Playing it Safe
Ren Faire/Convention season has entered hibernation here on the Northern East Coast. (I know there are still a few fighting the winter winds) As we batten down the hatches for winter’s fury, many of us are hard at work on new outfits and new personas. While we patiently wait for spring and the reawakening of our beloved faires and conventions, we write up back stories. We gather our materials and watch the snow fall outside out windows.
While we wait, I’d like to take this break in the festivities to touch on a subject that is oft overlooked. Safety. In the midst of a wonderful time safety can so easily be forgotten. As parents we worry about the safety of our children, as our parents did for us. So often though, we believe we are above the mishaps that can befall our mini-me’s. We aren’t. Danger takes no mind of age, gender, or disposition. Danger can also take many forms; sickness, injury, theft, or worse.
Please stay with me though as my intention is not trying to scare you away from your favorite events. I would however, like it very much, if you might paused to read these few short, easy to use tips. Tips that could help to keep you and those around you safe… while having a fun time.
1. Be alert and aware of your surroundings
You can’t be alert and aware of what is going on around you with your nose pressed into the digital world, or with headphones firmly in your ears. Look around, watch the people around you, listen and enjoy the buzz of activity. Partake in the world and all its wonders. After all, the world around you is in 3D with surround sound. You don’t even need special glasses. Trust me the world will keep on spinning and the internet will be there when you get back.
2. Don’t be a Red Shirt
This sort of ties into the first tip, you can’t help looking at least a little like a target if you aren’t aware. What is more important though is how you carry yourself. That small factor can set you apart. If you keep your eyes fixed to the ground at your feet, your shoulders hunched and world weary… you might look more like a victim then you realize. Looking the part of a victim has little to do with clothing choices, it has to do with the presence you have. Do you look confident, or do you look as scared as a baby bunny in a lion’s cage? Even if you aren’t as sure of yourself as others might be, try to give off as much confidence as possible. It is more unlikely for someone to try taking advantage of a person who exudes confidence.
3. Go with your gut
If a situation feels off, get out of it. If you don’t like the feeling you are getting from someone, find a friend and stay close. Now if you’re like me and dislike big crowds, this might be an issue at conventions, as everything about them can make you feel off. Do your best. Try to push yourself a little and go outside your bubble. If your spidey sense starts tingling, get somewhere quiet for a minute and collect yourself. Breathe, just stay alert and make sure you do this somewhere safe.
4. Avengers Assemble
We all remember it from our school days. The Buddy System. For some of us, it sucked, ‘cause no one wanted to be buddies with the weird kid. Guess what, at a convention or faire… We’re all the weird kids now. Take a friend to the convention, not only is it more fun to share the experience, it’s also safer. If you get hurt or sick you have someone who has your back. Plus, targeting people in a group, whether for theft, scams, or worse, is much harder if they are in numbers. Bring a friend or ten. You help the convention keep going strong by raising attendance and you help yourself stay safe.
5. Come in Mr. Scott
Obviously, we can’t be with our buddies every minute of every day. With countless shows, vendors, contests and what not going on, inevitably people will want to split up for a bit to check out different parts of the event. Set check in times, set a place to meet for dinner. We have these wonderful devices called cell phones, if you’re going to be late, let your friends know. Send them a quick text to let them know that you just found out about this great panel discussion and you’ll catch them for dinner as soon as it ends. You’re not only touching bases, you’re letting them know about something they may want to catch. Plus you’re giving them information that, should you fail to meet them later, they can use to help find you.
6. “It’s a Trap!”
I shouldn’t even need to say this one. It is so obvious that it bears mentioning, after all the obvious dangers are the ones no one ever thinks twice about. Don’t go into strangers rooms, and don’t let strangers into your room. Ever, for any reason… Ever! But their friend needs help lacing up her costume. I’m sorry to say I don’t care, tell them to come to the hall and you’ll be happy to help. Offer to fetch one of their friends to help with the final touches. If you are one of those people who just can’t say no to helping, please, please let your friends know where you’re going. Ask them to meet you at the room so you can head to the next event together.
I know, this all sounds silly, but as a Rennie, a gamer, and a parent, safety is something that is never far from my mind. Conventions and faires are seas of anonymity. Rarely will you know even half the people around you as well as you think you do. You can’t know what everyone around you may do. You can know how to handle yourself.
As adults we occasionally second guess ourselves. We have logical minds that love their reason and want us to believe that we are always safe doing something we love. Nothing and no one would dare tarnish our fun. Yet, it happens, maybe not even intentionally. Be safe while joining in the excitement around you and the fun doesn’t have to end. Let your friends do what friends do best, be there for you and watch your back, all while building memories together.
Thanks for reading along the last few months I hope you are enjoying my monthly ramblings and I do hope you’ll tune in for next month’s installment of The Observer’s Log, in which I will tackle, Rennie Resolutions.
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