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On skipping WFC

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World Fantasy Convention is this weekend in Washington, D.C. I'm not there, but a lot of my friends are, including several people who I didn't think were going. So on the one hand, I'm glad they all get to see each other, but on the other hand, I'm a little pouty about not being there myself. Earlier in the week, I even briefly considered getting a last-minute plane ticket and flying out there today.

I keep reminding myself that (a) the con was sold out by the time I started considering going, (b) I just got back from a week's vacation and could use some at-home time, and (c) I don't tend to enjoy WFC all that much anyway, but that's all ringing a little hollow right now. Sour grapes are sour.

I think part of my reaction has to do with being sad that WFC doesn't generally click for me. I enjoyed the first one I attended, in Monterey in 1998, which was one of my first cons with Mary Anne. But the two or three times I've been since then haven't entirely worked for me. What I think of as my usual experience, even though it probably only happened once, is that I wander around a near-empty convention space all weekend, wishing I knew anyone there, and then on the last day I run into a friend and discover that everyone I knew has spent the whole weekend sitting and talking in the bar. I think I had even tried looking for them in the bar, but had looked in the wrong bar.

I imagine that I could do better by arranging things with friends ahead of time. Or using my cell phone to call or text them in realtime. Or just asking on Facebook “Where's the bar where everyone is hanging out this weekend?” But that brings me to the further issue that I don't actually like hanging out in bars, even with friends.

My other memories of WFC also tend not to be great. For example, I feel like it's the only con where I've experienced the “someone glances at my badge and decides I'm not important enough to talk with” thing that a lot of people run into at cons; I was probably misinterpreting, and I know from the other side that there are lots of innocuous reasons for behavior that looks like that; but even so, I think WFC's the only place where it felt to me like people were reacting that way to me.

On the plus side, looking back over my past WFC entries, I see that I did like the book-exchange table, and that I've had some great long conversations with friends there.

So I think one particular unfortunate instance has kind of overshadowed the more pleasant ones in my memory. I should stop thinking of it that way.

But even so, flying across the country to see friends at a con that I otherwise don't really want to attend would probably not be the ideal choice.

But despite my poutiness, I hope everyone there is having a great time! Say hi to each other for me!

Perhaps it's time for those of us who aren't there to revive the Imaginary World Fantasy Convention from a few years back.

1 Comment

I like the idea of an imaginary convention. It amuses me.

I don't think you read non-fiction(?), but what you're discussing where a bad experience over-shadows better or neutral experiences is common. It's one of the concepts Daniel Schacter covers in _The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers_.

And I'm sorry for the sour grapes. I've had some of those lately. They're no fun. *hug*


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