This past weekend, I went to Dragon*Con.
This time, I didn't just go, but I worked as a volunteer.
I was not prepared, y'all.
Some of the shenanigans, everyone there got to see. Like John Barrowman dropping trou on stage, and later in the same panel, jumping down from the stage to feel up some Canadian Spartan. Or Richard Dean Anderson jumping down from the stage and sauntering out into the audience and standing on the camera platform simply because he couldn't hear the questions being asked due to the sound being so wretched in that ballroom.
But then there was the backstage stuff. Like when a certain someone who shall remain nameless peed in a sink backstage because it was preferable to walking across a crowded lobby. (We were later relieved to discover that it was a sink whose drain was connected to the plumbing and didn't just empty out above a drain on the floor. Probably not as relieved as [REDACTED] was, but relieved nonetheless.) Or when Joe Manganiello was tagging just about anything that would sit still long enough with a sticker designed by the same artist that did Obama's "Hope" campaign stuff. Or when I got to do a little dance for the Eureka panelists, but refrained from doing the requested Running Man, simply out of a desire to refrain from going about the rest of the Con with black eyes.
Then there was the rather embarrassing moment when I was trying to ice my agonizingly aching feet, but failed to realize that Gillian Anderson had already arrived and was no more than 50ft away. Also, the somewhat awkward realization the Richard Dean Anderson, an actor upon whom I have had a crush since back in his MacGuyver days, rather disturbingly reminds me of my father.
Mannerisms, sense of humor, even his freakin' hair, y'all...
And that's not even getting into the challenges of the work. On my feet for no less than 8 hours a day, sometimes more. Having some punk horde of handlers knock over my almost-full cup of coffee, then try to pull the "are you sure you didn't leave it somewhere else?" game. Having to be the "No Man" when it came to who was and wasn't allowed backstage, which, as the New Guy, made me the target of some of the most pretentious and condescending asses I've ever had to deal with in my life. And let me tell ya, after being a young woman in the Army, that's saying something.
I do, however, look forward to the time when people understand that when I say "No," that does actually, really and truly, mean "No" and that's all there is to it. No more of this "Well, I work for [so-and-so]" or "This person is with me and is therefore an exception to your little rules."
Those people don't know me yet.
But they will.
[Cue Maniacal Laugh]
Beyond all that, however, the wacky and the irritating alike, I had a good time. I got to see a panel with Stan Lee in which his moderator really hit the nail on the head and the two of them had a great time. I got to be a part of the reason why RDA felt safe enough to come down from the stage for his little sound experiment. And I got to have a greater appreciation for what it is to be a celebrity, which is to say, what it is to be human.
These people, who are there for their fans (especially at Dragon*Con as opposed to other cons out there), work so hard while they're there to put on a good face and to represent themselves well. Part of my job was to provide them with a space wherein they could just chill in have some time to just be. Some time to find some zen. Some time where they weren't being asked for an autograph or a picture or being bombarded by someone's life story or anything. Another part of my job (when we were short security, which we often were) was to stand by the stage and make sure the celebrities felt safe by acting as a deterrent to people who would rush the stage. In short, it was my job to make sure our Guests had a positive experience in their panels.
And I liked it.
Having gone through it and being exposed (in John Barrowman's case, somewhat literally) to celebrities in such close proximity really helped me gain some perspective. I have much greater faith in my ability to treat those people like I would treat anyone else I respected, rather than rockin' the derpy "EHRMAHGEHRD" fangirl squeeing.
I kept my cool. And I enjoyed myself.
And I hope that my experiences and insight as someone new to the group can help to further streamline things. Who knows? Maybe I'll be one of the Guests before too long.
I'm not gonna hold my breath or anything, but a girl can hope.