Check, check...is this thing on????
So, I recently attended my very first convention, Ad Astra, which took place in Markham, Ontario last weekend. I was pretty excited from the start. Not only was I meeting up with the amazing Kelley Armstrong but I had several writing pals attending, some of whom I'd never meet in real life. It was loads of fun and I learned quite a bit, some of it a little disheartening but all of it valuable. I had a few pretty funny mishaps as well...one of which was attending the Weapons Check panel.
The Weapons Check panel...sounds interesting right? For those of you who are writers, sounds promising...a chance to talk weapons...view weapons...perhaps touch weapons? Um...yeah....
So a gaggle of us writer ladies parade into this little seminar room, all coming off of a Kelley Armstrong induced high, giddy, excited, looking forward to a night of learning. We take a seat near the front (don't want to look to keen) and watch as our panel host begins to unload some weapons...a bow, a musket...a plastic looking futuristic gun of some sort....that was the first hint that I might be in the wrong place. Toy weapons? Really?
Once all the weapons were on display, our host looks up and says, "Wow, I wasn't expecting so many people to attend! This is great! It's only going to take about five minutes to go through the information and then I can start checking weapons." Or something like that....which was my second hint. Checking weapons? You mean literally?
"That's why I'm here!" Says the guy in the front row, fake parrot attacked to his left shoulder as he lifts his homemade, gigantic, anvil like weapon on a pole.
And that was when I knew...we had stumbled into a realm that none of us was prepared for...this Weapons Check panel was for folks who were dressing in character, folks who had fake weapons as part of their costumes and needed to make sure they met regulations. In other words, not us.
It was funny...awkward but funny. We figured out a way to get the heck outta there quick, ignoring the pleas of the host to "just stay" "we can talk weapons", feeling like we narrowly escaped an hour of painful weirdness.
We laughed our way downstairs not knowing that while we were running away, at that exact moment, 14 floors up, all of the mega authors were holding a meet and greet, an event that we sadly missed out on because we'd been too fixated on the idea of a tactile experience with weapons.
So, lesson learned...when attending cons, take the titles literally cause a Weapons Check might just mean you'd better have your light sabre or photo torpedo or whatever.