Unconventional Conventions

Let me say first that I really enjoy conventions. I’ve gone to conventions for mysteries, science fiction, comic books, romance, fantasy, circuses, anime, writers, psychologists, and collectibles. I can’t remember a one that I don’t have fond memories of. But as convention season gets underway–Anime Boston the weekend after next, and then Malice Domestic–I’ve been remembering some convention sights that were less…conventional.

Under the circumstances, I’ll be filing off serial numbers and such. Most of the oddities had nothing to do with the conventions themselves, merely with the attendees, so I don’t want to give any con an undeserved bad rep.

Spider bite?

At a romance convention, my husband Steve and I ran into a woman in the hallway who was almost in a panic. She said she’d been bitten by a poisonous spider in the hotel room, and was sure she was going to die. Plus she indignantly said the sheet on her bed had semen stains. Steve and I tried to get her to call a taxi or talk to the hotel desk and she said she didn’t have any money and the people at the front desk wouldn’t believe her. We loaned her our cell phone, thinking she was going to call 911, and she called “Daddy” and told him he needed to sue the hotel because they were being mean to her and the aforementioned semen stains. (Yes, this was a GROWN woman.) She forgot to mention the spider bite–retribution was clearly more important. Finally we handed her off to hotel and convention management, and gave her twenty dollars for a cab. It was well worth the bucks to get rid of her. We never say her again, and we really don’t know if the spider bite got her, or her father rode to the rescue.

What world is this?

I’ve attended several science fiction conventions, and the costumes are often breathtaking. But sometimes it’s more of a gasp of disbelief than awe. I remember a woman who’d semi-covered her fairly unimpressive, saggy breasts with metal spiders. The body of the spider covered the nipple, and the legs kind of made up a cage around the breast, but offered neither coverage nor support. That was a shame, on both counts.

Then there was the guy in the audience of a panel where Tarzan was being discussed. Somebody made a Cheetah joke and he scornfully said–with more disdain than I can possibly convey–“There was no ‘Cheetah’ in the books.” He was absolutely correct, of course, but it was still a funny joke.

At one convention, I saw some people in very nice black latex costumes for a vampire roleplaying game. I was extremely impressed when I saw them soon after my arrival one Friday night. I was less impressed when I saw them in the same costumes on Saturday, and then on Sunday. You see, latex does not breathe. Neither did I when I had to share an elevator with the vampires.

Life is a mystery…

At one mystery convention, I was chatting with a guy while in line for an ice cream social. We started out talking about mysteries, but at some point he started telling me about his and his wife’s experiences in polyamory. In other words, they as a couple had girlfriends. To this day I do not know if he was just chatting or inviting me. I just nodded, said something like “How interesting,” and then mentioned that I really enjoy monogamy.

At another convention, we apparently got mixed up in a dispute between management and labor. The guest of honor was giving her speech in the lobby (the meeting room was having climate control issues, and it was too hot to sit in there), and in the middle of it, a maintenance worker went to the wall with an electric drill and started drilling holes in the wall. I went to the desk to complain while Steve went to the guy to ask him to stop. The desk clerk was slow, and the maintenance guy would only say, “I have to put up this picture. Right now.”

Then were was the time I went into the suite that was being used as a hospitality room. Canned drinks had been left in ice in the bath tub, which was fine. But as I reached for a Coke, I saw that the toilet had been used recently, and not flushed. There was a floater. I passed on the Coke.



With memories like these, how can I possibly resist attending conventions? My only worry is that someday, somebody will be blogging about some strange thing I did or said at a convention.