Why I don’t go to Dragon*Con any more…
It is that time of year again. Any fan or geek that is knows anything in the Southeast knows that Labeor day weekend means one thing – Dragon*Con. If you don’t know, it is basically the comic-con of the Southeast. At one time, I looked forward to this time of year, but not any more. At least, not for the same reasons. Ironically though, another interest is getting me in the area and I am not sure if it a sign-of-the-times for me or is it just life.
I attended D*C off and on from 1989 until 2007, with hiatuses lasting between 1 and 4 years. I have not been since 2007 for several reasons. Primary of those is that I have 3 kids now and keeping up with them in the crowds is not worth it. But aside from that – if I could get someone to watch the kids and my wife and I go – we would not attend. The sheer number of people make it maddening and unattractive to us now. The crowds have grown from manageable to utterly suffocating. I have no desire to feel like fandom cattle again.
Getting a hotel is ridiculous now. I heard now that they are taking reservations from you as you check out. So there is very little chance for anyone that wants to come like me, that has not been in a while, to get a host hotel room. If you can’t get that, it’s not worth it at all.
I won’t get into parking.
My interests are broad – I am a gamer, I am a fan, I love the costumes but I don’t costume myself, and I love to see the celebs panels. Gaming has never gotten me to D*C. I hardly ever gamed when I went. Seeing the celebs and getting the autograph was cool but now I am way less of fanboy now – jaded in my old age, I guess. And 5 hour waits for one autograph that I have to pay entirely too much for… no thanks. Did that before in 2007 and I will not do that again.
My fandom has been a little jaded since all the flap with THAT CON as well as dealing directly with some stars while working for THAT CON. I am far less a fanboy than I was then, and that might be because of age. I try to stay in touch with contemporary fandom, at least in the areas I liked – movies and TV primarily. Sure, it would be nice to see Arrow’s Stephen Amell and even get his autograph. But really, he’s just another guy and he will be forgotten in 5 or 10 years. Other than a few notables. the guest list is pretty much the same-ol’ people over and over again. And much of the contemporary stuff is just not as satisfying as it was when I attended D*C regularly. My fandom just doesn’t drive me to cons anymore.
Some say they like to go to meet friends they have not seen in a while. I never really made enough “friends” in fandom to want to meet up with them over and over again in a crowded and expensive hotel. I guess I was not part of the cool kids at D*C. Story of my life.
And again, THAT CON burned me out from fandom considerably. The things I saw, realized and were done to me and my family definitely soured my opinion of general fandom. I still have friends but many bridges were burned in that experience and I really do not have any desire to rebuild them. There are some in fandom I have little desire to cross paths with.
We are actually headed in that direction this year for the first time since 2007. However we do not plan to attend D*C, although we may stop and see the parade. We are going for football – College football opening weekend, Chick-fila bowl. UNC Charlotte 49ers AND Aubrun University in one weekend! Can’t beat that!
Yes, we are well rounded like that.
Do I miss it. No, not at all. I have some fond memories made with people I no longer see or hang out with. Some of the best memories were made in college, but some of the worst were made too. Getting married and having kids changes you in a lot of ways but priorities is one of the primary ones. I would pick my kids over D*C any day. If I want to experience a sci-fi con, I will go to smaller ones. They are much easier to deal with.