PAX East has been over for two months now, and I never did get around to writing about it. I had started a blow-by-blow post of the whole weekend, but it was rapidly becoming rather long and rambling. So I’ll skip that in favor of documenting the most important occurrence at PAX: When I met Wil Wheaton.
This was my first Con and I don’t know that I knew what to expect. I should, by all rights, have had a terrible time. I spent most of my time waiting in lines and sitting on concrete floors which left my back and hips extremely sore. I didn’t get to play any game demos, and I missed all the panels I wanted to see except for the keynote. Sounds like a pretty terrible time, right?
The thing is, I loved it. I had a fantastic time and all thoughts of the event, even during and after the line sitting, are of pure joy. I blame this on two things. One is getting to spend three days with “my people”. This is common at any gathering of geeks, nerds, dweebs, and other outcasts. When we’re together, everything is a little bit better. I made “line friends” who told me about boardgames I had to buy and swapped RPG stories. The second factor leading to my phenomenal time is The Great Wil Wheaton Adventure.
It’s probably a good thing that I’ve waited so long to write about this. I’ve had time to go through all the phases of acceptance: dorking out, embarrassment, and finally joyful acceptance. I’ve shared this story with a few people now, and while it is universally accepted as completely nerdy, it’s also supremely cool.
I had no idea that Wil Wheaton would be sitting at a table signing autographs. That fact totally escaped me. I knew he was giving the keynote speech and I had my copy of Just A Geek with me in case I found myself across a game table from him or something. However, when we went looking for Scott Kurtz so I could procure my Skull plushie, there he was, Wil Wheaton with the longest line ever. (Actually, it was the longest line ever… until his line the following day, which was much longer.) Brian and I parted ways, he headed for Jonathan Coulton’s line, I for Wil’s.
A note about Star Trek: TNG and my family. I was six when the show first went on the air and thirteen when it ended. These were formative years and the show was always appointment television for my family. We had big Bose speakers hooked up to our tv, which we didn’t use all the time. We did, however, always use them for Star Trek so we could hear the rumble of the engines. It was awesome. I was also, of course, at the perfect age to adore Wil Wheaton. I mean, who wouldn’t?
I digress. So here I am, in line, talking to my line friends about board games. I see that he has two of his books that I don’t own, and his Wheaton’s Law t-shirt. I intend to purchase all three. I get to the front of the line and forget all of this. I shall now document the exact dialogue exchange as it happened.
Me: If eight-year-old me knew I was talking to you right now, she’d lose it. I mean, you are pretty much the first man I ever really loved.
WW: Awww. I’m glad we finally met.
Me: Yeah, it’s been really hard on our relationship.
WW: Well, you grew up as beautifully as I knew you would.
Me: (blushing profusely) You too.
And then he asked my name and signed my book. I know, I’m a total dork, but it was the coolest thing that’s happened to me in a while. It was definitely the event that saved PAX. I can’t really imagine having as much fun without it.