Distractions, Hobbies, Travel Leave a reply

It’s true what they say about kids being coddled these days.

When I was 16 my parents let me and an 18 year old friend of mine, travel to Ottawa on our own to attend MapleCon, my first science fiction/comic book convention. I had saved up my share of the hotel room and somehow convinced my mom to put a deposit down on said hotel room. I guess I was a trustworthy kid back then.

If I were to be 16 today and ask my parents that, I wonder if I would be allowed to go. I doubt it.

Ah MapleCon… You never forget your first ‘Con. Ottawa and surrounding area’s only gathering of nerds. I can still remember the poster of Captain Canuck advancing out of frame in your grey and white tights. Here’s a MapleCon 5  program as example of how cut and paste and typed everything was back then before computers. I can’t tell you how fantastic it was (is!) to discover that there were (are!) thousands of other dorks like you out in the world when you walk through the door of any con. Dorks that will stay up all night just to sit through a VHS showing of Dark Star or A Boy and his Dog with a room full of other dorks.

I didn’t have a ton of spending money so my convention floor purchase had to be just right. I think I scoured the entire room twice for the right thing to bring home when suddenly I found it: a 1979 12″ Alien doll (action figure!) with glow in the dark skull through green plastic cowling. And snapping jaws!

We didn’t act like wild, untamed beasts while away. Somehow I knew that if my parents got wind of bad behaviour I’d not have this opportunity again. Also, I was too stupid to do stupid things. We didn’t drink or trash our hotel room or do anything illegal. Our biggest crime was staying up all night at the Con hotel, playing Dungeons and Dragons. I remember on the way back to the hotel, in front of a huge line of people waiting for a bus, my friend went into a demonic southern preacher style rant and pretended to “heal” my soul by slapping my forehead so hard that I fell to my knees – much to the amusement of the bus crowd.

Don’t worry. I got him back. Years later when I lived in England, he visited me in London. While showing him the town we were waiting on the back platform of a double decker bus and I somehow managed to tell him that we were at the stop and he could just jump off. Even though we were still probably travelling at a rate greater than a brisk walk. The result was his feet flying out from under him and his body doing a perfect roll/crumple in front of a busy shop. Ha!

Anyway, the point of this story is that I was the darling child of my parents because I didn’t trash the hotel room or get drunk or do drugs (the opportunity certainly was presented) and that kids today are trustworthy, you just have to trust that you’ve taught them well and trust them.

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