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Prelude to PAX 2010 Recap

I’m not sure what it was, but it’s seeming as though this round of PAX was at least a little weird for everyone.

The most notable difference for me? I spent a LOT of time wandering alone. Some of it was by choice, some of it was not, and in fairness, I did get to see a greater number of friends than I did at PAX 2009. I had drive-by encounters with more familiar faces than last year, and actually got to hang out with friends that I didn’t even physically see, the previous year. 

Still, the overwhelming feeling was that I spent a lot of time alone, and there were several factors contributing to that. Part of it was the god-awful phone/network reception (thanks, AT&T! ::eyeroll::), and subsequently not being able to communicate with any of my nearest and dearest particularly well. There were friends I wasn’t able to spend time with as much as I’d have liked, or even at all, because I couldn’t find out where they were or what they were doing in any reasonable timeframe.

I also found myself with a fairly intense need to retreat into my own mental space, after wearing my Psylocke costume for most of the day on Saturday. I was constantly stopped with photo requests from strangers on Costume Day, regardless of whether I was alone or with friends. Most of the folks who approached me were not only polite, but actively went out of their way to be as completely un-creepy as possible, the sheer number of requests and interruptions became very overwhelming, by the end of the day.

Part of the aloneness was also due to my being interested in things that most/all of my friends weren’t as excited about checking out. PAX 2009 was essentially my own three-day come-to-Jesus moment of identifying myself as a gamer, and realizing that any “lack of cred” I’d previously felt, with respect to that, was entirely in my own head. So, in 2010, I took more initiative to find things that specifically interested me, rather than going along for sake of the adventure. Although this felt somewhat isolating, at times, it was also rewarding, and I was glad to have had the experiences I did.

Still, in spite of all that, I also have to take a moment to look at both the good and the bad of the whole PAX environment. Having embarked on the adventure of costuming at a convention for the first time, I’ve already witnessed some pretty ugly behavior, via photos and commentary post-convention. I’ve managed to filter my online universe enough that I don’t see it often anymore, but the ability some people have to say things via the online medium that they’d never say to a person’s face is just appalling. There are times when I’d really like to punch the internet in the groin.

On the flip side of that, however, wandering alone also exposed me to the warm-and-fuzzy PAX that everyone talks about. I was reminded of my experience at PAX ’09, when I discovered just how easy it was to simply walk up and talk to a stranger, or to jump in on their one-member-short Rock Band group, or to join in on a game with your line neighbors while waiting for a panel. Even when I was in costume and busy trying to text a friend, a few folks who requested photo ops even offered to sod off and come back later, without any prompting from me. It was a nice reminder that, hey, people aren’t always as scary as my brain makes them out to be, and there are people who are ready to give to those around them in beautiful ways.

Anyhoo, my karmic retribution for making my Save vs. PaxFlu 2009 seems to be that I caught a cold at this year’s PAX, instead, so my photos and any formal recap will have to wait until I fight off the Con Crud, and can actually recall what happened in anything resembling chronological order. 😉

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