When you’re an adult don’t ever think that your idea of fun correlates with your child’s. For the past few years my wife and daughter have gone to Comic-Con and I’ve made periodic forays. This year Number Two was old enough, in principle, to go to Comic-Con. At 1 2/3 years old he really is at the precise wrong age to go, since he’s too big to relax in the carrier or stroller and too young to wander on his own through a crowd of a hundred thousand. Imagine trying to hold on to a helium balloon that contains your heart, and you’re on the deck of a ship in a hurricane, and you can imagine the “fun” of taking a toddler to Comic-Con. But all that doesn’t matter. For Number Two, what was the most fun experience for him? It begins here, the empty lot behind the trolley station.
Look, it’s the perfect metaphor for the field where dreams die! There’s a scratch-off lotto ticket, and empty bottle of dirt-cheap and dirt-tasting vodka, and some empty packs of cigarettes. We wandered over here while Number Two stretched his legs as we waited for the trolley to arrive. When the rail lines started to ping and we heard the faint whipsaw of the overhead cables we knew the trolley was close. As it rounded the bend Number Two’s mouth dropped open and he frowned as a bright red train slowly rolled RIGHT TOWARDS US. His amazement didn’t abate as we stepped aboard, found a seat and the WHOLE THING STARTED TO MOVE. I can imagine this was as disorienting for him as it would be for me if the horizon slowly rotated 180 degrees and people began walking on their hands. He sat immobile for the first minute then decided it would be better to sit in my lap. He didn’t clutch me like a baby chimp, not wanting to seem scared or anything, but thought he perhaps could drape his hands on my leg. Just in case.
At Comic-Con itself he was tired and overwhelmed by the crowds. The crush was so intense that you felt in a dizzy panic to get somewhere to see something only to find, once there, that there was nowhere to stand to look at it. It was like shopping at Trader Joe’s (something I’ve chronicled here) only TEN TIMES WORSE. I took him home, he enjoyed the trolley ride, and we both had well-deserved naps. For Number Two, the journey, not the destination, was the highlight.
What about the little pink pegahorn? Dressed as My Little Pony’s Princess Cadance, she and her friend, also dressed as a My Little Pony, got wonderful attention from the conventioneers, which was charming. Not charming: Bronies (young men with an unhealthy attraction to a genre aimed at little girls) approaching the girls and bowing and saying, “Your majesty!” Okay, fellas, move it along, it just got weird. Despite the many thousand exiting things she saw and experienced at Comic-Con, what was her favorite part? The free goodies! Here she models some freebies in a Monster High/MLP mashup that makes my rods and cones buzz. Pink-tastic!