There is such a thing as tears of joy.
I don’t even know where to start about yesterday except that it was the first time that I have felt truly happy in a long time. It’s been a couple years of exceptionally hard times for my family and I, a condition that has practically stolen my words from me except for passing thoughts on Facebook. I’m still not sure I want to talk about everything that’s been going on in a public forum, but it’s still rather rough.
As of Monday of last week, I wasn’t going to Worldcon. This had led me into a bad funk because I had been battling all the above bad times and the last few sparks of possibility that I might be able to go had been extinguished. I was even more frustrated because this year’s Worldcon was being held in San Jose. When you live in the Sacramento area, that’s just about in your backyard by Worldcon standards. A lot of my friends in both Bay Area and fanzine fandom would be there. Not being able to go was one of those things that stung deeply — yet another reminder of just how hard the times had gotten.
Then, Monday night, I was chatting with a friend who mentioned that another friend was going to Worldcon. That’s when I told her that I wasn’t able to go. She asked me why I wasn’t, and I said that it was money — that even going for a day would involve paying for gas, food, and parking. That was basically money I didn’t have.
That’s when she asked me if I would accept the money to pay for those things and allow me to go for a day. And I said yes. Lira, I cannot thank you enough for this gift, this joy, that has me sitting her at my keyboard crying so hard with joy and happiness. I didn’t realize just how much I needed this.
Saturday, the eighteenth of August, dawned early. The alarm went off at four-thirty in the morning. I was basically dressed and ready by five, but I wanted to write a short fanzine for the WOOF distribution at Worldcon. I don’t recall what the acronym stands for, but it’s a one-off collection of fanzines put out at Worldcon. My specific contribution will probably go on efanzines later, to join my contribution to the Reno Worldcon WOOF, but I want to let the distribution be out for a little bit before then. That was done by six, and I put my laptop in my backpack, put my bags in the car, and began the trip to San Jose.
There were a couple stops along the way — washing my car before I got on the freeway, Vacaville (yes, Cowtown, it amuses me every time) for gas and snacks, Concord to copy my zine — but I was in San Jose by nine-thirty, which, considering that I was taking my time and enjoying the trip. There was an unusual moment where a truck had managed to take out a stretch of guardrail, but other than that, it was smooth sailing.
Of course, I’ve never actually been in downtown San Jose. I should have just asked Google to give me directions from my parking spot to the convention center, but I didn’t, and confidently began walking in the wrong direction. All was not lost, though. I discovered a new feature on Google — if you ask it “Where am I?”, it’ll pop up a map with your location. With that, I was able to reorient myself and walk back to the convention center. A fellow fan gave me directions to registration and I was off.
After a couple false starts — I was waiting patiently in line for a registration clerk to finish with somebody and a couple people walked in front of me and went to an open slot before I could — I was able to get my badge and all was official. I was here, and unlike 2008, I had not hit anybody with my backpack, especially not John Scalzi. (Yes, that really happened.)
Once I set up my badge and bought my t-shirt, as I’ve done every Worldcon, I wandered off to the business meeting. I mainly went because I know that if there’s anywhere at the convention I’m going to find Kevin Standlee, it’s at the business meeting. I was about an hour late, so most of the business of the day had been completed. It’s not always my type of fandom, but everybody’s welcome to their particular fun. That’s part of the awesomeness of fan culture. You like business meeting fandom, I like fanzine fandom, he likes costuming fandom, she wants to be a science fiction writer, they are a gamer, zie likes science fiction movies. But at heart, we’re all fans, all geeking out together.
It was good to catch up with both Kevin and Lisa (Kevin’s wife), but also Rick Moen. I’ve known Rick since I was an undergraduate at Berkeley, when he would show up to some of the gatherings of the UC Berkeley Linux Users Group (LUG). It’s always fun when people you meet in one world end up crossing into another world, and finding Rick in fandom at what was technically my first Baycon was a treat.
After the business meeting, it was off to the fanzine lounge, where I ran into the one, the only, the larger than life, the amazing Christopher J. Garcia. Chris is the reason that I’m in fanzine fandom in the first place. While my first Baycon was technically 2003 or 2004, when I came for a night, the one I count as my first Baycon was 2007. I spent a lot of time wandering the halls seeing everything there was to see, and I repeatedly passed by a room labeled ‘Fanzine Lounge’. I didn’t go in. But I did google ‘fanzine’ and discovered efanzines.com. There I discovered a fandom that I felt was right up my alley.
Chris was running around like a madman — well, more than usual — because he was going to be hosting the masquerade that night. He would, of course, do an excellent job, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. That said, he was able to take a few moments to say hi. And just like everybody else, he was so happy to see me. This was something that would continue throughout the day, which just added to my happiness.
Wow — this has already gotten long, and I’ve still got more to say. Time for another post.