CONvergence: Year of the Dyslexic Workout

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A picture of part of the CONvergence crowd from above. Over 5000 people attended this year!

I attended CONvergence, my favorite yearly sci-fi/fantasy convention, last weekend. Actually, it’s usually my only yearly sci-fi/fantasy convention. It’s also the largest volunteer-run convention in the United States midwest.

This year was a little different because my regular group couldn’t attend, but a buddy from Washington state did with her little boy. As a result, most activities revolved around keeping him entertained. That was ok, he’s a sweetheart and quite the character.

We spent a lot of time in the craft area and the new Minecraft blocks someone had set up. The person had found boxes of the same size and shape, painted them like the blocks from the game and set them out for the kids to play with. I don’t remember liking being built into structures and having them cave in on me, but apparently, kids enjoy that sort of thing these days.

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

A slightly blurry shot of my little Star Trek Crew. Captain Ryker, Commander Kit, and Expendable Emilie.

I was also on a couple of panels this year. One was Spoonie Support, a panel about disability support. Ironically, I was late due partially to my dyslexia.

The convention had moved to downtown Minneapolis this year, and the day of that first panel, we got going a little later than I had expected. Admittedly, my grasp on time isn’t the best, either. Minneapolis is known for its skyways, and since there were no stoplights in them, I thought taking them there would be faster.

I was wrong. So very wrong.

My poor friend was stuck pulling her little boy and the bags in the wagon I had picked up for con while I lead the way with my phone in hand. One of the problems with the system is the online maps don’t match up with the overall shape or signs in the skyway. Getting lost here and there was only partially my fault!

Did I mention we were all wearing our Star Trek outfits?

My friend was in her science blue uniform, her little boy in command gold, and I, of course, was the sole expendable red shirt. (There’s a long-standing joke that in the original series unnamed officers in red shirts were fated to die in their away missions.)

I barely survived this encounter with a Face Hugger. I did better than the guy from the USCSS Nostromo, at least.

So, they were being led by an ill-fated red-shirt. Whoops. Naturally, we got a few stares and a couple chuckles. In years past, I’ve gotten a few comments asking how my last mission was going and apologies for what was about to happen to me. Sadly, that didn’t happen this year.

Dyslexia didn’t help, either, as maps have never translated well into real life for me.

She got quite the workout, especially since the skyways by the hotel weren’t air-conditioned. Minnesota may be known for its winters, but its summers can be sweltering.

This is the state of extremes. Minnesnowta in the winter, Minnesquito in the summer.

I was about 20 minutes late to the hour-long panel. It wasn’t quite as well attended as other disability panels I’ve been on, and quite frankly, I didn’t enjoy it as much. It was far soberer than I prefer, and I’m not entirely sure how much value many folks got from it. It was great seeing a couple of friends there, though.

The next day, we checked into our AirBNB. This was a first for me, so I was a bit nervous. There were codes.

With numbers.

NUMBER CODES. MY NEMESIS.

Fortunately, cell phones are amazing devices. I had taken a screenshot of the e-mail from the host and just referred to the codes there whenever we had to leave or return.

Of course, my dyslexia still had to flare up while we stayed there. One of the times we returned, we took the bus. Our house number was 2106. What did my brain fixate on? 2601. We got off the bus five blocks out of the way.

Fortunately, my friend noticed we were going in the wrong direction because right and left are the same in my head, but so are increasing and decreasing house numbers. She certainly got her exercise in that week.

On the bright side, she discovered she lost 5 pounds when she got home. There’s the new fitness fad – Dyslexic Boot Camp.

“And MARCH! THIS WAY!”

“Wait, isn’t this the wrong-?”

“NO THIS IS CORRECT!”

“But the numbers are going in the wrong direction.”

“NO IT’S-wait. Oh. You’re right. ABOUT FACE!”

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Usually, con adventures happen at con. I guess this time, they happened before and after our convention visits.

I suppose this goes to show that even if I can read and write fluently, my dyslexia is still very much there, and it’s a great weight-loss aid.

Flamingos from CONvergence must have followed me around, too. Such skinny legs!

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