A Narrative Journey On Attending a Convention Alone

  • I wake up. It's 9:00 am. The doors will open at 10:00 am, I live about an hour from where the convention is taking place and I only have a one day ticket.

    I look at the time on my phone for a long moment and then put my phone down and sleep for another half hour.

    I wake up. It's 9:30 am. My cat decides to claw my hand so I decide to get up.

    I make breakfast. It's eaten while I watch an episode of a cooking show. There's another episode on after so I watch that one as well.

    I get ready. I decide to shave my legs since I plan to wear tights under my dress and social convention suggests I should since the tights are relatively sheer. I cut one of my legs with the razor and sigh.

    I finish getting ready, shove items into my star wars backpack and try to get my cat out of my room so she doesn't pee on any of my stuff while I'm out.

    I get to the train station at about 12:00 pm. I sit and accidentally wipe my face without thinking and then have to take a selfie to make sure I didn't smear make up on my face. I didn't and I have to smile because I do really like my pokeball dress.

    I get to the convention at around 1:00pm. The doors will close and the convention will shut down at 6:00 pm. Any other year, here with friends I would arrive as the doors open and spend the entire day. But fate and prior commitments conspired to leave me with no one I wanted to go with and there's no celebrities I am a fan of so no need to spend hours waiting in line for a signing or photo op.

    I am free to do whatever I might wish, for whatever reason. There's a group of marvel cosplayers by the entrance and it's fairly easy to get my ticket checked and be given a wristband that I awkwardly struggle to fix around my wrist.

    Inside the hall I walk over to the stall one of my friends is working at this year. I don't see her, but she appears moments later taking the opportunity to wander around on her break. I walk with her and pause by a stall as she heads to the bathroom. I make a purchase and when my friend reappears hand her a Chibi Sailor Moon necklace that I just bought, since it is her Birthday and Sailor Moon is the only anime she watches.

    My friend thanks me and then has to go back to work and I am left alone, drowning in a crowd of too loud and too slow walking convention goers.

    I end up at a stall full of dvds. Largely anime and foreign horror movies and I talk to the man running the stall for a couple of minutes before making a purchase. I buy a copy of Ichi The Killer since some movies can be hard to find out in Perth and I will always have a soft spot for hard copies for either games of dvds.

    I walk for longer. Pause, stare at a collection of scantily clad anime figures spilling from a booth and wonder if there's any circumstance in which I would buy one. There really isn't so I keep moving.

    I talk to someone who makes hand carved dice from gemstones. I can talk as long as I wish since there is no one with me and I have no where to be. I take a business card.

    It becomes apparent there is a problem around an hour in. I have no real reason to be at the convention. There is nothing I am desperate to see and no friends with me. And while I do not need to walk around looking at things I have no interest in in order to be polite I also have nothing much to do other than wonder the convention floor looking at stalls and merchandise I won't buy since I'm trying to save money. Boredom sets in.

    So does hunger and I buy an overpriced snack and an even more over priced drink from a kiosk, frowning at a stall that is selling "artisan ice pops", that appear to just be normal frozen fruit juice sold a ridiculous price.

    I stop by where the large collection of pop vinyls is being sold and am bemused at how many Gerard Way pop vinyls exist. I tell myself not to buy a pop vinyl and end up buying an Ash one, from Army of Darkness, charmed by the little chainsaw arm.

    I see a sexy Spyro the Dragon cosplayer and I'm not sure how to feel. I'd ask for a photo but I don't have a friend with me and I don't like the idea of asking a stranger to take a photo with my phone. I end up getting no photos. Though I do later find out a friend of mine was the one I saw walking around dressed as a parasyte from Parasyte as a promotion for the release of the anime on dvd.

    I buy a dress. It has a galaxy pattern on it and I know the particular cut of it is flattering on me. The only other thing I buy is red licorice that I get at every convention I go to and that I personally feel tastes a magnificent type of horrible.

    I wonder around the rest of the time, waving at one point to a friend who's working one of the stages, headset on and schedule in her hands. She waves back and I continue on my way, pausing at a VR demo that I would like to try out, if not for the fact I wear glasses.

    I feel an odd sense of calm and boredom settle over me, a feeling of contentedness at not having to talk or adjust my plans to cater to a friend, while also feeling a sense of loneliness and isolation despite the crowd. The feeling lessens as the crowd thins out and the convention settles in to the odd emptiness that happens right before the doors will be closing.

    There was such a lack of stress that it barely feels like the convention happened at all, the only proof I have the items I bought.

  • Global Moderator

    Having occasionally found myself alone in quasi similar circumstances, I have to admit that going to things alone is a vastly different experience than being among friends.

    Unless you're sociopathically determined to meet new people, I find the experience to be almost hollow if there's nothing to truly grip me. Window shopping and avarice over collectibles will only take me so far.

    That said I hope you at least kind of enjoyed the sights and sounds of the convention

  • @Ochi Thats more or less how I felt. I ended up in some weird fog like state that made the convention seem less real. After the convention I did meet up with friends and then we went to an after party at a near by club. There's something charmingly surreal about dancing around a Baymax cosplayer while the dj blares a dance remix of the Lion King theme.

  • Huh. Interesting read! Though, I'm having a bit of a hard time understanding it since I can't relate. Maybe I'm just easily entertained or have had the luck to go to really great conventions. It ended at 6? Was it a Sunday or the last day? I will admit that they usually have little going on. Or was it just a smaller con?
    The reason I can't relate is because I can't imagine being bored at a con. There is always some panel to go to! Something interesting, or something new! Love me some panels. Last con I think I went to maybe six or seven panels. Then there is always the video rooms and the various gaming rooms. Finding something new to watch is great fun! And there are always the classics. And whether it is video games or board games, always something to play! At the very least you can watch others play, that is entertaining as well! Also, I can easily wonder around the dealers room for extended periods of time. There is always an occasional person to talk to, though I never do talk to people because that is HARD. Though sorry if that con you went to didn't have some of this stuff and I'm just talking hot air! As for the pictures, I agree, talking pictures WITH people is hard with no friends. However people at cons are nice and probably will not mind taking a picture! I've been asked to even! You can just snap a pic of some cool cosplayers! They know what they are getting into, so they usually don't mind getting their pictures taken! And if not, they'll just say so. No need to feel weird about it! WOO! Also, about eating overpriced food. When I go to cons, I just buy a box of cliff bars, and snack on them throughout the day until I can get some real food. Sorry for the wall of text!