… can sometimes work in my favor.
I have made some amazing friends in this small town. We all smell like black powder on any given day. We all like shooting things! Over my tenure here, I’ve discovered who in this small town is trustworthy, who is loyal, and who can be swept to the side like garbage.
Case in point: I recently came under attack from a local who decided she didn’t like competition when it came to tours. This is Saint Augustine…there are an insane amount of tour companies here! The one with which I’m employed (quite happily) is the St. Augustine Historic Walking Tours. I came into this business just as it opened and the owner has become a good friend. She’s honest, witty, and knows I know my pirate history. My job, to put it frankly, rocks! I am paid to escort strangers around to bars and tell them history of St. Augustine’s torrid past with pirates. I love being around people, so the job has worked out quite well.
Getting back to the attack…
The owner of this competing tour company decided that, since she couldn’t attack my boss directly, she’d go after me by writing a scathing email to several high-ranking members of the city as well as the National Park Service, with whom my fiancé is employed. In this letter, she condemned me as a dangerous individual who should be outlawed from giving tours. That’s the nice way of paraphrasing what exactly she said, mind you. To credit herself, she used a glowing, five-star review from TripAvisor. Yeah, she tried to prove that I was offensive, uneducated, and dangerous by using a perfect review… O.o
However, and this is where the small town politics come in, this email got out to the reenacting community. Within 48 hours, every friend I had had seen this email. And, with each person who saw it, I received a barrage of FB messages and emails asking how they could help and that they thought the email was slanderous to say the least. I have been told that several who own establishments here in town have refused to sell any tickets for this b**** and more have told her to her face just who she picked a fight with.
See, that email, although it named me specifically, attacked a custom/tradition that has been in this town since tourists starting coming here: displaying historical weapons and demonstrating them for the public safely and educationally. I am fully certified to fire and fully aware of the capability of black powder weapons. So, when I fired my weapon, I was in a safe zone with the permission of the property owner. Just as hundreds of individuals had done before me for years. Her attack was aimed at me, but the entire community took it personally. Educational demonstrations are what make this town unique! We fire cannons and guns anytime we’re allowed to and have the powder to do so!
So, for once, this small town stopped being a microcosm of unique personalities and became a force that has since shown said b**** just who she messed with. Not just me, but the tradition of this town itself. That is something you just don’t mess with.
PS – the author of the review also blogged about me! Check it out here!