Feet are killing me. Legs are sore, like leg day lunges sore or maybe even marathon sore. Three 12 hour shifts in a row on an unforgiving concrete floor and totally exhausted. Yet, my heart is full of joy and I can’t wait to do it all again.
The hours are brutal, as we are there before the doors open and long after they have closed. Some of us are even there the day before it all starts. We don’t get to see much of any of the Con as we work the whole dang thing. It really isn’t glamorous at all. I stand around and help celebrities deal with the lines…long, long lines of people waiting to see them. I remind people to back up, tell them how much an autograph costs and try to make the time go quicker for them while they wait. I take seemingly thousands of photos of people with their phones, and never have to say smile because they are already beaming. While I am standing there in lines for hours with fans, or when I chat with folks about the con, people ask me why I volunteer for a convention, and they are genuinely curious and surprised. For them, it just seems like work, and no fun at all. What I explain with a true smile on my face is that for almost three solid days, I am surrounded by happy. Over the Con I will see well over a hundred thousand people, and they are all happy. These are not just smiling people, not just yay I’m done at the office on a Friday and ready to go to happy hour, these people have a joy about them of the most pure nature. A small city worth of happy people all in the same place at the same time and their joy is contagious.
I have seen people so excited they tremble…with joy.
I have heard little old ladies say, wow you’re even more handsome in person. Adorable.
I have seen gestures of karma, too many to count, simple acts of random kindness that made everyone around smile. I had the privilege of seeing a woman give her autographed photo ( forty bucks mind you) to the kid in line in front of her who couldn’t afford one. She made that kids day. That kid will probably remember that moment as an oldster in a rocking chair and smile…again. I got to see it. It will make me smile when I’m old too.
I see people who’s dreams, though they may seem silly to the non Nerd Herd folks out there, come absolutely true. Countless folks who have welled up with tears of joy because they got to shake the hand of someone who somehow made their life better when they needed it most.
I have felt that sense of relief when a fan is finally able to say thank you to someone who made a difference.
I have calmed fans too excited to speak, encouraged them to do so and gotten hugs afterwards.
I saw a couple who shared the same childhood hero so excited to share that moment, when they finally met him together, and then see him take to his knees and propose right there in front of other fans who totally understood. I was able to witness shared love.
I have seen the wee ones absolutely squeal when they see their hero, because they are innocent enough to still believe in them. Purest joy and a reminder to believe in the heroes we all have.
I volunteer for the stories… and to be fair, they aren’t even my own. I meet new people, learn about new nerd things to love and definitely get my steps in. But the really cool part, the real reason I do it is because I get to share in joy, happiness, excitement and love. That’s not work, that is a privilege.
Oh, and there’s always a snack.