By Taral Wayne: We live in an on-line world in which Corflu is no longer entirely for the enjoyment of a couple of score fans who have the means to travel. Now everyone can watch the proceedings live as they happen. For the first time in quite awhile I was able to witness a Corflu that was not merely virtual, but actually real … and it does still make a difference.
I was somewhat nervous when I set out, despite having done all this before, having planed it all ahead, and actually pretty confident that nothing ought to go wrong. And by George, it really didn’t seem to! I arrived on Friday afternoon after somewhat more than an hour on the road. Traveling Matt cam through beautifully, and at the first opportunity it was plugged in to top up the juice.
I have to say I had a pretty good time, and even recognized a number of people I had not laid eyes on for 20 or 30 years… In one case, I may have last seen one fan in the 70’s!
I collected an envelope of con pubs, fanzines and a badge at the front desk — despite a certain tardiness in preparations, Catherine and Colin seemed to have matters under control, and no-one seemed to think delays were anything unusual or to be excited about. With the last detail in place … I relaxed.
Saturday was pretty full, with most of day engaged in traditional talking heads. The amount of media evident would have done a White House press conference proud. I expected to be press-ganged into one panel on the use of fanart in comparison to photos, but I bowed out when it was found that the table was not really large enough for five. That was all right with me … I think I could have expressed my thoughts entirely in about three sentences, and more or less did exactly that from the audience.
I seem to recall a break after that, prompting me to locate the con suite where I hoped to find some grub. I found better than grub, and was never short of food. However, upon leaning that the con auction had begun, I met my first set-back at Corflu. The hotel was genuinely peculiar in that some of it was in one building, and the rest in another, connected by a glassed in bridge. This was no problem for most people, since there were only four or five steps to mount one side and cross to the other. It should not have been a problem for me, either, since there was a motorized lift. It was rather flimsy looking, and as first I was nervous about sliding off the side and falling to the ground. But my fears were groundless, so to speak. I was given a key by the front desk and instructions on its use. It worked exactly as it should have, and that was how things stood when I returned the way I came to raid the con suite. However, that was not how it worked the second time! I was able to mount the lift and drive to the other side and, but nothing would make the second half of the lift operate so that I could dismount on the other side! We called for three increasingly more important employees to come and look at me – hanging precariously on the lift – but only pronounce in the end that is was “broken.” At least I was able to dismount on the far side and re-mount on the near side, and wasn’t trapped until someone could repair the lift however many days later…
There was another route into the other half of the hotel, which would have allowed me go through the lobby there, enter the authorized only area to use the employee’s elevator to re-enter guest area on the other side, and finally join the Corflu auction in progress. But I just plain thought it wasn’t worth the effort at that point.
All the same, that was exactly what I had to do on Sunday, to join the brunch. It actually didn’t turn out to especially complicated once I had done it. However, I didn’t know where everyone had gotten to, and stupidly waited in the program room for several minutes before someone wandered by to remind me where I was supposed to be! So I was fortunate enough not to miss lunch. As soon I as I had cleaned the plate, of my last pound of bacon, the tables were cleared for announcements and the FAAn Awards.
Mike Glyer has already announced them on File770, so I won’t repeat then. All the same, it must be admitted that there were a few unexpected surprises. I don’t feel it is my place to comment on them, but I trust there will be quite a lot said in the next few days. You have probably seen the obvious … that I was acclaimed as the new Past President of the Fanzine Writers of America. What may seem even less likely was that I honestly had no idea – with other things on my mind over the last year — who the nominees were or anything else. In fact, I was feeling rather drowsy while the nominees were read and the winners announced. So when was told I had suddenly become the Past President, I was not entirely kidding when I said I had missed the whole thing.
By unlikely coincidence, Alan Rosenthal was chosen of Corflu 35’s Guest of Honour. The only reason I had a place to stay at the hotel was because Alan offered me the fold-out couch in the other room. As a result, the con had the new Past President asleep on a couch, while the Guest of Honour was asleep in the bedroom with Jeannie Bowman.
It was late afternoon by that time, and out-of-town guests began to drift away to taxis and airports. What was left of the food and supplies were carried up to the Dead Dog Party. There was quite a decent number of fans who were staying over to Sunday, and I might have stayed in the other for a third night if I chose. It was a near thing, since the night was cool and had rained. But I was fairly tired and would be grateful to sleep in my own bed instead. I stayed while Traveling Matt was entirely re-charged once more, then said my goodbyes around 9 or 9:30
I have to admit that I really enjoyed seeing so many I hadn’t seen in years, for many reasons. The odd thing was that I experienced it in a way that I hadn’t before. Worldcons are too busy, and you often spend only a few minutes with people and then never encounter them for the rest of the con. I’m forced to say, as well, that I was a late bloomer. I was only really getting to know fandom — and then me, I suspect – late in life. But there had been almost no opportunity to genuinely relate to the names and printed words as real people. I may not have another chance … but … well, who ever really knows?