I long ago stopped buying big traditional gifts for my weedlings. In general, i like to give experiences instead. So this weekend, my son and i are away together at a big comicon. And we’re having a blast!
It was a five hour drive here, about half of it through beautiful mountain towns that we couldn’t see because it was terribly late (But i look forward to seeing them on the ride home!) We drove along listening to comedian Jim Gaffigan and laughing out loud, until the booger fell asleep and i found myself struggling to stay awake. But when i looked sidelong at him, seat laid back, mouth open like a fly trap, hair in his eyes, gently snoring away… I was glad we were making the trip.
We were up bright and early this morning and headed into the city. We lucked out and found convenient and reasonably priced parking – a sure sign of a good day ahead. We gingerly make our way into the acid-dream melee that only a comicon can bring.
Spiderman, Storm Troopers, Xena and Kiki. Maleficient, Pikachu and every single Dr Who. In the main hall, while waiting to enter, Jesus is taking selfies with a Dalek and HarleyQuinn. A nine-foot wookie is holding the hand of a toddler Donatello. A goblin just autographed a book he wrote, and i got to shake Fonzie’s hand. There was an entire family dressed as Borg. And down in the basement is speed-dating for geeks of all persuasions. Only at a comicon.
Watching all the cosplayers, i have decided that next time, if i am not with my son, i WILL dress up. I am destined to play Queen Mab at some large comicon. Skimpy war-fairy dress over platinum corseted ducks, soft silver lace-up thigh boots, stunning metallic wings, some funky pastel contact lenses… I didn’t see any cosplayers that were over college age, so i look at it as a necessary public service. I don’t want the weedlings to think they have to outgrow their outrageousness! But i won’t do it now. My son would be horrified. And i should probably go to the gym first.
We were exhausted by late lunch time, so we headed out to the square looking for good food. Again, we were in luck’s good graces: We happened upon three cops who were on crowd control duty. They directed us to a fantastic hole-in-the-wall pizza joint, where we had a yummy New York style pie (Unexpected in Lexington, KY). Then we found a killer ice cream parlour. We got some scoops and sold the tourist benefits of Chattanooga to the proprietors. Then we did a quick check of our phones.
My oldest is minding SiriDog this weekend. She sent me a video of them out on a walk. As i am watching it and smiling, i say out loud, “Hey, i think she is wearing my bedroom slippers!” Nolan looks up with a quizzical face and asks, “Siri?” “Yes, Goober, the chihuahua is wearing my size 8 slippers.” The proprietors start giggling. Poor kid. I swear, he was so tired that it actually took him a few seconds to realize i was referring to his sister.
We walk around town a bit more, and then head to the car. On the way back to the hotel, we make a pit stop at a public park that the parking attendant recommended. It’s a beautiful day. Sunny, clear-skied, and breezywarm. There are a couple young men fishing, and a few older folk watching out open windows from their cars. We get out and sit on the bank of the lake. I lay back, close my eyes, and enjoy the sun. My main man eats the last of his leftover pizza and then discovers that he is covered in gnats. He screeches like a caricature of a prissy girl and runs back to the car. I don’t bother to tell him i locked the doors. Instead, i watch him do the icky-dance while he waits for me to return. I know it’s wrong, but watching my son do the icky-dance makes me laugh.
Next stop is a local coffee shop near the hotel. I desperately need a proper cup of tea, but accept a London Fog. He gets a frozen mocha concoction. For some reason, we started speaking as Irishmen in the car on the way, and we continue it in the shop. I’m hoping we don’t run into any true Paddy’s, since i’m sure we only sound authentic to untrained American ears. But it was so much fun. And to be truthful, once you get going, it’s hard to stop. We were in that cafe for over an hour, using aliases and brogues the entire time, and it lingered on for long past. If anyone knew we were faking, they let it slide. And we felt like we were starring in a BBC documentary on horse country, USA. Or a silly prank video on Facebook.
It’s still early here. Barely dinnertime. But we are wiped out and even contemplating skipping supper for early bed. After all, tomorrow is another day of Wonder Women and Indiana Joneses. Wizards and Zombies. WWF and TMNT. I will get to meet my favorite Star Trek character, buy a Hogwarts school ID, maybe even get some tips on being a sexy, if older, cosplayer! But best of all, i will get to watch my son smile and laugh and enjoy himself among the other imaginative peoples of the comicon community. The one place in the world where being weird is the norm, and everyone is welcome. So grab a cape and a sidekick and join the party!
*** P.S., If you would, please check out my goblin friend. His blog is hysterical and well worth a visit. I promise! The Goblin Guy