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Post-Con Neuroses

This weekend I had the honor of being Toastmaster at ConFusion. This was one of my best convention experiences ever … and in a few days, I’ll be able to focus on what an epic time I had. But first I need to get through what I think of as my post-con neurotic phase.

I’ve talked before about being an introvert. When I do a convention, it’s in some ways a performance. That doesn’t mean there’s anything deceptive or dishonest, but I’m basically playing Jim C. Hines, Extroverted Author. It’s a great deal of fun, but it also uses up a fair amount of energy. One thing I’ve noticed is that it requires me to turn down some of my internal filters and censors.

And that’s what leads to comments like the one I made during opening ceremonies where I introduced one guest who had been attending since about 1980, and remarked, “Wow … I was only six years old.” Now here’s a peek inside Jim’s brain:

Wait, why did I say that? That wasn’t in my script of jokes. I was trying to point out that this person has a great history with the con, but I basically announced, “Hey, they’re old!” That’s kind of a dickish thing to say. Have I just alienated our guest of honor or made them uncomfortable? What the hell, man?

This sort of thing doesn’t usually bother me too much while I’m at the con and “on.” It’s afterward, when I’m overtired and heading back to the real world, that it starts to get to me. I think back to Sunday afternoon when Sarah Zettel asked me to strike a pose, so of course I showed off the belly and gave my best hip-thrusting pose as I left the panel … which sent a familiar cramp of pain up the back muscles, eliciting a shout of, “Son of a bitch, that hurt!”

Why did I say that? I excised the word “bitch” from my vocabulary more than a decade ago! And it didn’t even hurt that bad; just a tight muscle from sitting in panel chairs all day. Way to go, Jim — you’ve just convinced those people who said you were out of shape that they’re right, because you can’t even do one little hip-thrust without whining about it.

Toastmaster with Epic HatThere were a few other such instances. They get stuck in my head for several days after the con, the little things that I’m 99% certain nobody else noticed or really cared about. Sure, I flubbed a joke in opening ceremonies, but overall I had a great deal of fun introducing our line-up of awesome guests, and all of the feedback I received afterward was positive.

I really did have an incredibly good time. I’ll try to do a more traditional write-up, by the end of which you’ll all be rather jealous. There was the author D&D game, the dessert reception, my guest star role on Tom Smith’s Rocky Horror Muppet Show … I had an absolute blast.

But after almost a decade of conventions, I also know that I overthink. I borderline obsess. And then, once I’ve caught up on sleep and gotten back to my real life, I get over it. But that day or two of post-con obsession is annoying. And I’m a little curious if I’m the only one who does this…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:06 pm (UTC)
You're not the only one, but mine usually starts during the con. After the adrenaline of having fun fades, my OCD will treat me to a slide show of every potentially dumb or jerkish thing I think I may have said or did.
Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
It sometimes hits when I retire to my hotel room at night, once the adrenaline wears off and I'm trying to fall asleep, and the brain says, "NOW IT'S TIME FOR THE CLIP SHOW OF AWKWARDNESS!!!"
Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:33 pm (UTC)
I do this exact thing too. My brain wants to hit me over the head with all the things it thinks I did wrong all day!
Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
That happens to me, too.

Sometimes I get a preview *before* the con, and I wonder if I should just stay home. :(
Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
I always get pre-con stage fright, even when it's a con where I know practically everybody there.
Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
Nope, you should definitely go to the con, because I haven't gotten to hang out with you enough yet!
Jan. 23rd, 2012 06:48 pm (UTC)
I would like that. (Now we just have to start going to the same cons.)


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