Polite Nevermore

I am back from #hypericon, and I can only say that my initial feelings in regards to my guests was correct. It was more than correct, to the point that I seriously need to have a heart to heart with myself to talk about listening.

I can’t even begin to articulate how hard it has been all weekend long to smile at the Hypericon staff, telling them what a lovely time we’re having, while I’m being passive aggressively pushed around by simply the worst guests in history. When it comes to the convention itself, it was fabulous and I want to go back next year. The positive things that happened were: I got attacked by a tiny t-rex, got to glomp Inspector Gadget, got to harass an overly PC ghost protestor, and (gasp!) met Glen Cook – who agreed silently by smiling and nodding with my comments at an author panel when debating on how your story and TV show should grab the audience before the end of episode 2/the first 25 pages. (The author on the panel didn’t agree.) Because, believe it or not, I know some of what I’m doing after all these years.

Then there’s all the rest, all of which has to do with our guests, and would take me far too long to outline. I would rather be writing my novel instead of outlining the nightmare. There are some things I have to say, though.

This woman that I invited to the convention wants to be a director, so she claims, and the thing she’s trying to produce is a zombie movie. I *was* going to be in it, in the leading role as the coroner that discovers why the zombies are zombies, but I pretty much told her to fuck off yesterday – not that the writing hadn’t been on the wall for a while that she’d gotten what she wanted out of me already and thus her shitty ass behavior.

I mean after all I’d given her my entire voice over equipment set – mic, cords, external sound card, portable sound booth – because she and her daughter kept complaining that they wanted to do voice overs and make money over the internet. Like the show says, I thought that it doesn’t hurt to help and drove out 4 hours round trip to bring that to them as well as my collection of ballgowns so they could attend the Goblin King Ball at Hypericon. In the past we’d given them wires they needed for equipment. I’d printed posters for her to promote her movie with. And other things. I can’t remember what other things. It doesn’t matter.

She says she has managed to get Santiago Segura of The Walking Dead fame to play another leading role in the movie. I met him at Hypericon, and he seemed nice enough. I can’t vouch for any of this woman’s claims in regards to their relationship, or her daughter’s claims that he’s like an uncle. What I saw is what I saw, and it’s hardly important to my own life. If he wants their negativity to rub off on his children and into his life, that’s his own business. But I can’t tell you if he does or does not. I also don’t care.

I bring it up because imagine my frustration when, during the four whole times she actually made an effort to promote her movie, she didn’t introduce me as being part of the movie at all. She only mentioned him. It made something I’d been suspecting for weeks a lot more plain: she had no intention of having me play in this movie. For example, she and the folks she’s roped into helping went to film a trailer to promote the movie. (She kept calling it the movie trailer, but I’m pretty sure she meant it was a pitch trailer. Because all good directors don’t bother getting their terminology correct at all.) I was not invited. Twice.

I spent a lot of money on this passive aggressive bitch. I paid for both her and her daughter’s tickets. I gave them free hotel space to crash in. Fed her young’un a high priced hotel meal when we first arrived. Fed them both on the way home as well. (The con suite at Hypericon offered free food so at least we didn’t have to feed them during the stay. Which is one saving grace.)

When we arrived to pick them up just before 9 o’clock – the time as you may recall she set herself – they weren’t even close to being ready. I was livid. Then she decided she was sick and sent her daughter with us while she was staying home. Stupid soft-hearted me… I offered to find a way to get her later if she felt better. Guess what. She was magically better a couple of hours into the day. And I tend to try to be true to my word, so it turns out we did end up driving out of our way Friday night AFTER checking in at the hotel and setting up to pick her up at her convenience later.  Which ruined over half the convention for us as far as having energy goes, because we were too tired to attend the ball. Or any panels. Or do much of anything when the vendor’s room shut down on Saturday. We hadn’t had enough sleep.

I got tired real quick of listening to her boast about tablets and cameras she stole from friends because that was her way of “making them pay” for money she imagined they owed her for living with her/wanting to team up in the movie business with her/flirting with her daughter/ad nauseum. After a while you gotta wonder if your own items are safe, and yes we’ll be doing inventory of our things in a little bit today.

She had decided I knew nothing of my life/experience months ago, and I’d been overlooking that. A lot of people look at me and tend to see a big “ignorant” sign tattooed to my forehead. I could tell you some horrible things, for sure, about so-called professionals that take a look at me and in that quick moment just decide erroneously. I figure this is a red flag that the assuming idiot isn’t someone you can work with, either because they’re racist (that whole “Indians are retarded” belief) or because they have their own selves so stuck up their own asses they’re permanently constipated. After a while, though, I also got tired of having to compete constantly with having a life. If I did it, she’d also done it only better on every topic from beadwork to painting to – I swear to the gods – even my family tree.

Did you know she was the sole heir to the Croatian royal throne, but she didn’t want that mess because why bother? But she was the sole heir, nonetheless! Yeah I didn’t know either. I also didn’t know Croatia had a royal family, not that I know anything about Croatia nor care. I do know she insisted on this fantasy when I mistakenly opened up to her as an equal and began to tell her some of the blue things in my own family tree. The bitch couldn’t even let me have that. She turned my fucking heritage into a dick waving contest.

Her brat disappeared on us Saturday. Now her kid is 19, and as a young adult there are mistakes to be made. However, she was there with us – the fucking people who paid her way 100% – and there’s this thing called courtesy. Courtesy to your hosts. Courtesy to your mother, who was texting her and trying to get in touch and find out where she was. All weekend long one of the other things my guest put on repeat was how stupid her child was when it came to people, that she’d just trust anybody and was going to get herself killed. All night long. It was me that insisted this mother go find her fucking kid before she went to sleep. I was the only person who seemed to fucking care if this kid was getting hurt or not between the two of us, and she’s not even my kid. Our guest had already decided to roll over and just go to sleep hours ago. Which I wasn’t comfortable with – and I especially wasn’t comfortable with the thought that her kid might get raped thanks to me taking her to Nashville being as the men (yes, men) she’d been seen hanging with looked 30 at least.

On Sunday when her brat went to run off with men and disappear again as we were packing to leave, I lost it and told the kid she was going to get left if we couldn’t find her again. This of course left my guest taking serious offense that I’d stand up for my environment, the way shitty parents do. And the attitude just went down hill from there.

It came to a head when I was feeding them waffles. Yes. I was still paying for them 100% when my guest decided she didn’t need me for anything anymore and began to truly act out. On my side all I had to do was conversationally say, “Well you know, all those buildings and things you’re filming you need a permit for.” “Yes I know… dear.” In that moment she was set to duke it out – omg what a horrible person – so that I found myself threatening to leave them on the highway for my personal safety alone.

I should have just left them at the Huddle House, no really. She even… I can’t get over this part… mansplained to me.

She mansplained.

No. Think about it. This horrible woman MANsplained. And you know on what topic? 3D. Yes, she had read the Shapeways website and that meant she knew more about 3D than I did. She even told us she knew more than I did because she’d read the website, and I just needed to shut up and listen. Me. The person who actually works in 3D.

The closer we got to her house, the nastier she got. Well first she changed her tune and now her stupid daughter was a smart daughter who had an instinct on what people to hang with, that this kid just magically knew who would and would not hurt her. I was going WTF. Then she just flat got horrible. She was even using her daughter as a snob device, talking to her over us and – honest to God – snubbing us from the back seat of our own fucking car. When she did deign to speak to us (and after a few more miles it was only to Tim) she made it clear she’d been researching film making “on the internet” and knew far more than I.  We offered to help in so many things to help her get her movie going, because her biggest complaint was all the hangups, but she was bound and determined I knew nothing about anything I’ve ever done in my life and couldn’t help. According to her I know nothing about 3D, making covers, marketing, holding a camera, directing, acting, or just well. Anything. She’s just that threatened by the fact that I’m alive and breathing.

I mean. She mansplained. She. Mansplained.

Here is probably the worst part.

She literally shit in my car.

Take a good pause on that. Think about it long and hard, pun not intended, because my car still smells right now. This grown woman took a crap in her pants while sitting in my back seat.

Let’s swing back to how she was sick on Friday. She’d been sick all weekend. She tried to mask it, but I’m more intelligent than that despite what she’d like to believe and I notice things. On the way home she confessed to having the runs. So you’d think maybe she couldn’t help it… except maybe she could. We stopped at a McDonald’s when she had to go, was patient, and made it clear that if she was having another problem we’d stop somewhere else no problem.

She chose not to communicate with us on the matter, though. She asked us to roll down the windows because “the air was thick”, sat there a moment, got us to roll them back up again… and you could smell it. She… knew she had to go. She chose to shit in the backseat of my car, using our windows to mask it. Mind you, she did this while regaling us with stories about how she has no problem shitting in her pants when she’s home (I kid you not). And we had to ride home with the smell. Oh god the smell.

She got super nasty to me a block from her house, and I think I should have stopped the car on the road then and there and made her walk with her shit-laden underwear home carrying her stuff. I really should have. I’m too nice. I’m too nice, too polite, and it will be a cold day in hell before I let anyone like her near me again. Ever.

I should have listened to myself. And I tell you, learn from my story. If there’s a red flag, run from it as fast as you can.

When I got home I was naturally livid. This is where the positivity I allow to stay in my life happened. I had a chat online with some other professionals about making movies and stuff – folks who really truly DO know what they’re doing. We talked shop (even though I apparently don’t know what I’m doing) and I made a few more good contacts.

Tim and I have decided we’ll just make a movie. Why? Because waiting on this other person a full year got us nowhere, and I’m tired of putting my life on hold for idiots. Will we make the movie? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s not the point.

The point is after all that going in a positive direction is the best thing to do.  I’m gaining in success because I don’t keep certain things near me the way I used to do. I’ve learned – if they’re sick and twisted, kick ’em to the curb. In this last case I probably should have done it literally. But figuratively is good enough.

It’s time to go back to leading a positive, healthy life. I can’t be in someone else’s movie, I’ll make my own. The end.

Also, a murder slasher movie based on this past weekend’s events would probably be a hit on the convention circuit.

NOTE: If you know me, you can’t figure out who my bad guests were that easily so don’t bother. I could be talking about one person, I could be taking about 2 years ago. If I wanted you to know who it was, I’d post their name … except. They  have no name to me anymore.

Out of the OMGcon and into the Hypericon

I’m just not feeling it today. I haven’t been feeling it for a while now. In my heart of hearts, I know what it is: even if the clients can’t understand I’m quitting, I’ve quit. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to do my own thing. Period.

They come and they ask for another cover, please, and I just don’t wanna. We need the money, I know we do especially after the last sick fiasco foisted upon me by germ warfare, but I’m annoyed that in order to find time to write my novel or work on The Heavenly Bride I have to fit it in late at night when I’m done working for everyone else. My bills are relatively paid – well, better than they used to be. And dammit I want to stop. I just want to stop.

Last weekend was OMGcon, and even though the air conditioning in the convention center freezes the shit out of me we had a good time. We got to see a lot of good people, some familiar faces… we laughed. We sang. And it was over before it felt like it started.

This weekend is Hypericon, in Nashville. The drawback to having two conventions back to back like this, other than being a little tired and feeling burned out, is that OMGcon saw a bit of unusual success for me: I sold out of books. I mean, I really sold out of books… and I wasn’t expecting it. Which means my stock that I’d meant for Hypericon is gone. I don’t have enough time to restock. I’m just a little bit concerned, to say the least.

I think part of what’s contributing to my outright feeling of meh is the amount of rudeness I’ve been dealing with lately. Now, I’m not the perfect Southern Belle. Yes, I serve sweet tea and there are certain hospitality rules I live by and expect those around me to at least respect. I am Southern, after all. And being as the last time I was annoyed to the point of being emotionally drained at someone for their lack of hospitality and respect they were from the same geographical region as my current issue – Chicago – I suspect my issue is largely a culture conflict. But culture conflict or no, if I’m the host and you’re the guest then it’s up to you to be a good guest just like it’s up to me to be a good host.

The first time this happened I was an exemplary hostess. I fed my charge. I gave my charge a free ride cross country to get where we were going. I gave her a free place to sleep. And even after she’d backstabbed me and I decided to leave the event early rather than continue to deal with the abuse, trauma, selfishness, stolen property, and various other bullshit I made sure she had a place to sleep. I gave her my friend’s tent (with permission) and happily went on my way.

In return a little consideration would have been nice. I got none of it. In fact, she even portrayed me as the bad guy and made things more difficult. How’s that for gratitude? I haven’t talked to that person since, I would never recommend her to work with, and would be quite happy if she were to die right now.

This time, just like the last, I’m going out of my way to pick someone I invited up. They asked if they could bring someone else along. Sure, I said. That’s only imposing a little bit. I can take it.

My bills are paid, which means money is tight. (Funny thing about paying bills. It doesn’t mean you’re rich. It just means you’re responsible.) So when booking a hotel, I calculated how far away the event was and decided to hold back on booking more than necessary. I was given attitude on the part of my guest for not booking that extra night, because driving in the morning “would make everyone tired”.

I had learned from the first incident, though. I stood up for myself right away, and explained that yes I drive a reasonably new car and am paying for a house. This doesn’t mean I’m rich. It means I’m responsible, and the hotel was expensive. So I needed to be careful with what I did here.

Some of the negotiations for everyone’s schedules have been done on the part of the other half, with me not being fully informed. But somewhere along the way, as I tried to think of how I could make things work without my husband I had him ask if perhaps our guest could meet us partway out on the day of the convention or something, to shorten everyone’s driving time. Can’t do it, was the response. Okay. I understood. No problem. We’ll figure something else out.

That something else turns out to be driving Friday morning to the convention and leaving Sunday night. Will pick up our guests on the way out, no worries. They’re only a tiny bit out of the way and I don’t mind.

Then I’m told my guest is thinking of having someone pick them up during the convention so they can do something, probably on Saturday (usually the busiest day). My husband said incredulously, “Wait, they couldn’t work with us with getting a ride even an hour from their house, but they can be picked up in Nashville the full 3 hours from their home to go DO something?”

Maybe that was a schedule conflict, I let it go.

As far as my guest knew, I was leaving Thursday night to set up. The plan at that point was to pick them up on Thursday. I hadn’t communicated things with them yet because nothing was concrete. So they asked me a few days ago if it was alright if I picked them up on Friday instead, because they wanted to wait for their other half’s paycheck so they could have money. This comes after hearing them mention constantly about how their other half won’t give them any money. Fortunately their request didn’t put me in a bad position because I’d just been given the set up schedule so I was able to tell them that it was all good. However I was also thinking, “How fucking inconsiderate! First they get upset I won’t get an extra night at the hotel on Thursday. It’s a good thing I didn’t book Thursday! Now they want my husband to drive THREE HOURS ONE WAY out of his way on Friday to pick them up for the sake of their convenience – after which he would have missed the first day of the convention!”

Other half reacted by saying, “They are the GUEST. We’re not at their convenience. They’re at ours.” Well, that sentiment is partly correct, and gets the gist across.

The most recent fiasco was just a couple of days ago. I was asked, “Hey, when are you going to be here to pick us up?” I didn’t know. I was hesitant to give an hour or time, because when someone asks that question it usually leads to upset feelings when life and traffic are assholes and I’m even a little bit late. I said, “When I get there.” So they pressured me. I explained, hey. I wasn’t sure. I knew I wanted to leave early, but I never get out the door when I plan it no matter how hard I try, and I just didn’t know. So they pressured me some more. “When do you need to be there,” they asked. “I want to be there by noon, but the way things go I might not get there until 1,” I replied. Finally they said, “Fine. We’ll just be ready for you by 9 o’clock and wait.”

Okay then. I’m good with that, told them so. And then I asked, hey… do I have your up to date phone number so I can let you know when we leave? No response.

Maybe they went offline. I dunno… but my patience ended in that moment. I haven’t even gotten to the convention yet and I’m already dreading it based on past experience and the constant red flags I’m getting here. Are all Chicago people this way? I gotta ask, cuz the only ones I’ve ever known are turning out to be pretty consistent in this behavior. Only Chicago people may reply to that question, please.

Ever since that moment in which I couldn’t give the answer they wanted to hear, all the other half and I have gotten from our guest has been one word replies to anything we say to them. And it’s usually just a trite and short, “Okay.”

I have an Illinois friend who recommends I dump them, just tell them I can’t pick them up or something. I can’t do that. I invited them…. and all I want is for them to be good guests. I’m going to feed them, and water them, and I’ll even call them George if only they’d be a little considerate.

But the truth is if things can’t lighten up, I’ll be forced to dump them for the sake of my own self.

Still I hold on to the hope that the red flags are false flags. In person, my guests are nice people and I enjoy being around them. I am hoping that, while they’re in person, that will hold.

But let this post be a lesson, as most of my posts are geared to be. I take my job as hostess very seriously. Apparently God even smote an entire city of their lack of hospitality. And I’ll do what I can above and beyond the call of duty to be a good hostess. However, taking advantage of my good will makes you a jerk – and in my middle age mindset, you’ll quickly become a jerk I avoid.