Selling tee shirts takes up more of my life than I’d like to admit sometimes. I recently was told I was doing a “Walker Stalker” convention solo, which made me insanely nervous but also I was weirdly thrilled about it, seeing as it combines two of my favorite hobbies: zombies and being alone.
To say I love zombies isn’t entirely true though. I love The Walking Dead. I find myself thinking of what kind of every day items I could finagle into zombie killing weapons on my way to work the morning after an episode airs: the loose pavement on the sidewalk, or turning my keys into a makeshift shank. My ugly Christmas sweater even has Darryl Dixon with a Santa hat on it.
But zombies themselves? No. I hate horror and I don’t have any interest in creepy things so it’s always off-putting to people when I try and explain my love of the show but my hatred of all things scary. I feel like it only reaffirms that in an apocalyptic situation I would be one of the first to go, and likely quite willingly.
So I was excited at the prospect of actually knowing some of the people on docket to come talk at the convention: at a typical anime convention I have yet to know one person on the list of famous people coming.
But other than my Walking Dead obsession, I loved that I could do the convention by myself.
Yes, there would be the occasional issues that would cause my anxiety to sky rocket: how do I leave the booth to pee or who do I ask for help when I get into a bind, but I figured I could sort it out and run a booth by myself and it would be right up my alley. I’m pretty damn hard headed and I was running things in accordance with my wants and not appeasing someone else. After all I love my alone time, which this winter has frequently involved wearing my ugly Christmas sweater around the house because no one is there to give a shit but me.
I arrived in Portland to 90 degree heat and had to set up, quickly hating the fact that no one was there to set up the booth with me and transport the heavy boxes from the heat indoors. I was slick with sweat, my shirt sticking to me with sweat spots drenching the tank top I had chosen to wear.
I looked to the guy at the booth next to me thinking “maybe he will take pity on me and help,” but he was rocking some headphones and was clearly not interested in the girl dripping sweat and whose makeup was running down her face looking like something out of a Dali painting.
Damsel in distress was not a look that was working for me. I’m still working on that balance of when I need to ask for help anyways as it doesn’t always come naturally to me. I was on my own for this one.
So I lugged every damn box in that door. And then I set up. By myself. And aside from a few minor hiccups it was all fine. I knew the worst was over.
I was even smart when it came to meeting my adjoining booth mates. I knew I couldn’t make it 9 hours with my tiny bladder, and my priority was to make sure no one stole anything from me when I went to pee.
So once the sweat dried from my shirt and I was mildly more presentable, I flagged down the guy wearing headphones and started doing the only thing I know: asking him a million questions.
It is weird at these conventions because even some of the sales people are super introverted. Headphones, for example, does this occasionally on weekends to sell his brothers drawings and help him out. He works in the tech industry and goes home to the hotel to keep working after the convention ends.
He also happens to be from Austin, which I found entirely too convenient as I’m planning a trip there in September. So I picked his brain about my upcoming adventure and when the time came the next day, made sure he was willing to commit to watching my booth for thieves while I took pee breaks. I promised him I wouldn’t go number two on the clock. He did not think that was funny (Classic Carly move: I think I’m hilarious but obviously don’t know my audience well enough). But he agreed to watch my booth nonetheless.
And after that it went off without a hitch. Long weekend in Portland. Air conditioned hotel room. Caught up on some shut eye that I hadn’t gotten in weeks. And I made some cash while I was at it.
It wasn’t as lucrative as some of my other t-shirt selling gigs, but I figured I’d take what I could get and enjoy the chance to actually be on the road again, which is what I’m always shooting for anyways.