or, I Worked at an Anime Convention and Didn’t Lose My Mind to Nyan-cat.

I did something very, very silly. I admit this. Unfortunately, it’s something I’m prone to doing: I volunteered to help out at a convention.

While I was at TCEP 18, I ended up talking to Imp and HotMamaB and YarnMouse, among other people, and eventually the topic of staffing conventions came up. (This topic always comes up at TCEP, being a relaxicon run for people who staff other conventions to have fun and relax at for a change.) Imp asked me if I wanted to help staff Guest Relations at Katsucon in February. I very quickly said no, because I’m foolish, but not that foolish. Unfortunately, then HotMamaB turned and fluttered her baby blues at me, and asked if wanted to be Medical’s gofer. I said no, but then Buls-i pointed out that the World Cosplay Summit’s US preliminary round would be hosted at Katsucon, so I promptly folded and offered up my soul services to Medical and signed on as their gofer. Somewhere along the way, I also found myself volunteering for AnimeUSA, since I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound. Why not go for the whole damned collection, if I was already volunteering for the biggest anime con in the area?

Either way, I ended up arriving at the hotel on Friday a bit after noon; the stupid real-life job thing interfered in my schedule, so I was late arriving on site. I was quickly run through staff reg and issued my badge and radio, then I hopped down to Medical and started my first shift.

Unlike Security, with their fixed, mostly-immutable shifts, Medical operates in a weird way, when it comes to schedules, but it generally works out: if you’re awake, and have your radio on, you’re on duty. If you’re not near your radio (or it’s turned off), your cell phone is a point of contact if they need backup. If you’re asleep, they likely won’t bother you unless it’s super-critical, but by then the hotel’s probably just exploded, anyway. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I figured I’d be at the Medical desk the whole time I was awake; I was mostly correct in my assumption, but I did end up violating the ‘6’ part of the 6/2/1 rule pretty badly.

Friday was pretty mild, with one exception: we ended up responding on a code yellow at 0330, so I was up for a while. Other than that, the only thing of note was that I was introduced to all the Medical personnel, most of whom I actually didn’t know (what a change from previous convention staffing experience!). I hit the sack at around 0500, then turned around and was back on duty (after getting out of bed, eating, and showering) at 1100.

Saturday was much the same until evening came, and then the line-up for Matenrou Opera started. Medical got drafted to do line-wrangling and water bearing; the crowd was fairly big, and they were sweating in the lobby of the ballroom. The concert itself, though, went off without a hitch; we were very glad for this. Some time during the rave following the concert, though, there was a bit of miscommunication: someone called over the radio: “There’s a wedding going on in the rave!” This was interpreted as “Code Red in the rave!”, which Security responded to…and then a call came out sounding like “Code Blue in the rave!”, at which point Medical fluttered like an angry hornet’s nest and promptly crashed the party. Apparently, it went over like clockwork; I was at the desk, ready with the pen to keep the records. Medical cleared the mistaken call from the rave very quickly, and everything went back to normal. Later that night, though, we had another Code Yellow in the hotel area at 0500 (right as we were all getting ready to head for bed) that kept us up until 0700. I hit the sack a few minutes shy of 0730 on Sunday (sadly, the sun had started coming up, so it really did count as Sunday, too), and then was back on duty again by 1130.

Sunday was pretty quiet; everything ended up going very smoothly. I checked out of the hotel room and packed everything out to the truck before I turned my radio on. Angel got her stuff together and hopped off to browse through a few more things before her mother came to get her for dinner. All in all, things went by without any trouble, and then we broke the con and headed out for dinner. Medical had ourselves a fabulous post-con celebration at the Chipotle up the street, and then I piled Frank into the truck and hauled him up to Union Station so he could catch his train home.

One thing of major note: congratulations to Kit and Em! It’s a fabulous thing that’s happening for a pair of fabulous people; I wish you both all the best going forward.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Anime USA; we’re in a new hotel in 2012 (the same hotel ShmooCon is at!), so it’ll be all-new fun adventures in figuring out how to get from the desk to the medics when they call for the O2 bag. See y’all there!

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