When you’re friends with the new Consul, it might be a good idea to keep your mouth shut instead of offering to help out with that “conference thing” she’s putting on.
I had no idea what I was getting into. I’d never even BEEN to CoreCon, but the next thing I knew, I was Inner Core, part of several different departments, and spending all my free time at Kim’s house. (Her dog Fish and I are best friends now by the way. Sorry, Michelle, but you’ve been replaced.) I spent hours putting together registration packets. I organized binders. I had a panic attack trying to figure out how volunteers work. (It’s all good now. I learned you just stand in the hallway and yell at people to help.) It was a bizarre experience, seeing the behind-the-scenes workings of a massive event like this without knowing what the outcome would be. People kept telling me that everything would come together, and I just had to trust them.
And boy, did it ever. I walked into the Holiday Inn on Thursday afternoon, and it was like walking into a completely different world. Happy nerds sound different than normal people. There’s an unrestrained giddy-ness to the way we greet each other, an aggressive passion when we start talking. Most of us aren’t the kinds of people who are naturally comfortable interacting with large groups of strangers, and the idea of 1300 people crammed into a hotel convention space sounds like my very own version of hell, but instead there was a sense of freedom. We could let our freak flags fly.
I was blown away by the creativity I saw as I walked around. There were at least 4 Deadpools and several Wonder Women, but there were also characters I’d never even heard of before lovingly portrayed with no thought to cost or comfort. I watched people throw down over the proper ranking of the MCU films and then become Facebook friends. I watched children and adults alike scouring the convention space looking for little paper heroes and villains in order to complete quests. It was never quiet, and yet it was never overwhelming. There was just a constant hum of excitement.
And yeah, I was busy working a lot of the weekend. (Once again, never give a Consul a blanket offer of help.) But every now and again, I found time to just wander. I felt like a little kid running around, wide-eyed and enthralled. I spent several hours in the fansuites, just hanging out, enjoying the company. I went to panels. I stopped in Con Flix to watch movies. I played board games. I laughed so hard I had an asthma attack. Twice. I made lifelong friends.
So, I guess, maybe, I should be thanking Michelle for roping me into this. Because I’m already planning for next year.
And as Paul St. Peter would say:
One of us. One of us.