and i, i took the one less valuable to us… and that has made all of the difference.


also it was a city square, more than a wood.

# The Date: February 14th, Valentine’s Day 2014

# The Venue: Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco

# The Event: Great San Francisco Pillow Fight 2014


i saw a link on Twitter the night before to Free events happening in the city for Valentine’s Day and was immediately drawn to the idea of a giant pillow fight.

hearing that Aaron, our current housemate, had been part of it a year before added some fuel to the fire and when it turned out Sarah his wife [who had come off a 24 hour shift at the hospital the day before] was going to be up for it, it was plan made.

and so after Aaron came home from his Lego job [that’s right, the man works with Lego – best job in the world?] we grabbed pillows and headed down to the train station and made the journey towards the Plaza knowing that we were cutting it fine in terms of time [the invitation said 5.45pm but we were assured it would only start at 6]


it actually did start just before we got there and so we cautiously entered the fray trying to figure out the rules and the vibe as we got right into the thick of it.

i started off by sticking near Aaron, the experienced veteran and a bit of a giant of a man, but was soon off on my own foray into the action.

what made it interesting was that there were psycho overadrenalin’d guys [and some psycho overadrenalin’d girls], gentle pillow-tapping girls, costumed crazies [a unicorn, a pikachu, two polar bears, a power ranger] and enthusiastic young children [one overenthusiastic young guy who held on to Aaron while he smashed away at him and eventually had to be subdued by the police] and so strategy was a mix of trying to nail the heavies, medium hit the more girlie girls, avoid smashing cameras that were being wandered through the crowds all over the place and not killing any of the children.

but in the shell of a nut, BEST VALENTINE’S DAY EVER! 

fairly early on my dread bandana was in danger of coming off and never being seen again and so i just took it off and put it in my pocket and let me dreads hang low [let them wiggle to and fro] and had two gears – slow wander through the crowd and wait for a moment and then scream a viking yell and start spinning in a circle with my pillow [and later two pillows when someone abandoned theirs] spinning in a robot fashion in my hand and just mad frenzy for a while.


For the record, the Great San Francisco Pillow Fight is a lesson in conformity.

At one point, the last thing i remember hearing was, ‘Go for the dreads.’ Followed by pain. As twenty people [or more] attacked me at once. [i fought back valiantly!]

Anyone who was different became a target for the frenzy moments – tall people, people on shoulders, the unicorn costumed guy [a lot!], Pikachu, pig costume, Power Ranger and of course ‘guy with dreads’ [which happened a few times].

At one point when everyone was hitting me there was a brief lull and so i shouted, ‘HIT THE ONE WITHOUT DREADS’ and just started windmilling it in a frenzy.

In our very own Avengers Assemble moment, Aaron, tbV and i ended up in the middle of a circle back to back to back dealing out ‘damage’ to the crowd around us.

Another fun moment [and let’s be honest, a lot of my action happened to coincidentally happen near the bigger cameras] was when i was in the middle of a fight and i was fighting in ultra-slow motion and another dude saw me and we ended up doing what felt like a choreographed fight sequence as people looked on in slow motion and i ended up lying on the floor, head on my pillow, sucking my thumb and pretending to sleep.


i will attach a video clip below to give you an idea of how it went down, but you really have to times that by 1000 and then just be sad for a second and realise that doesn’t catch it at all – it will give you a glimpse into the mayhem and fun but it was just a classic once in a lifetime [well, til we organise one in Cape Town when we get back] moment of absolute bliss and energy and silly fun. 


when we arrived it reminded me of the Flash Mob i attended back in Cape Town years ago. so many people on the periphery who were super amped to get involved and be a part of it, but too nervous to actually follow through. so we had to push through a crowd of onlookers and camera people and onlooked with cameras who were people.

and that was pretty much how the crowd was divided. i would say more than a thousand people watching and more than a thousand people pillow-fighting [and then some really brave camera people who made their way through the crowds and the fighting with their cameras on long poles or held above their heads]

which is like church and a lot of life i guess. a lot of people watching because they like the idea of the thing, but not so amped to get involved in the actual doing of the thing.

because let’s face it – it can be dangerous getting in there – you could get hurt – there is a definite cost [the likelihood of your pillow being used again is minimal and many pillows were sacrificed completely in the name of fun, but i imagine some people woke up bruised and maybe even bleeding a little from some accidental pillow or elbow action] and it requires a lot more effort and commitment.

and if you watch, you can say you were there and you can feel like you were there and you might even have camera footage proving you were there. which is all cool and well and all.

but you weren’t really there!

not really. you weren’t IN the pillow fight. you were next to it or around it or close by to it, but you were not a participant.

so you were maybe one step closer than those who watched it on tv or read about it on the internet [hi!] but you were so close and still did not get to experience everything that it was.

with a giant pillow fight that is not so much of a big deal – maybe watching it was enough and all of the fun that you needed.

but with life and with church, it is tragic if you end up being a bystander or an onlooker when the invitation was to jump in and go for it and dominate and really live.

since tbV and i have been in Americaland we have taken part in a colour run [slash walk] getting powder paint thrown at us every km, an electric run [slash walk] wearing crazy neon flashing things and now this giant crazy mayhemmed pillow fight [and pretty soon we will be staying in a Yurt with Aaron and Sarah for the weekend – look it up] – we try and live with a ‘Yes, lets’ mentality that allows us to try new things and experience some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and i can highly recommend it.


well, there was only one way to end that evening – we rehydrated ourselves and grabbed some drinks and headed off through the city to the movie theatre to go and watch The Lego Movie which was such a completely fun experience [especially watching it with Mr Lego who got so excited when they put the numbers of the lego pieces on the screen because he knows and works with them – that was a treat!] and i highly recommend it for everyone – just a lot of crazy family fun.

and a LOT more fun than standing in the cinema lobby looking at the poster of The Lego Movie.