Though my main story revolves around meeting Actor Sean Schemmel at a certain New York Comic Con, allow me to enlighten you with the birth of my personal and cherished Line Stool, in leading up to its (almost) death.
I had purchased a cheap folding stool from an even cheaper 99 cents store in my neighborhood, for an upcoming event where I anticipated standing for strenuous amounts of time. And let me tell you, this chair wouldn't be able to withstand the "kick the tires" test. But it was a needed item, and an affordable one, but most of all it was mine. And little did I know the history that would go into this chair.
The first event I had my trusty leg pain reliever accompany me was the Shakespeare in the Park event, located in Central Park, NYC. It was the summer of 2010, let's say July, and the draw was Al Pacino, Shakespearean performances and zero cost of admission. The catch was: attendees to be would have to camp out by the park overnight and into the early morning next day to get their hands on these free tickets. I gladly took on the sacrifice, along with a few buddies but I wouldn't be able to do it without my stool. That was the first case where my stool helped me cope with copious, exhausting line-waiting.
The next instance would be New York Comic Con 2010, which was also my first convention. This is when some people started to take notice. It's not surprising, though, that it took people this long to notice. At SitP they had tents, sleeping bags and mattresses (yes, mattresses), but to a convention people generally bring as little with them as possible, anticipating the need to carry items obtained the day of, let alone a rather large metal folding comfort-device.
Jump one year and next up would be the Capcom Fight Club, August 18th 2011, where I and my buddy "Skip", along with nearly thirty tardy friends, waited from 9am till about 4 or 5pm to be the first among the attendees to try out upcoming Capcom games (Ultimate Marvel 3, Street Fighter x Tekken and Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition, for those interested). Braving heat and hunger, line stool in hand I waited, and waited.... that day.
Save one trip to Boston for an Anime convention, the last event my stool was used would be New York Comic Con of 2011. And now we have caught up with the real story here...
On the third day of the convention, my buddy "nemo" left early because he wasn't feeling well, which meant I had to parade the rest convention by myself. Tough break. Before you ask, no I couldn't just call someone else, that year the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was having atrocious cell phone reception issues, making a convention goer unable to call friends from within the complex or even go outside to call them on the count of the friends were all inside enjoying themselves with their lovely groups. Lone Wolf time. I tried to make the best of the rest of the day, but the previous two days of pure flipping carnage wore me out and left me with little else to do. Most of the panels and booths on the To Visit list Nemo and I wrote up were checked off and I was also starting to run out of money. It was a cold many hours since Nemo left in the morning at the start of the Con that I had lost hope. Wandering around a convention is hell on the legs. So for my own sake my final initiative was to check out the Funimation booth again, just to kill some time.
So I parked my Line battling stool a mere 5 or 6 feet away from the booth and observed. I observed people passing by, merchandise being sold and Goku. There was the biggest Goku statue I've ever seen. Maybe it was life size, 1:1 I don't know but it was certainly big. And next to it, standing or rather posing, was a guy with glasses wearing a leather jacket. Familiar attire for sure. But who was he, why was he giving Son Goku the old stare and chin-scratcher? Finally it occurred to me this man was having his picture taken, and subsequently being approached by giddy convention goers like me.
I was curious, I listened in:
"You know ... (inaudible) ... voice ... (inaudible)", the man said.
"No way, really?" replied the fan, "can you ... (inaudible) ..."
"Ok", the man caved in, "but a quiet one."
At this point I had my suspicions but it wasn't until what happened next that I really knew the whole story behind this. The man screams, in an oh so familiar, and nostalgia boner inducing "KAMEHAMEHA!"
Out of my seat I lunged, that's Sean Schemmel. Of course, his name was in the guest section of the NYCC guidebook, the mobile app and on the official website. He was here, he was in front of me, and he just Kamehameha'd en vivo! It was autograph time. Met the dude, really down to earth guy and he even signed my convention pass.
How could I complain of boredom or being alone now? What just happened was God like, for me at least, a Dragon Ball Z fan since childhood. To be fair, I didn't really know Sean, but I knew him by voice from the countless episodes of DBZ that ruled my life growing up and that's just as good. That was just the level of fan I was, and that's ok. But this was my epic ending, the big finish for Day 3 of the Convention. I was ready to go home now, that was for sure and that's what I did.
But walking towards the subway station that would take me home (approximately 10 streets/blocks from the Convention Center), smiling like a kid with a new puppy, it hit me: I forgot my line stool! How could I? That stool had history. For a split second entertaining the idea that it was gone, fodder for some hot-handed thief, I turned around and headed right back to the booth where it was last seen. Withstanding cold New York October winds was no concern because if I lost this chair, I'd lose a part of my history, and any future chances to keep said history going.
To my great surprise, it was right there. The search took no longer than walking back did. My precious blue chair was sitting, unfolded and unattended in the corner of the Exhibition hall. No one noticed it, no one bothered to reach out for it, and the life of the convention just continued to rush on by like busy Broadway traffic just feet away from the thing. So I scooped it up, folded it promptly, and went on home.
And that's my Convention story. It was a long one, but I hope it filled you the reader, my audience, with inspiration to get chairs of your own and bring them to all your events to ease the troublesome waiting normally done standing. And more importantly, start your history. Anyone with patience is welcome to the brotherhood of Line Stools!