A long and uneventful drive back home from Chicago in a post-ComicCon haze, and I can say with conviction, this is not my last one. I am now addicted. Which is bizarre for me, really, since I do not do well in crowded artificial environments. Maybe it’s the stale air or flickering lights, the echoing din of hundreds of people mashed into essentially a large warehouse. I become quickly over-stimulated, all my senses on hyper-drive without a moment’s rest. Pretty soon all the overflowing booths and sea of humanity dressed in quirky costumes begin to mold together.
Yet I am hooked! And arriving home content and happy with all the world. A large part of this is that, as mentioned yesterday, I met the amazing James Marsters. For the uninitiated, I have been a longtime fan of the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I started watching from the very first episode that aired in the spring of my freshman year of high school. You could say I grew up with the series. And I was riveted by one actor in particular – James Marsters as punk vampire Spike. I also discovered his music along the way and that sealed the deal for me. As a writer, I appreciate good poetry, and James’ music is poetry to a dangerous mix of blues and rock.
So when I began to research attending a ComicCon event (thanks to the influence of my niece Erika, who’s into horror makeup, acting in haunted houses, and reading fantasy, science fiction and manga), and I discovered that not only would James be at the convention, but there was a party celebrating his birthday, I knew I had to be there. However, my upcoming journey to Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands means my budget is tight. Six weeks of backpacking through Greenland, hiking and kayaking in Iceland, and flying over to the Faroes are not cheap, even when I’m living out of my backpack and bunking up with the locals. How could I possibly justify to myself spending so much money on one day?
My husband Mark sealed the deal. I have converted him – he is now just as dedicated a fan of James Marsters as me. He offered to help out, we would both go together and make this our anniversary trip. What an anniversary! We spent the day wandering the convention. Highlights were the panels with James and also the Final Five from Battlestar Galactica. I relished every interaction with James – he seemed to get a kick out of autographing the wooden stake my husband made just for this convention and he was really in the moment with every single fan he met. I also enjoyed meeting Claire Kramer, who played Glory on Buffy, and Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander. Both down-to-earth, so friendly.
In the evening, Mark and I attended a private party for James and his fans. We sang a rousing, if very off-key “happy birthday” to him as he admired his rather unique cake designed to look like his guitar. Mark and I socialized with fellow fans and met so many nice people from around the world. The highlight of the entire day was presenting James with his birthday gift. I am pretty shy as it is, so I honestly have no idea how coherent I was, but James seemed pleased with what we gave him – an instrument from Nepal that the Tibetan Buddhist monks use during their meditation. As James is one of my favorite musicians and I first developed my feverish need for travel in Kathmandu, Nepal, it seemed a fitting gift from me.
We are home and settling back into the regular routine, but the glow has yet to wear off. I will definitely attend a convention again. Maybe next time I’ll coordinate my visit to my family on the West Coast with a ComicCon so that I can drag along my science fiction engrossed twin brother. For now, I’ll enjoy the memories and somehow convince myself I really did meet James every time I watch him as Spike.