I’m thinking of hitting up a Con for the first time in roughly twenty-five years.
Between 18 and 26, I attended several a year when I could afford to, but that tapered off between having a weird experience as a sober person the last time and discovering that the four-day, weekend-long party environment of MiniCon had lost it’s appeal. I was new to being sober (and it didn’t stick, sadly), and my preferred con had devolved into more party than science-fiction/fantasy conventioning. I don’t even think I attended the final day, as I was burnt out entirely and I didn’t have alcohol to drive me into doing stupid shit with the other people doing stupid shit.
I have a few old friends who show up at the replacement for the now-defunct MiniCon, organize by folks that were more serious about their fandom than having an excuse to party for four days straight. I’m not sure if that’s the case anymore, but when MiniCon sputtered and splintered, this other group of folks started up their own event called CONvergence Minneapolis. That’s not to say they don’t like their parties, but there was apparently a desire to go back to the convention part of “con” and bring back panels and speakers that were actual people of note.
Like I said, not sure where everything stands these days, but that was my grapevine understanding of the situation.
So, I’m thinking of getting a pass to attend CONvergence, taking place in early August in downtown Minneapolis.
I’m not sure what I expect to experience there, however — and perhaps it’s best if I maintain that lack of expectation if I go.
I know there will be at least two people I want to spend time with; the guitarist from my goth band and his significant other will both be there and playing a role in at least some element, if only to keep the smoker’s area clear of problems. I was bitter for a few years after the band dissolved, mostly because we’d just started hitting our rhythm and I’d gotten some in-biz attention that had a chance to lead someplace, but first the singer/drummer left and then the guitarist got fed up with trying to find replacements and he left. Neither knew I was in preliminary talks (I was asked to keep mum about the arrangements until they were more concrete) and I didn’t want to have either stay around for the wrong reasons, so they both don’t know about that chatter to this day. But I was bitter, and I said a few mean things over those early years after the breakup, especially when his name came up when I had been drinking. I’d like to mend that by having a face-to-face chat with him; not to “fix it”, but at least share a laugh and try to apologize.
I also wouldn’t mind bumping into people that I considered friends that might be there, but never close enough friends to know their full names (or sometimes, real names) to look them up at the normal places one stalks old friends these days. You have to understand that we were little guttersnipes that knew each other from events like cons and the weekend street hangouts, or the nightclub all-agers and RenFest. You hung out, knew these people about as well as you could and never bothered to learn if their name really was Aaron or Cindy, and no one bothered (usually) with full names. Like Branwen — I knew where I would bump into her at the time, and I even hung out at her house a few times. I couldn’t tell you her full name, if it was her real name, or her Craft name. And I never drove to her house, as I was generally bus-bound at the time. CONvergence is the kind of place many of these folks might end up.
Unless they got old and boring like me. Sometimes it seems like I’m the only one who has.