This is a post about what I have to do after Spectrum Live.
And that is basically sit in a dark room, sleep a lot, and try not to interact with people for a day or so, because I'm so overwhelmed by the amount and intensity of social interaction that has gone on for the entire weekend (and then some - things kicked off Thursday night this year) that I need to decompress. The same thing happens to me after San Diego Comic Con, but to a lesser degree. It turns out, the hierarchy of social exhaustion, for me, goes: event organizer, exhibitor, attendee. Attending shows is SO EASY. Exhibiting at shows involves dealing with a lot of people, but at the end of the day, I get to go out and do whatever and I don't really worry too much about the next day (part of this is because I have already planned out how that next day is going to go, with a lot of flexibility built in, and I have been exhibiting at San Diego for 9 years now and I feel very confident in my ability to handle anything that show throws at me). Being an event planner, though...even when I go out after the show, I'm asking people how their day went, and how the show is going for them, and how it compares to last year, etc. The majority of my conversations revolve around the show (and the show is something that I have had a huge part in putting together, so I'm very invested in it going well). When I go to sleep, I have to make an effort to stop thinking about how I can make the next day run more smoothly. When I wake up, usually around 6 am, my first thought is "what are the things I need to take to the show/remember to do at the show, who do I need to check on, etc." And then I get up and start making lists, and then I go to the convention center and do anything that needs to be done before the show opens, and anything I have time to do in addition to all of my usual stuff during the show itself.
This is all in addition to being the main liason for all of the special guests and generally being helpful and pleasant to all exhibitors and attendees. And I'm very good at doing all of these things, and I enjoy doing them. I just need some pretty serious downtime after the show ends, because I have no patience for anybody by that point. I'm too focused on getting as many things done as possible, not forgetting anything, helping as many people as I can, and making sure that the show runs smoothly in as many ways as I can humanly manage. And I can manage a lot of stuff. I was thinking about what it was about this year that was so much more challenging than last year (I was very busy last year, but I was somehow even busier this year) and I realized that, oh yeah, we had two more special guests than last year! And two more days of programming! Mystery solved.
I said something about this last night at dinner, and I 100% meant it: it's easy to be nice to people who are nice, and everyone I've ever worked with at the show has been really, really nice. But even as easy as it is, in some ways, it takes a lot of energy to interact with so many people and be high energy and, in some cases, literally run from one part of the convention center to another because something needs to be somewhere else as quickly as possible.
Once I can go out in the world again and interact with people in a civil, normal way, it's time to go find frames for all the art I've acquired over the course of the show! That part is way more fun than the "sit quietly, don't talk to anyone, take lots of naps" bit.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="576"] Michael Whelan is a class act.[/caption]
I love the show, and I love being a part of it. It's challenging, and involves a lot of different elements to plan and participate in it, and as someone who is both horribly arrogant and highly competent, this is a good match for me. In addition to this, I'm not a natural extrovert, but I do pretty well, all things considered. My normal life involves a lot of time by myself, so this is probably the most intensely social weekend I have all year (followed by SDCC), and it's an odd mix of work and fun. The people are all super cool and interesting, and I enjoy talking to everyone, but it takes a lot out of me once it's over. It's like being on a massive caffeine bender, and as long as you keep going and stay awake, it's great, and then when you crash, you crash hard. I crash hard. It reminds me a little bit of my last year in college, where I was working full time at McDonalds, taking a full course load, and also doing an internship in Kansas City. I'd wake up at 4 am and I'd be going until about 11 pm (some of my classes were night classes) and I was fine as long as I didn't sit down on a comfortable chair. As soon as that happened, SUPER tired.
The show is all I can talk about for several weeks afterward. If you look at this post, you'll see the word "show" a tremendous number of times. I work very hard on it, I want it to succeed, and it holds my attention for quite a while after it's over. It did the same thing last year. I wouldn't call it an obsession, but I might call it a highly focused point of interest. An obsessive hobby. Hobbsession?Sorry, I'm still very tired.
Totally worth it, though. It's exhilarating.