More importantly I would be meeting up with dexter_fox whom I had just met online a couple of months before. He would be the 2nd furry I had ever met face to face. There was this whole fear about meeting an online acquaintance. What was he like in person? Was all of this just a whole big joke? Perhaps he didn't really exist! My fears were quickly quelled as this cute foxy in his trademark denim jacket came strolling into the lobby. A short time later I was bear hugged by someone I had met online only a week before, albear. The rest, you may say, was history!
Soon I was in my fursuit, the very first time I wore it in public. Al put on his as well, and the 2 bears wandered around the hotel. See! I was already establishing the goal of being the first suiter at a con! It's much more difficult to do that now!
I think I sealed my friendship with Al when we walked out of the hotel and someone's cell phone rang with the exact ringtone used in the running gag on Trigger Happy TV where the person screams into a giant phone (usually in a very quiet place), "HELLO! WHAT?!?" I screamed the line. Al lost it. We then went tearing through Burbank in his Bearmobile with "The Hamster Dance" cranked on his stereo.
It was great to have Dex with me since we were discovering what cons are all about together. It was his first as well. I finally got to meet Steve Gallacci whose "Albedo" contributed greatly to my furriness back in the 80's. In very stereotypical fashion the person I had wanted to meet for so very long turned out to be a complete and total dick.
I also had my first appearance on national television! Yes, I had 5 seconds of fame in the Jimmy Kimmel video.
I came to the con barely knowing 1 person, but left with some lifelong friendships. It was the first place I ever met hoofdahorse, scruff_e_coyote, and lonefoxx. I had moments of great joy as well as a few emo moments. It set the stage for Dex and myself to meet up again at AC later in the year. Of course it also set the stage for Al and Dex to get together frequently, and the rest is history! (Wait! Didn't I say that already?!?) Al later introduced me to Kitty in September, and the rest is history!
So going to the con was a big deal for me. As you can see it also led to some life-changing events for many people. I never get tired of telling this story. It's a perfect example of how one small event can lead to some big consequences. You never know when life is going to sneak up on you. So take the chance! Be adventurous! And if you have never been to a con, plan to go at least once to experience the total lunacy that you can find there. I still have the image of a certain fur parading through the lobby wearing nothing but a Speedo, a fox tail, and a Krispy Kreme hat.