Monday, June 20, 2011

Heroes and Villains

"Look how cute you all look." the train conductor said. She flashed a big toothy grin. "You are all wearing matching orange shirts."

"Thanks." I smiled back at her. "We are heading downtown. The orange will make it easier to keep track of each other."

"Oh. Where you heading?"

"To the comic book convention." I replied.
Maxfield, Wyatt and I found some empty seats on the SEPTA train. I used the train ride to prep the kids on what to expect and what to do in case we get separated. I explained that a comic convention would be filled with lots of cool stuff, there would many distractions, but no matter what we all had to stick together. I wrote my cell phone number on a pieces of paper, placed the paper in their pockets and told them if they did get lost that they could get someone to call my phone.

Not an orange shirt to be seen.

As we stood in line at the convention center someone else commented on the matching orange shirts.

"It is so I can easily spot them in a crowd." I answered. "I chose orange because no one wears orange to a comic convention."

"How's that?" he said.

"People wear red and blue super hero shirts and black Goth-y things to these events. Aquaman is the only super hero that I can think of to wear orange. And no one wants to be Aquaman." I answered.

Max and Wyatt seemed to be enjoying themselves. We met Colleen Venable the author of Guinea PI (g) comics, who was very nice and personable. We discussed the orange shirts and how I picked the color so the kids could see me and I could see them. I joked how I dress them in bright green for Fourth of July Parades. We talked with the artist and writer of Lazerman comics. We visited many booths, like the Garrison Carida, a very cool  Star Wars themed charity organization.

We even stopped by to the see the Bat-mobile, which Wyatt recognized from the 1960's  TV show that airs on the cable channel the Hub.

We made our way through aisle after aisle looking at cool super hero stuff and collecting free comics, trading cards and other things. We saw the Mystery Machine from Scoobie Doo and the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard.We stopped every so often so I could take pictures of the kids. We entered the area where celebrities were doing meet and greets and autographs.  Adam West, Burt Ward, Adam Baldwin, Jon Schneider, Billy Dee Williams and countless other B and C list stars from shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Star Gate were in various sections with lines of fans snaking in and out of the booths. It was very, very crowded.

I stopped at an intersection of rows trying to look at the floor plan map. I wanted to get out of the crowds. I turned around.

"Max, Wyatt we are going to go this way." I said pointing to my right.

Only Wyatt replied.

It took me about 5 seconds to register that I was only looking at one orange shirt.

"Wyatt, where is Max?"

"I don't know." he said.

I looked down each of the four rows at the intersection. I did not see one orange shirt. I called out Max's name. My voice did not carry far. It was dampened by the huge crowds around us. My heart started racing. I looked in the booths of action figures near us. No orange shirt. Crap. I grabbed Wyatt's hand and I started to move up and down the aisles. No orange shirts anywhere.

Should I stay put, hoping he comes back to where we got separated? Do I go look for him? Do I scream his name louder? I grabbed my phone to make sure I could hear it ring over the noise of the crowd. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of an orange shirt. I pushed my way through the crowd. As I got closer I saw it was someone wearing a General Lee "01" shirt. Who the hell wears orange shirts to a comic convention? I ran back to the intersection. A few minutes passed and I tried to calm myself down by telling myself that Max was just at a vendor's booth looking at comics. But then as I looked around the creepiness factor hit me.

People were walking around looking like this...
or like this. Creepy right?

About 5 maybe 10 minutes went by (It felt like 30 minutes) when I decided to just go up and down the aisles. I pushed through the crowds yelling his name. Nobody stopped to help. People were annoyed I was yelling too close to their ears. I was flabbergasted. With all the super hero vibes going through the place you would think someone would have stopped to help the panic stricken screaming man in the orange shirt.

As I pushed down the second aisle I caught a glimpse of an orange shirt sitting in a booth about 30 feet away. I stood on my tip toes trying to look over the heads of the crowd in front of me. I felt Wyatt's hand slipping from mine. I held Wyatt closer as I nudged past a few more people to get a better look for the orange shirt. There, sitting on a high stool in the booth of the ECW and WWF wrestling diva Dawn Marie was Max. I caught my breath.

Max hugged me and I could tell he was scared. I could also tell he was mad at me for losing him. I had a lump in my throat.  Dawn Marie stroked his hair and tried to calm him. Dawn Marie explained that Max approached her and another woman volunteer and said that his dad was lost. Dawn suggested he sit in her booth while the volunteer went to the main office. Dawn told me that Max did the right thing and not talk to anyone until he saw the volunteer.

"BILL MEAKIM. PLEASE REPORT TO DAWN MARIE'S BOOTH." boomed over the loud speakers.

I stuttered a thank you to Dawn for taking care of Max. She noticed the orange shirts and mentioned them. I explained my idea of how I wanted the kids to stand out and how it apparently failed. I noticed Wyatt was staring at Dawn and her, uhm, muscles. She had, uhm, rather, uhh big muscles and she was showing them off.

"BILL MEAKIM PLEASE PICK UP YOUR SON AT DAWN MARIE'S BOOTH." echoed through the convention hall again.

Dawn offered to let us sit in her booth until Max and I calmed down a bit. I declined. Wyatt continued to stare.  People were lining up to get her autograph and I could tell Wyatt was on the verge of saying something about her outfit. I thanked Dawn again and made a lame joke about how she was a real super hero to me. We walked away a few feet to let the lines form at her table. I asked Max why he did not use the phone number I gave him. He said he could not find it. With Max and Wyatt safely at my side, I started laughing at the situation. I took a quick picture with the camera knowing that no one would believe me.

A muscular Dawn Marie on the left. 
As we left the convention I heard my name over the loud speaker another 3 times. I felt like such the bad guy.
Me as a villain. Wyatt took this picture.


Susie said...

This made me cry. Been there, done that (well, not with Dawn Marie and that crew you were with, but yea). Dawn Marie is my hero, now. Max is imprinted now -- he will choose a .... "muscular" woman to be his mate, you wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Making memories like the fat lady and the skinny man.

I did connect that Max likes 2nd base.

BKP said...

Ditto Susie. Been there, done that. "Lost" my 4 y.o. in Macy's last fall. Longest 20 minutes of my life. Store put on lockdown, wanted to puke and thought 'so this is how it feels' and when do I call my husband...

Thankfully, moms and dads in Macy's walked around helping me call his name. He finally reappeared, I've never hugged him so hard. He had hid because he was mad at me. He wouldn't tell me his hiding spot. Said he didn't have to worry about being taken because the bad guys wouldn't have been able to find him either.

Thankfully he told his older brothers. And after I threatened them, they told me. I recently went through Macy's (1st time w/ him after the 'incident') and happy to report no one hid.

Unknown said...

I saw your tweet on this so I knew where it was going but man, that has to be scary. Hooray for Dawn Marie and her...muscles.

Effie said...

*so* glad you found him so quickly!

for a different kind of girl said...

Orange you glad your son's a muscles man? :)

Truly, glad for the happy ending. Been there, done that, too. Not at a comics convention, though...because I'm a girl, but still... :)

Anonymous said...

I lost my daughter at night, downtown, in the middle of winter at the ice sculpture display. I grabbed for every small child in a pink coat and screamed, "Why the hell does everyone have a pink coat?" We found her and I vowed to do exactly what you did... next time dress her in something obvious and easy to spot.

Bogart said...

You could write a comic called Bill and the 50/50 Bars...talking about your crazy adventures in Philly.