in downtown Charleston.
What might have looked like a random act of fluffy aggression actually was a planned event taking place all over the world. International Pillow Fight Day is billed as an urban playground movement encouraging free gatherings for all ages to non-commercial events. It's hard to tell how long this event has taken place but the website lists over 100 cities around the world that participate.
In each city around the world, the fight begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday. At 1:55 though, everything looked normal in the park except for a few people sitting around on their pillows. Soon, the small group had formed, staring at each other, not knowing what to do next.
One of the organizers, Angel Meyer, walked around in her PJs, announcing a few rules to be followed like not hitting people not carrying pillows. Then just like that, she took a swing at another fighter and the brawl began.
Pillows started flying as bystanders stood and stared, cameras clicked away and fighters laughed and ran around like kids. Remember growing up and taking a swat at your friend with a pillow. What happened next was a scolding from your mother about breaking things in the house usually followed by "go outside and play."
No cranky mothers were around, nothing was broken and everyone was already outside.
Members of the social group, Meetup.com, learned about National Pillow Fight Day and wanted to bring it to Charleston. They listed the event on Thedigitel.com and on Twitter in hopes of drawing a crowd. A couple of people who joined in said they have attended such pillow fights in New York and Boston where thousands show to participate.
Meyer, one of the members of the social group said they try to plan events like this all the time and get out to have some fun.
On Saturday, everyone involved was having fun. Kids were attacking their parents, couples were attacking each other and everyone was fair game. Even I felt the crushing blow of pillows as I got closer to shoot. The older crowd stood around trying to catch their breath as the younger people kept on hitting. When they got bored hitting each other, they charged after those trying to recuperate away from the action.
At this point you could ask why carry on like this? Why not?! In a age when we are way to comfortable in front of the television, the computer or game console -- this group is outside enjoying the great spring weather and letting off some pent up aggression. They are laughing and having a good time while many of us are too busy updating our Facebook and Twitter.
After a half hour, the fighting came to an end and some tucked their pillow under their arms to leave while others took the opportunity to soak up some sun at the park.
"We will see everyone again -- same time, same place next year," Meyer yelled out to everyone.
Those not involved may think this is a silly exercise but I think we should encourage this kind of behavior. Free events allow the inner child in all of us to emerge if only for a moment.
You can bet the family and I will be there next year -- pillow in hand and ready to rumble.
Paul Zoeller is a freelance photographer new to the area. Do you have an idea for a new blog or a question about a current blog? If you do contact Zoeller at firstname.lastname@example.org.