IMR: 2000: November: 06 — Monday, 2:11 a.m. HST
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

Thanks to Wayne, I find myself at the Star Trek/Xena convention in Waikiki.
It's much smaller than it used to be, but there was no shortage of odd characters.
The traditional costume contest, featuring Trekkers, Xenas, and loud aliens.
Katie liked it, but she liked the McDonald's lunch even better.
I can't believe it.

I can't believe that fourteen hours ago, Katie and I found ourselves at the Star Trek/Xena convention in Waikiki, courtesy the morbid curiosity of Wayne.

I can't believe that fourteen hours from now, I'll be at 35,000 feet somewhere between Japan and Singapore.

I can't believe that as of two hours ago, it's my birthday, and I almost forgot it completely.

I can't believe I'm trying to stay up all night in the futile hope of being so exhausted tomorrow, I'll end up sleeping straight through a good portion of my flight over the Pacific.

Have I ever mentioned I hate flying?

"If this doesn't make it into your journal, I don't know what will," Wayne said, as we walked out of the Pacific Beach Hotel onto Kalakaua Avenue.

Happy, Wayne?

Yes, it's true. I went to a sci-fi fan con. But it wasn't my idea!

Despite thinking that every remnant of my insignia-wearing, plate-collecting, signature-seeking, Star Trek geeking days were long forgotten, Wayne cheerfully dredged them up again last week after hearing that a Star Trek and Xena convention was coming to town.

A long, long time ago, I was a member of the small (and now almost nonexistant) Star Trek fan club in town. We met monthly, often in the back aisle of a small game shop on King Street, went to movies, and attended conventions, which back then were an annual tradition.

I invited Wayne to one of the meetings once, and he thought it was so freaky, he has never let me forget my fandom ever since.

Even though I haven't been to a con in almost a decade. Even though I haven't watched anything even remotely Trek-like in years. Even though — snickering readers, please take note — he actually watches much more Trek than I ever did. A fact that became hilariously clear several times today, when he made references to some alien Trek race or specific episode and I didn't have the foggiest idea what he was talking about.

(What's a 'dabo' girl? What "Evil Kirk" safe combination?)

Anyway. His curiosity got the best of him, he offered to pay my admission, and I figured Katie didn't get enough costumes on Tuesday. So after I dropped Jen off at work for day two of training, Wayne came over and we drove into Waikiki.

"I'm kind of dreading meeting someone I knew back then," I said to him as we rode the elevator up to the dealer room.

And when the door opened, there were four people with whom I once traded Secret Star Trek Santa gifts, including former professional mermaid Jean Simon, retailer-turned-CompUSA-icon Mark Wilson, and ever gracious state worker Steven Bern.

(Actually, I recognized maybe twenty people, and many of them recognized me, although clearly everyone forgot everyone's names, so we just had many of those ten-second "how's it going? take care!" conversations.)

I was immediately struck by how much smaller everything was. Instead of a crowded 500-person hall, there were only thirty or so vendors comfortably spread out in a medium-sized meeting room. And instead of commanding the grandest ballroom in the hotel, the stage was set up in a weird ballroom tucked off to the side, past some sad looking guest rooms.

Then again, there's not much of a pulse in the Trek universe these days, and both Xena and companion show Hercules are off the air. The fact that they could draw a few hundred fans in this town is probably remarkable.

We wandered once around the dealer room to check out the offerings, consisting mostly of posters, photos, props, CDs, and toys. Wayne checked out some old laser discs, and Katie watched as the great Zoltar dared everyone in the room to stump him with Star Trek trivia.

Of course there were also special guests scattered around, signing autographs. Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Rand), Herb Jefferson ("Boomer" from "Battlestar Galactica"), and France Nuyen, who appeared in Star Trek but also had the 'female Asian lead' market locked up in Hollywood at one time, with roles in "South Pacific" and many other movies.

We then headed up to the ballroom to see what was up. We watched the costume contest, a video tribute to Hercules and another to the Gabrielle character from Xena, and listened a bit to some gossip about the next Trek movie (number ten) and a rumored new TV series to replace Voyager.

Eventually we got hungry and ducked out to dine at McDonald's. We then decided to take a short trip to Kahala to check out Barnes & Noble. And, well, we never went back. Katie needed a nap, Wayne needed to pack for his trip to L.A., and frankly, the two hours we spent at the con more than filled our monthly quota of "surreal."

Definitely a different world. It makes even more clear just how much my world has changed over the years.

After two days of absolutely stellar independence, Katie got a little skittish on Wednesday and Thursday when Jen dropped her off at school, and actually cried on Friday. Of course it broke mommy's heart.

After two days of training in the bowels of Liberty House, the full weight of exactly what returning to the workforce means is additionally beginning to sink in, making her stress out and second-guess some of the big decisions we've made in the last few weeks.

And with the hours left before my trip ticking away, I've run myself ragged packing, tying up loose ends at the office, and working out a complicated schedule so that Katie can still get to and from school even with me gone and Jen on the job.

Suffice it to say, it's been a little crazy around here. Katie definitely picks up on the tension, and fortunately doesn't ever hesitate to let either Jen and I know if we're being unacceptably unpleasant.

Clearly, our collective timing sucks. But we'll get through this, and come out stronger. Having Katie in school and Jen out and about is best for both of them. And that's what's best for me.

That and maybe a short catnap before I leave for the office.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 6 November 2000 · Last Modified: 6 November 2000