Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Convention Introvert-us

Hub and I got back on Sunday from Willycon, a scifi convention held at the University in Wayne, Nebraska. Unlike Planet Comicon, Willycon is small, with about 300 attendees this year. No, I did not come home with a case of stomach flu, as with Planet Comicon. But I did have a case of Introvert-us to get over.
Do you know what it is to be introverted? I knew that’s what I was, and I knew that spending time with large groups (anything > 0) was draining. But I recently learned of other nuances that I hadn’t heard put into words before, like the fact that ‘small talk’ doesn’t hold any interest for me.
I left Willycon this year wondering how I’m going to cope with the rest of the conventions we’ll attend this year. And next year. And many years to come, I hope. Because when I got to Willycon this year, as small as it is, I nearly did a complete shut-down. I spent most of the convention in the hospitality suite, sipping soda and working on the puzzle book/notebook or book I had before me.
When a friend paused to exchange a few words, I was happy to do so. (Even an introvert can have friends, and I have developed several among convention attendees over the years.) But there were very few panels I wanted to attend, and even some I had wanted to attend, I ultimately decided to skip. I even skipped suppers, because they were held in university facilities, and besides convention attendees, there were also students there - Wayne is a small town, with not a lot of options available to the students.
The subjects I discussed with friends ran the gamut from the weather (one group had driven there on Thursday night, through horizontal snowfall on ice-covered roads) to superheroes (female vs male) to Klingon recipes and applying Klingon prostetics/makeup. But another person sat down to talk, someone my hub knew from way back. I would like to be friends with him, but I had no interest in politics, locations he knew in Omaha that I don’t know because they are no longer there, and his latest kitchen appliance.
I came home worn out. The only thing worth any effort, it seemed to me, was the book I’d started reading while I was there. It wasn’t speculative, it was a British mystery based on one of their cop tv series - and I think I saw that episode, at one time - but tired as I was, I couldn’t put it down and go to bed Sunday until 3:30 am or so. When I finally got up on Monday, I only had enough energy to finish reading the book, and then took a nap. After that, I started feeling somewhat better, although I still didn’t get anything ‘done’.
I need to think this through. I’ve attended conventions for years. When they are weeks and months away, I think of them with eager anticipation. As they approach closer, I start getting uneasy, even when I know I will find friends there. Once I actually arrive - I never know how I’m going to react.
Hub accuses me of ‘hiding’ instead of mingling. What bothers me is when I come home unable to function the next day, especially when the reason is not a physical sickness, like the stomach flu.

Do you have something that really wears you out? How have you learned to cope?

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