My Rejuvenating Weekend at ConBust.
ConBust was the rejuvenating weekend I expected it to be, but in an unexpected way.
Don’t get me wrong. ConBust was a blast for all the usual reasons; the attendees were friendly and curious, the staff was amazing, I bonded with my neighbors in the Artist Alley, and the panels I spoke on were great. It was the mellow, relaxing show I’ve come to love and look forward to every year. But the real rejuvenation of my heart and spirit happened in an altogether different way this year, albeit still related to ConBust.
My best friend since middle school came to visit me at ConBust this year. We hadn’t seen one another in quite some time, what with living in different states and having familial responsibilities, so we organized a reunion at ConBust. The show is small and mellow enough that we would have the opportunity to really sit down and catch up, and with my wife (who usually joins me for ConBust) having other plans this year, I was eager for the company.
We did not realize that it had been close to three years since we had seen one another in person. We talk semi-regularly, so our time apart did not feel so long, but once we were in the same room the reality struck us. It struck me, anyway. Having become friends in middle school and now pushing our fortieth birthdays, we’ve been friends for almost thirty years. My best friend has always been around, even when we’re far apart, but never had we gone so long without seeing one another. Seeing him again was something I really needed, and thanks to the mellow atmosphere of ConBust, we were able to sit back and be nerds together again.
He got a kick out of seeing folks come up to my table and “fawn over me,” as he put it. We told stories of our families. We remembered old roleplaying game books, video games, and comics that shaped our youth. He came to my panels. We drank beer, endured spicy Indian food, and ate ice cream on a street corner in the middle of the night. It was just really nice to see my best friend, and ConBust allowed us to have that much-needed reunion.
Ours is a friendship that has endured its share of conflict, drama, distance, time, and the encroaching responsibilities of adulthood. It’s a friendship that is close to three decades long. It’s about as close to the definition of platonic love that I can fathom, so much so that we’ve both begun using the full “I love you” instead of the “love ya” that most men like to use.
So yeah. I love you, buddy. It was good to see you again this weekend. Let’s not wait another three years to do it again.
ConBust weekend is always good for my soul.