I am a dork.

This is a conclusion that I’ve been avoiding for some years now, but after attending the Comic book/Sci-Fi Convention today I must own up to my social problem. I also learned to have a lot of cash on hand in small bills when attending these events. Comparisons to Vegas are not inappropriate. There was no ATM in the convention area, which is a little unusual for the Expo. Ouside and at the other end of the large convention building was an ATM machine from a bank to which I did not belong. Since I walk a lot, fetching money from this location would normally not be onerous. However it was drizzling rain today, I stupidly wore my heel-irratating boots and the ATM fees were high. However, I did extract $60 from it, thinking it would be enough. This sum was very, very close to being sufficient.

Nichelle Nichols

While waiting in line to buy admission to the event, a gruff, determined man demanded that those in line should “make way.” Because I’m a sheep, I did. The man was escorting the fabulous Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura from Star Trek, into the event. She walked within 3 feet of me. Cool! She was wearing some kind of fur coat with rather large sunglasses (recall it was raining). Lot’s of fun.

Anthony Simcoe

Farscape’s D’Argo was signing photos and hawking his “Number 96” Demo CD. He seemed pleasant enough. I gave him one of my Taskboy cards and told him about the “crazy” music to be found there. I’ll have to invite him to my next poker party.

Gigi Edgley

The fabulous and energetic Gigi Edgely was a surprise guest at the Expo. She’s very, very tiny. She’s also wonderfully charismatic and interacted cheerfully with the fans (as did Anth, but my eye was more on G) — except for me. I should explain that while she was signing her photo, I discovered that I was a dollar shy of being able to pay for it. Yikes! Since I didn’t have Ms. Manners with me, I gave $19 bucks (all I had) to Gigi’s money guy and told them I’d be back with the difference. I did not take the photo. Gigi was visibly annoyed, but then I have the effect on a good number of people and I’ve learned to move on. After leaving the hall (again) on route to the mechanical money god, I decided that I didn’t really want to pay another an ATM fee of $1.25 just to get a dollar. Besides, I only bought the photos and such to support the Farscape campaign and the actors themselves. That’s why I left the $19 with Gigi (sorry about wasting the photo!). So when Gigi relates this story during her convention talks, you can say “Dude! I know that Loser!”. If Gigi ever reads this, I deeply and abjectly apologize for wasting your time. I will continue to buy Farscape DVDs though.

Some thoughts on the crowd.

My first paid job was as a clerk in a comic book store. I was paid $2.50 per hour (under the table) and I was immersed in the comic book subculture, such as it was, on Cape Cod. Years later when I saw the Simpsons character of the Comic Book guy, I howled with laughter and marveled at the authenticity of the characterization. Comic book collectors and Sci/Fi fans have what psychologists call fantasty-prone personalities. Did I see Star Fleet Officers? Yes. Did I see Storm Troopers? Yes. Did I see Medieval customs aplenty? You betcha. However, I did not see as many, can I call them freaks?, as I thought I would.

The essence of these gatherings is voyeristic. At its most harmless, browsing through rare and expensive comics is exciting because it involves the fantasy of owning them (thinking that the collection before you is yours). Gawking at “famous people” is another common activity at these conventions. Because most of the spectators were classic introverts, the gawking at a distance took on some of the quality of truckers at a strip bar. That makes me a bit sad but also helps to underscore the damage that years of living in Puritan-haunted Massachusetts has done to me.

The convention was fun. I’m glad I went. I spent more money that I wanted to. Oh, I saw the actor who played the second in command on “Lost In Space”. No Bill Mumy, though. Bummer.

[Original use.perl.org post and comments.]