In a conversation with my sister the other day, I found myself explaining why I’m more comfortable at a convention — even given the high levels of stress inherent in big events, and regardless of whether I’m selling or presenting — than at your average dinner party with non-geeky folks.
There’s a level of understanding, in my experience, amongst the fen, that most mainstream folks are lacking. There’s an expectation, almost, that we’re all going to be awkward and anxious, stutter and lose our train of thought because we’re so excited about all the stuff happening around us. We all flail down here….
Science fiction and fantasy fans have the best sense of humor, too. I love seeing the endless twists on “Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!” Or chocolate, or coffee, or…
I love being around people who instantly grasp my jokes referencing old books and movies. I’ve tried my jokes on non-geeks. They fall flatter than a coyote under an anvil. I grew up thinking I had no sense of humor; turns out, I just didn’t have the right audience!
Fen are also insanely crafty and thrifty creatures. We can make a penny squeak even as we’re converting it to a magnificent sculpture. Some of the stuff in Artist Alleys and Galleries are just … wow. It takes a special kind of genius to create these things.
We’re generally not afraid of taking medication for our anxieties, but we’re also motivated to manage our own shit, so conventions are full of people sitting in corners and quietly knitting to deal with a moment of stress. Or coloring, or drawing, or writing, or…
It’s nice to know I don’t literally have to retreat to the bathroom for some solitude. I can just sit my butt down in an out of the way chair and pull out a book, and people get the hint and keep walking. I’ve never seen or heard of a “take off your headphones, cutie” problem at a SFF convention. Maybe it’s all the looming Klingons and stormtroopers.
Fen are ridiculously generous. Charity drives always finish up with high numbers, especially for animal shelters. Someone always has an extra chapstick, hand lotion, tampon, bandaid, aspirin, or what have you, and if the person next to you isn’t that person, they probably know who to ask. A convention could not even exist without countless hours of donated labor from staff and volunteers. Nobody gets paid for the work of putting a fan-run convention on. It’s all out of love and passion.
I don’t care if you paint rocks to look like Pokemon, or write epic swashbuckling novels, or weave blankets with unicorns on from scratch, or sell t-shirts with genre-related sayings on them. You’re amazing, just because you’re engaged in one of the most vibrant, giving, loving, forgiving, tolerant, and intelligent groups of people in the world today.
Thank you for being a geek.
You — yes you! — are part of what makes this planet worth saving.