bITS 'N CHUNKS
Ah, we're two weeks on just about at this point but yet another MTAC is in the books this year.
At the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, there's a poignant scene at the end where the crew of the USS Enterprise is gazing at the planet Genesis and Kirk remarks that if it's true what they say, that if Genesis is life and rebirth, he must return there again as we all do. And Bones asks him how he feels and he makes the quote that has stayed with me all my days thus far,
"Young. I feel…young."
Like a young man, all brand new and full of hope. March wasn't the worth month on record but it could have stood to be better. It got a lot better towards the end and as we sped towards the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, the place where my mother and I spent our lives in a 12 hour cycle.
We opted to go only Saturday this year, so we got up early to pick up our badges and prepared to spend our entire day packed with Nerdland fun with minimal breaks to the outside world. As MTAC takes place at two hotels, this would largely imply that we would pop off elsewhere to go get a snack then fight traffic to get our parking spot back. Well, in a double-edged sword for us, we found a really good parking spot that was hard to pass up… at the bottom of a hill. But that was alright. With mom's cane in tow and some strong branches in the dirt, we made it up. And once we were up both hills, we were effectively locked in. Do what you gotta do.
Say what you will about nerds, but being in that convention space is still rejuvenating. We got into more panels than I was expecting and we picked up some drag tips and participated in Pokemon trivia. We wandered around, me decked up in a sparkly pink menhera and mom in her Avengers: Infinity War shirt. As soon as I entered the artist alley I bought gifts for myself and souvenirs for others because I wished they were there. Sometimes. Sometimes I was glad I was alone in my chair and gazing up at a presenter in awe. I made trips back and forth with bounty too lugubrious to haul around, up and down that confounded hill and every time I gulped air and stared up at the sky outside I felt young and refreshed and free of the aches and pains that come with exercise over 20. I was on my feet and you couldn't tell me anything, damnit.
I was most excited about LittleKuriboh's wrestling panel and mom and I sat in the main hall with a bunch of other marks quivering with excitement and detailing their experiences in the wrestling fandom. We left a little early to hit up the bazaar known as the dealer's room where we purchased Japanese pastries and ate like royalty come to the southlands. Like calories and carbs don't matter. Because they don't in that space; neither does money. You know what does matter? Happiness! They say you can't buy it but don't believe them…
Well, maybe that's true to some extent. I know you can't buy time. I don't think we can buy true happiness but we can certainly get things to augment it. You know what you definitely can't buy, though? A GOOD TIME. You can get tickets to get in, buy seats, get drinks, eat good food that costs a bit, but you can't actually buy a good time. You gotta quest it. You gotta hunt it down all night long like an errant dragon and when you find it, trap it and hang on to it, then let it go.
Our letting go was at 9:45 PM, the last panel for the Fandumb Committee. A small panel, I promised to have enough opinions for everyone and I probably did. Never put a live mic in my face. We had some great discussions on fandom culture, otakudom, our childhoods, and building community. The conversations continued afterwards. I made some new friends and bought a shirt. Then the con magic and youth wore off and my legs gave out on me. Suddenly that hill seemed mighty daunting, especially in the dark. But we got down it alright. And when I sat down and tossed the rest of my bounty in the back and finally dismounted my backpack and let the con glitter wipe me down, I turned on the radio. I took one look back at the Sheraton before we hit the highway and I know that next year I must return to that place again.
"How do you feel?"
Ia! If you've come this far, you're either looking for weird or you know you've found it...