Monday, November 16, 2009

Anime Convention Weekend (Part I)

This weekend tried my best to enjoy myself at Anime USA.

If you know what an anime convention is then you're probably aware that it's full of very young people dressed up as outrageous cartoon characters walking about and posing for nerdy camera-men. Unlike other geek-related conventions, which are as nerdy but full of harmless activities, an anime convention seems like nothing more than a farce, hiding the huge amounts of drinking and partying under the guise of "family friendly" activities. That's not to say that people go to these conventions to only drink and party, but I certainly do.

Anime USA (or, AUSA for those in the know) has always been a good time. Though I'm not particularly a fan of japanese animation, many of my friends certainly are. When they all come to town for a weekend, I learned that the cost of a shared hotel room for two nights is petty cash compared to the amount of partying I can rack up. I can put a few of these on my calendar, and the slow buildup the weeks leading to the event ultimately explodes into an incredible weekend reunion. For two, maybe three days, we're all stuck with each other in one hotel, hanging out, chatting, drinking, and dining together.

I was looking forward to this particular AUSA because of The Breakup and Move. A week after I began unpacking, I set aside a small luggage and drove to the hotel. Friends, fun, an escape from the thoughts that had been following me. I needed a distraction. Looking back, most of the weekend was a blur. I was just swept along by the personalities of old acquaintances. We all reconnected and filled each other in on our lives. Lunch, zoom. Dinner, zoom. Hotel bar, zoom! Drinking in the rooms, zoom! Meeting new people, ZOOM! Everything was a rose-tinted haze. Exactly what I needed.

More than the partying, though, what I needed was practice. A month and a half, yet I really still hadn't been on the hunt. My confidence was generally running on fumes. I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to talk to some girls and work up the self-esteem I had lost. Anime conventions are generally filled with nerds who just want attention. What's hard about talking to girls here, where they're walking around, hoping they'll get stopped for photos of their Chibichansailorchu?

For one, everything. When did talking become so hard? I never considered myself to be shy, but the whole weekend I felt like a ghost. I'd shadow my old friends, introduce myself to their friends, respond to any questions in five or less words. Was this how it's done? I didn't seem to be getting anywhere. I certainly wasn't chasing down pretty tail like I had imagined all week. Girls weren't jumping all over me, despite the distinct advantage I had of a new, sexier wardrobe. What was I doing wrong? By Saturday morning, I boxed my fantasies and decided to just enjoy myself. No need to work myself up.

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