It’s San Diego Comic-Con this week, the time of the year when the comic industry gets even more self-obsessed, and the rest of the genre entertainment industry joins in; I’m not going to the show this year – Second time running, although this year I had a period of thinking “Do I want to go? Maybe I do,” unlike last year’s very definite sense of “I don’t want to go, not in the slightest, how can I get out of this?” – but that hasn’t stopped me from having at least one San Diego Anxiety Dream.
On the years when I covered the show for io9, I would get those every single night of the week or so before the show; covering the show for that site was a big deal; we were all (“All” being, in this case, five of us) given schedules for where we were meant to be on each day, what panels we were to cover and write up, what parties or extra-curricular activities we were expected to attend, and so on. Your time very definitely wasn’t your own, but that was part of the thrill of it in a weird way; you were being “a journalist!” and so everything was okay. But with that weight of expectation came the week of pre-show nightmares, each one a melodrama of missing a panel for whatever reason – it was always something mundane – and the result being calamity and disaster. Everything will be your fault if it goes wrong, the dreams explained, and you know you’re going to be late for something, don’t you?
I always thought I was the only person who had these dreams until recently, when I saw various other comic journalists write about them on Twitter. It was a weird moment of shared weight and shame, and also incredible relief that I’m not going to be at the show this time around. As I said, I’m still getting the dreams, but I wake up and remember that I don’t have to be at the convention and everything seems much lighter afterwards.