10 September 2008

a long, bleak stretch

so i went to Seattle for PAX over Labor Day weekend. for those not in the know, PAX is a convention for gamers put on by the guys from Penny Arcade. it was an incredible experience, but the actual con could have been better, i felt. i spent a lot of time waiting in lines (which had its own social dynamic) and not enough time actually enjoying games. or gamers.

for i knew when i went to this thing, one of the main positives would be that i would be amongst...my people. yes, gamers can be elitest, fanatical, vulgar and dangerously unkempt, but they just get it as far as games are concerned. somehow or another, games drew us all to that nexus for three interminably short days. by a vast margin, everyone was cool with each other; i didn't see any fights or even serious disagreements, mostly support and enjoyment.

perfect example: i met up with my Team Fortress 2 clanmate Steve (aka mentok1982) from Baltimore. he'd been to PAX last year and was a hugely rabid Penny Arcade fan. for once i didn't feel like a complete freak for knowing certain comics by heart; here was someone filling in my sentences. we listened to many a PA podcast over the duration (shamefully, i had only listened to one all the way through). he rekindled my love of Korn and gothiness. we went on about TF2, Fallout 3, Prince of Persia, Left 4 Dead, Far Cry 2.. he watched me headshot an expert gamer chick in Unreal Tournament 3, along with a smallish crowd. it was pretty damn cool. i was simply drenched in everything that i love, and i was among people who felt the same way i did.

since it was chilly in Seattle (mid-60s compared to Chicago's mid-80s), Steve kept letting me borrow his cozy Black Mantle hoodie, sprung full-force from this strip, which is one of my faves. i can't explain it; it almost makes me hallucinate with twisted laughter. anyway, when i got home i got the bright idea to buy one for work, since i'm always freezing my ass off. it just came today, all black and forboding and inside-jokey.

and that's what's getting me. i had a strong suspicion that depression would settle upon me once i got back, but the full reality hasn't hit me until now.. until i'm sitting here at work, behoodied, with no one — no one who gets the joke. goddammit, do i really have to wait another year to feel like i belong somewhere again?