I woke up today knowing that Dragon Con 2016 was closing in fast. But only when I decided to put a note on my markerboard that says "89 days till Con" did it really hit me. We are really, really close! And I have almost nothing ready!
So, a lot like every DragonCon ever, then.
Given the realization, though, I thought I'd mark the start of the home stretch by remembering what makes me love DragonCon so much.
My first ever con was quite a few years ago. I honestly can't remember which year it was. My brother was living in Atlanta at the time and had heard a little about DragonCon...there was a huge crazy parade, people dressed up in costumes, some comic books for sale probably? Well, the deciding factor for us was that year the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation was attending. My brother asked me if I wanted to come down and go. Sure, I said, but we decided only to attend on Sunday, since I had to be back for work Monday, and tickets were cheaper for that day rather than Saturday.
Looking back, I did basically nothing that first DragonCon. Neither of us had any idea how things work or were organized, so it didn't really even occur to me to attend any panels. We wanted to see the Star Trek guys but the one place where we knew they were signing autographs had a massive crowd we weren't able to penetrate. I don't think we even knew there was a vendor room.
But it was awesome! We wandered from hotel to hotel. We stood agape, watching our childhood heroes walk past. There's He-Man! Oh, check out the Borg dudes. Whoa, fucking DARTH VADER! The simple experience of just BEING at the Con was wonderful.
And so I have gone back each year. And each year, I have been more and more involved. The next time, I went for two days. Then three. Then I was attending all four days, planning out exactly which panels I wanted to see, and strategizing the best time to hit the vendors and avoid crowds.
And now here we are, only a few weeks away from Dragon Con #30. I have a room in one of the main Con hotels. I have costumes planned. I will be at the Con the entire time, living and breathing it. (OK, yuck to the breathing part...remember to shower, folks!) I've begun to lay out each week's schedule leading up to Labor Day weekend, working my way backward from the week before the con:
There are so many aspects of DragonCon that I love dearly, but as I consider them all in my head, I always return to that first experience, and the part of the con that I love more than anything else. Just BEING there. It truly is the one time of year I reach peak geek. I am completely and unapologetically myself for an entire weekend. And I am surrounded by tens of thousands of other people who are doing the exact same thing! Just being themselves. Being geeks and nerds, spazoids and dweebs. Being the thing that got me beat up in high school.
So, yeah. 89 days to go and not a single costume finished, not a single prop ready. But that's ok. Because in less than three months, I'll be among friends again!