A Softer Kind of War

pillow fight

As I sat on the tram, I was reading about war. It was a good, but sad, set of stories of soldiers returning home. I was thinking about war, and knew I was about to enter one.

I had my weapon in my bag. I walked out into a drizzling rain, and across to the plaza where I was supposed to meet the enemy. 2 or 3 of them seemed to already be there, weapons in hand in the rain, waiting. It was not good. Their pillows would get wet.

I had arrived at the first Geneva edition of International Pillow Fight Day.

We stood under shelter as a few more people trickled in. Some were kids, teenagers or college students, a couple were photographers, a couple looked to be my age. At some point, with about a half dozen people around the squared, and the start time for event being past, we charged. All of a sudden, everything was pillows flying left and right and I was just trying not to get hit too hard. As we beat each other, another 4 or 5 young men charged in, having arrived late and started pounding on everyone present. It was simple, goofy fun, nothing more, nothing less. We were breathing heavy and parted for a second.

Then we split off into teams and charged back at one another again, giggling and laughing. Soon, the teams collapsed and we were back into a free for all again. We beat on one another for probably a half an hour total, pillows were broken, people were chased, and an entire neighborhood was treated to a very strange sight on a Saturday.

It’s hard to find something like that as an adult in today’s world. All of the simple pleasures of the world seem to have things you need to buy attached, like biking and running, things you are being sold, like with a lot of “free events”, are part of a program you’re expected to pay for, like a lot of workout programs, or are looked on as “weird” for an adult to get involved with (I have personally been stopped by police because I was sitting with friends on a playground swing set).

Probably the best thing about pillow fight day was that I didn’t get anyone’s name. There was no formal greeting. It was “Hello, nice to meet you, here is my pillow! >Whump!<” When we finished, we walked off, saying “See you next year”. I certainly hope so.