Monday, October 21, 2013

Top Ten People You See at Cons

Howdy, folks! I'm back from Mile Hi Con, and I'm exhausted, so I thought I'd just do a Top Ten list of the types of people you see at a sci-fi/fantasy/horror convention (though it was almost entirely lacking horror topics, despite having many horror authors there). This is not to be confused with a writer's conference, though this one does have writers as the speakers/presenters.

10. Monopolizers - Folks in the audience who think they know more than the speaker/panelists. They pipe up, interrupt, answer questions, etc. They wear that terribly smug expression that proclaims "I'm a genius," when, in fact, they often have no idea what they're talking about, and when they do, nobody wants to hear it, anyway. I remember these folks from high school and I don't like them anymore now than I did then.

9. Twitchers - Listen, I've got ADHD (actually diagnosed, not that type people like to claim they have because they seek an excuse for not getting things done), yet I can control how I exhibit any hyperactivity. I've learned coping mechanisms that allow me to not shake my leg, tap my foot, kick seat-backs, click pens (for the love of all that is holy, make them stop!), so on and so forth. But apparently there are many who haven't mastered this control. Unfortunately, ADHD makes me hyper-aware of every little thing going on around me, which means these people distract me to no end and drive me nuts. Just...WHY? I'll also tentatively add the package crinklers to this crowd, but I'm only counting those who voraciously stuffed their faces while crinkling never-ending bags of chips, or cookies, or whatever comes in the loudest packaging possible.

8. Unwashed Masses  and The Diseased - I feel a little mean throwing this one out there, but there were so many people I was stuck sitting next to that smelled. Like they didn't bathe frequently or maybe just didn't use deodorant (though I must say I saw other things that indicated lack of bathing, like limp, matted hair). and many seem to have never been taught what a toothbrush is. There were several instances where I struggled to hold my breath through much of an hour long panel/workshop thanks to someone who was really that odoriferous who had me trapped. Oh, please, if you're going to go to a public gathering (or into public, in general), please, please bathe and use deodorant. Wash your clothes. Brush your teeth (oh, hell, just use mouthwash, I don't care). Do whatever keeps you from smelling like concentrated b.o. and mustiness.

This one is getting two paragraphs, because I'm lumping two similar, but mostly unrelated categories together. The Diseased is how I'll refer to the ones who hacked and coughed, or cleared their throats in terribly phlegmy manners throughout entire workshops. I had one sitting behind me Friday night who was so fastidiously clearing her throat that I kept expecting a wad to hit me in the back of the head. No, seriously. That was grody. But other than her (shudder), there were plenty carrying around Con Crud, as a friend refers to it. Fingers crossed I don't get sick!

7. Knitters - I was surprised how many people were knitting through the workshops. I'm in no way complaining about this one (except for the woman in front of me who kept moving her chair back in an already packed room to make space for her knitting until she finally slammed into my knee so hard that I had to shove her chair forward to get my leg untrapped - I have long legs as it is, and her backward movement already had me crammed into an awkward position; she didn't bother apologizing, and, in fact, craned her neck to see if *I* could move farther back...I couldn't). They were, however, a surprisingly sizable group. Perhaps if the Twitchers took up knitting, we could solve a lot of problems.

6. Clockwork Crowd - There was quite an array of people in steampunk get-ups of all sorts. While it's not a genre I'm into as a reader or writer, I enjoyed seeing all the various costumes. They varied from complicated truly clockwork costumes, to period pieces, to little feathered hats perched on people's heads. Many corsets were slung, short skirts showed striped tights, and brightly colored wigs abounded. I'm also including those outliers who weren't necessarily steampunk, so much as period dressed for various time frames.

5. Furries - I actually only saw one of these this year, a significant change from last year. These are the people who dress up in furry animal costumes. I always figure they're way warmer than I am when the heat turns off for the evening. This year's was Winnie the Pooh. Does that even count? Last year there were a lot of felines.

4. Sci-fi/Fantasy - There were tons of Star Trek uniforms/costumes/t-shirts, etc., as well as a contingent of Star Wars costumes and the like. These people are serious about their preferred Star genre. One can add Firefly and Dr. Who peeps to this grouping, as well. And I'm sure there are others, including some I don't recognize (such as the people with bird masks, armor, and REAL bird wings attached to their costumes...anyone?)

3. Writers - Yep, plenty of writers there. There were quite a few writers who fell into one (or many) of the other categories, as well. We're the ones scribbling notes, people watching, and staring off into space as we work through plots, create characters, fantasize through a storyline, so on and so forth.

2. The Gamers - I didn't interact with these folks (though there are many in the other categories that fit this one, as well, but I'm mostly talking about those into whose territory I did not roam). There are whole areas dedicated to games of all kinds. Black cloth-covered tabletops roared with conversation, often strictly about the game. There were cards, dice, you name it. The truly gung-ho were still going strong when I left the bar around 2:30 AM. They were up well before I was. They took meals at these tables.

1. The Lost - I'm pretty much one of these. When I wasn't with the few people I knew there, I felt isolated and unsure of myself. I'm not a hardcore sci-fi or fantasy fan, and they (sci-fi/fantasy peeps) are by far (obviously) the most concentrated group, enveloping all of the above groups. The Lost wander around, keeping to themselves, hiding in their rooms when not in a workshop. They're overwhelmed. While they're enjoying the con, they're also counting down the hours to when they can leave. Well, I was, and I did enjoy the panels and workshops I attended, as well as the time spent with friends. And, you know, I enjoyed the time locked away in my hotel room, sans kiddos, listening to music, working on some writing. It's always a nice feeling, conflicting with missing my hubby and babies. Nothing like getting away to make you appreciate home.

So...what category(ies) did I miss? Who do you notice at cons? Do you fit into one (or more) of these categories? Which ones?

May you find your Muse.


  1. Furries and plushies scare me...
    I'm a big fan and geek, but I'd still never wear a costume to a con.
    We have knitters at church. Must be a new craze...

  2. Quite an interesting blog to read and I also enjoyed your list.
    Take care.

  3. I really, really want to go to a con soon. Your descriptions were great. Those first not so fun types seem to be at any big gathering.
    I understand the knitters. It's kind of mindless and like you said it helps them sit still.

  4. This was fun to read although I gagged a bit at the Unwashed. What the heck?? I've never been to a Con and I know I would be among the Lost LOL.

  5. I am unashamedly in the writer group. :)

  6. Couldn't have said it better. Yes, to all of the above. And why the heck woudn't you bathe? Seriously? I went to MileHiCon last year, and I've never smelled so many odoreress individuals.

  7. The local comic/game shop has a sign up about how to behave, etc, and one of the items on the list is "be aware of the odors you bring into the store." It makes me sad that that has to be on there.

  8. Is it wrong to say, after reading that I have no desire to attend any such meeting / conference. Sounds horrid!

  9. The San Diego Comi-con is rife with all types. I mostly spend time trying to flow with the masses, and experience every single one of those categories.

  10. Alex, why no costume? Yeah, I'm a bit freaked out by the furries. I don't quite understand it.

    Yvonne, thanks for stopping by!

    Susan, I can certainly understand distracting oneself to stay still! I hope you get to go to a con soon.

    Julie, we could be lost together, lol. Yeah, whenever I smelled something nasty today I exclaimed to my husband, "It smells like Con!"

    David, woo-hoo! The best group to be in!

    Julie, so glad it wasn't only me who noticed. What is WITH that!?

    Andrew, oh wow! Sad and nasty. Given, there was an entire chapter in my CNA textbook about personal care. It laid out proper bathing, using deodorant, brushing your hair, etc. I couldn't believe I was having to spend my time reading that, but I think I understand it now.

    Yolanda, nah, not wrong at all. I'm thinking I'm not a con-type of person, but it's fun to spend time with friends and meet some new authors. I do love discovering new writers!

    Susan, my cousin gets to go to that Con as a journalist. I was jealous, but maybe not so much anymore? Though there are big stars at that one it would be fun to see.

  11. I'm a writer who's sometimes lost.

    I dislike the monopolizers. I've only seen one knitter.

  12. I don't care for bad smells or know-it-alls who know nothing.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  13. I hate knitters at ball games too. Why are you even going! Funny list Shannon.

  14. Great list. (Unwashed Masses and The Diseased is an awesome band name, by the way)
    I've only been to Dragon*Con and it was freaking awesome.
    I started as one of the Lost... It didn't help that the event was spread across the four biggest hotels downtown ATL. Then I was strictly the writer. Dressed professionally despite hundred degree weather, attending all the writing panels and lingering to pick up tid bits from the agents and editors... But where I'd like to be is amongst the gamers. I miss playing table top games. It's been about 15 years and only recently did I learn how much I truly miss it.
    Side note, regarding the Clockwork crowd - my friend's girlfriend coined the term "ham shells" (from clam shells) in reference to an already well-endowed female who's stuffed herself into a corset to the point that her chest has become a vertical plateau.