So many words, so little time....

Monday, August 21, 2006

PAX is in three days...

.... though it actually hits the fan for me Thursday night. Things are starting to ramp up. Like all good things, this is going to be so so cool and such an incredible Charlie Foxtrot at the same time.

I do have a great story. My eldest son ended up as an Enforcer. I am so proud. ;)

Just so you know, "Enforcers" are what they call their staff at PAX. A friend of mine suggested that the name sounded like we are all going to out and take out Scott Kurtz's kneecaps but that's not in the job description. We're the gang who run the registration desk and all that. After last year's attendence on a press pass, I decided this year I wanted to help out so I had signed up several months ago. I let them know right away that the kids existed and wanted to help out. They've been incredibly cool about it. Several of them have kids, but they're all pretty young. I don't think they really understood what I meant when I told them their ages.

We had a work party a couple weeks ago where we assembled the swag-bags they're giving out at the registration desk. (I have several more stories about packing 10,000 convention bags in a bit over three hours, but we'll save them for later). I brought the whole gang along. The event involved everyone on the staff getting a tour of the facility to so they could see how things were setup. And they had all the kids go.

Don't get me wrong. My kids read Penny Arcade. But not religiously. And if I was pressed to make a determination, I would put them all on the lower spectrum of geeky. They have a lot of geeky symptoms, but they are too pretty and do too well with the regular social world to be true geeks. They didn't sure aren't steeped in Arcade-dom as the rest of the Enforcer crowd.

When my eldest went on his tour he was asking some good questions and came to the notice of Robert Khoo. In case you don't know, he's the business development guy. He has really helped put them on the map. He's prolly the only "marketer" you'll ever hear me discuss with unqualified praise. Neat guy. But I doubt seriously people told him anything.

So he's confronted with this kid he doesn't know from Adam's stepson. He asked him who he was. My son told him he was the Momgamer's kid and he was here to help. Robert then asked him how old he was, and when he found out he was of age to be an Enforcer in his own right he recruited him on the spot. So now my son's being dragged facedown through the archives and is studying hard.

The lesson to learn here, kids, is that if your Mom or Dad drags you to something you should probably find something out about it first.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Insomniac Fugue in B-flat...

The morning of the fourth day is tough. The veil between the life all around you and your own doing and being has been getting thicker and now it's almost opaque. You feel like that time when someone spiked the punch with Everclear at that office party. Everyone was suddenly much more wasted than they had planned on, and everyone was sitting around trying very hard to pretend to be sober so as not to get the boss mad at them.

You sit in your chair in the correct posture at work and you very carefully try to pretend to care about that one customer who can't get into the site, or that one project that just seems to never go completely away. Start at the top. One thing at a time, over and over. The arms of the clock above the receptionist's head sweep around in strange fits and starts to some rhythm that you can't seem to catch. You get to the end of the day's presto finally, though. It's time to go.

You walk down the street towards the parking lot, fumbling for your keys like usual. Someone catches your eye. You feel the shadow sweep over you. You were hoping to skip the scherzo on this piece but that's not going to happen. You sink a little into your shoes, knowing what's coming. Sometimes you can't even tell what it is about them that makes the connection, but sometimes you can. A flash of stance, a glance of hazel eye, those ugly khaki pants he adored. It's hard to know which is worse - you not knowing if you're crazy, or having that particular bit of him dredged up again. You want nothing more than to kneel at their feet and start to bargain. You want to beg and plead that you'll give them the world if they can somehow give you yours back.

This has happened before. You know what to do. Just set the face on the "Social Smile 3" configuration, and choose a point to aim at that's way past them. Breath carefully through the nose, so the mouth forming the words doesn't get a chance to breathe them out for the wind to play with. Just keep going. Wipe any tears once you get to the point you chose to anchor on.

Another anchor-point or two later, you can start to let the body handle the breathing again. Now comes all the recriminations. The voice that tells you how stupid this all is that you're still doing this all this time later. How he doesn't care and he probably never really did. It starts listing off all the stuff he missed and the lipstick stains on the undershorts and those emails to the other women and the things he said about you in them, but you've stopped listening. It's going to rant on like that for a while and you have to get home and get dinner on the stove. It's right, but it's been right for a long time and it's not going to get any more or less right. As long as you can keep it from bringing up the girls you'll get through the evening.

You get to the car, and by carefully reciting each step as you accomplish it you manage to get into the driver's seat. Sort of like a preflight checklist. Car key in ignition. No, that's the house key. CAR key in ignition. Check. Your phone starts to buzz where you dumped it on the console, vibrating the loose change that's been gravitating into the cup holders. You have a quick flash of annoyed thought that you need to clean this mess up again. You pick the phone up and your heart sinks. It's Aunt Cathy. You close your eyes and answer it before it starts ringing in earnest.

They're at it again. She explains the latest thing Mom won't let her do that the doctor said she was supposed to do and I ask her to hand the phone to Mom. On the third or fourth try she does. Mom gives me her side of it. Go back and forth between the two of them until they realize that they're not in Jr. High anymore. Aunt Cathy's parting shot ringing in your ears blots out the jerk shouting how stupid you are and listing flaws, so that's one blessing at any rate.

You pick your forehead up off the steering wheel where it had fallen during the soi disant conversation, finish the checklist and join the flow of metal down the street towards the house. It's not "home". You don't know where that is. You're not sure you ever really did. Adagio swells under the mundanities of accellerator pedals and gas gauges.

You arrive, but it becomes clear that the director has another movement in mind. The first few bars stomp in through the front door with a gust of cool wind and muddy footprints. The cell phone buzz on the counter rings counterpoint. You pick it up to shut it up while the allegro begins. You tread the measures, restating the themes again and again until they resolve into a single bare tone.

You find yourself back at the start again, staring at the same screen that had bounced the morning sun's glare into your eyes. Finale, you hope. Time to go see what the ceiling has to say about the matter.