Living in Atlanta has a few perks and I was able to add a new experience to my list as I strolled through the masses of people attending Dragon Con - a trip to an alien planet filled with elves, x-men, Startrek and Starwars characters and more (although virtually none of the hot and scantily clad women I was promised*). Our group rode MARTA down to the festivities (which seemed no scarier than the MTA in LA or NY so shut up nimrods). We walked around a couple hotels for several hours and had a few drinks simply people watching. Not growing up with all the movies, TV shows, comic books or getting to dress up for Halloween, I was initially ambivalent to the experience. Not to say that I didn't think some of the costumes were impressive; however, seeing an authentic looking Captain Hook engenders the same reaction as the first time I rode a roller coaster at 17 - I chose the scariest one in the park, rode it and then said "that was cool" non-nonchalantly. It's not that I am the embodiment of badassery, although I probably would walk slowly away from an explosion behind me, but it's because I'm slightly stupid and nothing more. I get excited about odd things like seeing a chipmunk scampering across the back porch but the things in life that seem to make other people excited and happy leave me nonplussed. Again, this isn't to say that I was having a bad time, because I was enjoying hanging out with my girlfriend and friends but I could have had just as much fun throwing rocks into a lake.
Halfway through the evening we stumbled into a small ballroom filled mainly with elvish creatures and a band playing on the tiny stage. Maybe it was the second drink starting to hit me or maybe because I was trying hard to feel what everyone else was feeling, but watching a dozen or so random folks join in on a choreographed dance (presumably that woodland creatures do in a land I've never heard of) moved me. The freedom these people feel when they dress up and express themselves at this event is a beautiful thing. Many people laugh and say "what a bunch of stupid nerds and misfits" but there's something special to seeing people who have invested time into creating something magical where they can feel normal and free. That's what everyone wants anyway isn't it, to be accepted and free? So why rag on them for it? After seeing the dancers, I gained an appreciation for how this event could mean so much to people and be such fun. Slowly I started to feel a little excitement when I saw things like Jesse Pinkman and Walter White taking pictures with people. I was told by an outspoken gay man I worked with in LA several years ago "your inner child is dead". Well I think little by little my inner child is being resuscitated and who knows, maybe next year I'll be dress up as something awesome and parade around the Con with my girlfriend.
*There were a few hot chicks and many scantily clad but the combination of the two was as nonexistent as proof that Michelle Bachman has any business being in politics.