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. Â 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. Â 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. Â At the 5k mile mark, you need to have an oil change at some point. Â 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. Â We got underway and Suzie was to my right as we began driving West. Â 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. Â The driving was easy and I got a parking spot immediately in front of the Ohayocon venue. Â We walked in and slowly made it to the room where I was participating in a panel Suzie was running. Â The going was slow from the infinitude of people stopping Suzie to say “hello”. Â Here, she was a rock star. Â The closest analog would be me at Ockanickon when I was ecology director and ran the Magic tournaments. Â There I would have a cloud of people following me around. Â 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. Â 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. Â He gave up stopping me after a few strides and going “sir!”. Â Had he gotten in front of me and asked me what I was doing he would have received a “that’s a stupid question”. Â This Star Trek-inspired tactic has about a 50% chance of success but is well worth the effort.
The panel was onÂ survivalÂ horror games and involved bringing up unwitting audience members and trying to scare them. Â Dim lighting, unfamiliar controls, scary games, and some well placed screaming made the event go well. Â The costumes at Ohayocon were not too impressive and some didn’t even show any particular sense of craftsmanship. Â Some people seemed to just ape the colors and ideas of their favorite fandom and for me that was unappealing. Â Dragon*con had spoiled me. Â This was the first convention where I felt exposed to “con folk” and my initial reaction to them was overly strong. Â 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. Â On reflection, I’ve encountered the same people in Scouting and at Magic tournaments. Â Just like in those other communities, they wanted to be there. Â 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. Â They will grow-up a little, hopefully, and convention culture will have helped them bootstrap themselves into proper society… or they may become furries. Â Who knows.