5 years ago this past weekend, I was running around San Diego. Wandering the hallowed halls of the convention center and exploring the many aspects of the San Diego Comic Con. Actually, I'm not sure sure it was wandering so much as it was shuffling slowly through a crowd of like minded enthusiasts to check out all the stuff the space had to offer.
Yeah, now that I think of it, that's exactly what I did.
Being in such a crowded space like that is both anxiety filled because you're not moving nearly as fast as you want to go and impressive. Impressive that this many people are in one spot enjoying everything. There's a part of me that gets extremely anxious around large groups like that... actually, strike that. I feel MORE comfortable in large groups like that, because people are even less likely to notice me or think about me or give second thoughts to any idiosyncrasies of my gait. I'm not expecting to talk to any of them, they're not expecting to talk to me. There's a nice bit of social contracting going on there. An unspoken acknowledgement that we don't HAVE to talk to each other.
In 2010, I went to San Diego Comic Con with my in-laws, and we ended up going out to dinner with some prominent voice actors, Charlie Adler (Buster Bunny, Starscream, etc) and the Spongebob man himself, Tom Kenny. It was really cool to just hang out with those guys, enjoy a few drinks in downtown San Diego. Tom Kenny would get stopped every now and then for being Spongebob or a character actor on Mr. Show, usually by a drunk 20 something, and it was really cool. He is such a nice and gracious guy.
The next morning I saw Tom wandering through the convention center. He stopped in to look in a box of comics and flipped through them calmly. Nobody really came up to him or said anything. It seemed nice.
I'm sure people recognized him on the convention floor at some point before or after that moment, but it was so nice to relate to him in that little window of time where he didn't have to put on a show or entertain anyone.
I didn't go over and say anything to him. I wanted him to have a minute alone, just as a regular dude who just happens to do a bunch of great stuff that so many people love.
Comic Con is great for little moments like this. It's why when Travis and I see all the people we've met in the past year going, we can't help but be a little envious.
Someday we'll be back, dammit, someday!