To Ohayocon

Road trips are broken down by scale:
<600 miles – Not a road trip, doesn’t even require filling up the tank twice.
2500>x>600 miles – Minimum road trip.  Have to fill up tank at least once strictly to cover distance but at no point are you more than a day from home.
5000>x>2500 miles – Road trip.  There’s a point in the trip that if you left at that instant, you wouldn’t be home for at least 16 hours, a full day, of driving.
>5000 miles – Grand road trip.  At the 5k mile mark, you need to have an oil change at some point.  Requiring vehicle maintenance on the road ups the stakes a bit.
This weekend, Suzie and I are going to Ohayocon in Columbus, Ohio and this marks our first dip into the category of “minimum road trip” since August.  We got underway and Suzie was to my right as we began driving West.  There was a wonderful strangeness to driving to Ohio with her in the car after so many cases where this was the solo leg of the trip.  The driving was easy and I got a parking spot immediately in front of the Ohayocon venue.  We walked in and slowly made it to the room where I was participating in a panel Suzie was running.  The going was slow from the infinitude of people stopping Suzie to say “hello”.  Here, she was a rock star.  The closest analog would be me at Ockanickon when I was ecology director and ran the Magic tournaments.  There I would have a cloud of people following me around.  A staff member referred to these kids as my “electrons”. Luckily, my electrons never hit on me.
I need to use the bathroom before the panel started so walked to the bathroom.  On the way back in, a convention staffer moved to stop me but I did what I always do when I don’t have appropriate credentials to be somewhere; I walked with purpose and a certain aloofness at a pace a little bit faster than most people.  He gave up stopping me after a few strides and going “sir!”.  Had he gotten in front of me and asked me what I was doing he would have received a “that’s a stupid question”.  This Star Trek-inspired tactic has about a 50% chance of success but is well worth the effort.

The panel was on survival horror games and involved bringing up unwitting audience members and trying to scare them.  Dim lighting, unfamiliar controls, scary games, and some well placed screaming made the event go well.  The costumes at Ohayocon were not too impressive and some didn’t even show any particular sense of craftsmanship.  Some people seemed to just ape the colors and ideas of their favorite fandom and for me that was unappealing.  Dragon*con had spoiled me.  This was the first convention where I felt exposed to “con folk” and my initial reaction to them was overly strong.  They were unwashed, poorly dressed, and were identifiable by the sound of their knuckles scraping behind themselves, or at least that’s how it was in my head.  On reflection, I’ve encountered the same people in Scouting and at Magic tournaments.  Just like in those other communities, they wanted to be there.  This was their hobby, a way of getting social engagement with people like them, and probably is the foundry of some of their finest memories.  They will grow-up a little, hopefully, and convention culture will have helped them bootstrap themselves into proper society… or they may become furries.  Who knows.