dragon con op-ed

Dragon-Chronicles Pt. 2 – Wherever You Are Is Where The Party Is! (Stay Present)

Hello again con-friends! How is everyone doing? Are you any closer to finishing the fifteen additional last minute costumes you just added? No? Good! Neither am I! Truthfully I still have so much work to do on all four of my costumes for this year that I technically don’t even have time to be writing this, but I digress. I brought you all here for a reason today, we need to keep talking about Dragon Con Tips. I have ten of these babies so let’s go ahead and dip right into number two, shall we?

Dragon_Con_2018

“Wherever you are is where the party is.”

I wish I could attribute this quote to the original author but sadly my first recollection of hearing this life-changing phrase was from a total stranger in an elevator at my third D-Con. It’s sort of meta, but very self explanatory. It also just so happens to come in very handy during the multi-faceted, high-energy, fast-paced, 24 hour party that is Dragon Con. Go into a quiet room, if you’re comfortable, close your eyes and repeat this phrase slowly to yourself- “Wherever I am is where the party is.” Do this as many times as necessary (I know I will).  Now let me explain why this concept is so important. Y’all see that fun colorful picture I inserted above? I included this photo for two reasons:

  1. I knew Dragon Con vets who worship the blue, gold, and red mosaic patterns of the old Marriott Marquis hotel carpet would get hyped AF seeing a little original slice (I know you’re all going “DUDE IT WAS SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE NEW BULLSHIT THEY REPLACED IT WITH!!” Yes, I KNOW).
  2. This image distills all the party juices that flow through Con into one beautiful blurry image.

These party juices I’m referring to will drip plentifully during August 30th through September 3rd. From 24-hour Papa John’s pizza, to bars that never close, and karaoke that never ends it’s like the Fifty Year Storm of parties. In the midst of all this it’s very important to stay present, like Bodhi in Point Break while you’re traversing the congested walkways of the the Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott.

Bear in mind that there will be times where you are literally double booked on your Dragon Con app (YES it’s updated, everyone who’s asking on the Dragon Con Official and Unofficial FaceBook Groups), meaning you’ve bookmarked two panels that are occurring simultaneously. Let’s say for instance it’s Thursday night at 6:55pm. You’re phone just went off. It’s your Dragon Con App notifying you that you’re scheduled to attend both The Social Anxiety Meetup taking place in five minutes at the Hyatt AND Dragon Con Wrestling which is ALSO taking place in five minutes at the Hyatt, but on a separate floor.

What do you do?

Well quite simply, and to quote Hamilton, we cannot be everywhere at once people. Unless you are Dr. Manhattan or Rick and Morty, hell even if you’re wearing a Dr. Manhattan or Rick and or Morty costume you can’t actually split yourself into replicates and attend all the things at once. Sorry folks, that’s just not physically possible.

Here’s what I’ve learned to do over the last ten years- when there’s cliffs on both sides and no way you can paddle your way to New Zealand, you’ve got to radically accept the situation and be the party you want to attend. Is that too deep? I don’t care, Bodhizafa was deep and even though no one ever referred to him by his full name again the entire rest of Point Break, he was right about everything and I like his style.

Even if you aren’t into new age crap like yoga or meditation, a good rule of thumb to live by while at Dragon Con is: Be flexible, plans change. Let’s say you’re on your way to The World of Harry Potter Tribute Show Saturday night at 6:55pm. “I have five minutes to get to this heavily attended panel” you think to yourself as you press the elevator button on the 22nd floor of the Hilton. “One minute” as the elevator finally arrives. Maybe if you hadn’t spent the extra 45 minutes adjusting your Luna Lovegood wig you’d have been ready on time but you wanted to look good and you had to get that selfie. Now you’re just straight up running late. “Seven O’clock?!” you exclaim at your iphone as you enter the skyway connecting the Hilton to the Marriott and come to a full on halt resulting from an impromptu Kaiju photo-op taking place square in the middle of said walkway.

“NO PHOTOS IN THE WALKWAYS!!” the crowd screams. “I just wanted to make it to Hogwarts in time, everything is all screwed up now!” you lament to yourself as you text a little sad crying cat face emoji to all your friends who are already sitting down inside the tribute panel and let out a few of your own little cat tears.

You’ve got to radically accept the situation and be the party you want to attend.

Chilling scenario, huh? Yes it is. But let me offer you a thought- there’s no way you’re the only Luna Lovegood fan in this hallway, much less the entire 85,000 fans surrounding you at Dragon Con. Keep that chin-up! Wander out and strike up a conversation with a fellow Hufflepuff, make your own gosh-darn tribute show and live stream it on Instagram; why the heck not? Understanding that things happen that are out of your control while at Con is very important to gaining a perspective that allows you to suck more of the marrow out of the experience.

Dragon Con RiddlerI remember a few years back, Edward Furlong was scheduled to attend a T2 panel and I was psyched about the whole thing. I wore a Sarah Connor costume and did push ups in preparation. It was not my most screen accurate attempt at a costume but I loved it just the same. I was ready to see my son, John. Then Furlong up and cancelled and I got super bummed. I may have cried. I held a grudge against Edward Furlong for the following five years. Honestly, I still deal with the loss on a daily basis. So take this advice from someone who has had the con rug pulled out from under them; expect it. Embrace the change and bring the party with you.

The party is in your mind, folks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back on photos taken during dance circles that I thought were ragers in the moment only to see that there were really only seven to eight Slave Leia’s in a well lit conference room, dancing to a laptop. It’s all in your head. Keep an open mind and remember that even your best efforts to stay on time and task can be thwarted by dark forces. Allow it and keep on dancing.

Abigail Gardner – @Splash_Mommy

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