So, this past weekend was the Rochester Erotic Arts Festival. I have attended every one of these because one of the organizers is my friend Rauncie.
The first year I attended I sat down behind the information table and stayed there for most of the festival. I really prefer to enjoy festivals from behind a table. It's a habit I picked up from working festivals for Magi Crafts. And it makes me feel like I "belong". When you are sitting at a table eventually everyone walks by.
After the first year I started actually being assigned a volunteer shift at the info booth. The organizers like how friendly and welcoming I am. A couple of years ago they combined the info booth with the coat check. Since that involves standing and hanging up people's coats I couldn't do it. So they put me at the Erotic Playground Party and Raffle ticket table. I sell tickets and explain things to people. It works for me.
The shifts are usually in 1 or 2 hour blocks but since I'm there all weekend, and I just sit behind the table, I signed up for 5 to 8 on Friday and 1 to 6 on Saturday.
I've gotten used to the Radisson Hotel. It is a nice hotel. The rooms are clean. The beds are big. They have free wifi. They have lots of towels. But for my anxiety just being familiar and knowing what to expect helps.
This year the hotel had rearranged the furniture in the lobby, which was problematic for me. But Rauncie and her new boyfriend came down and helped me. She checked me in and he took my stuff up to my room for me. So I could go right to my volunteer shift.
The Erotic Playground Party had a Pirate theme this year so I wore my pirate hat and my beard.
I really have to make some new shirts I think I have worn the same shirt several years in a row.
I had a nice evening and then went to find my room. Unfortunately I misremembered the number and was looking for room 824 instead of 823. There is no room 824. I've had a problem with missing rooms at the Radisson before. I think have figured out why they do it but it's still confusing when I'm trying to find my room and I'm in pain. Room 823 was very close to the elevators so that was good. I had brought crackers, peanut butter, and jelly with me so that is what I had for dinner. Along with a cup of applesauce for my pills. The Radisson does not have refrigerators or microwaves in the rooms so I knew I had to bring shelf stable food.
In the morning I had the cup of coffee that comes with the little coffee maker in the room. I should try to bring some kind of cup-o-noodle next year since there is hot water. My Saturday work shift was 1-6 but I went down at noon to use the food voucher REAF gave the volunteers. The food vouchers got me two cheese burgers. But they didn't start serving food until 1 so Patrick, another friend of mine from Rochester, was kind enough to get my food for me and bring it to me at the table.
Saturday was the big day at the festival. There were a lot of people and I was busy all day. It helps that I call out to people and greet them and welcome them to the festival. It is an odd coping mechanism I have for my social anxiety. If I have to be around people I talk a lot, loudly, and quickly. I also encouraged people to buy items from the vendors if they didn't want to risk not winning the raffle. The woman who was the "stranded mermaid" for the party dropped by my booth and spoke to me. After I met her I kept telling people that the mermaid for the party had been "ethically harvested". She seemed pretty happy to me.
I saw lots of cool outfits and lots of friendly people. Some of the outfits looked comfortable and well worn. Others looked crisp and striking. There was one couple dressed in shiny black latex who were quite striking. And many people in furry ears and tails. I felt comfortable and safe. Toward the end of the day I had pulled down my beard (it was a bit hot) and a woman came over and told me to keep it off because my face was so pretty, and how I represented what this festival was all about. I think she meant body acceptance by that. There were a lot of BBWs at the festival in sexy outfits. There were also a lot of people of all other kinds of body shapes, sizes, and ages as well. Although I didn't see too much body modification beyond tattoos and the usual piercings.
The festival closed at 6pm and my shift ended. But a lot of people waited til the last minute to come buy their tickets to the party so I stayed until all the guests had cleared out and the staff was getting ready to move the tables for the party.
J had come down for the festival and he was staying in my room. I'm glad he was there because I like him and we got to hang out for a while. But also because I wasn't looking forward to peanut butter and jelly crackers for dinner. J bought us Chinese food delivered to our room. I got to try Plum Bubble tea. It was interesting. I would try it again. It tasted like very dark smoky tea with plums.
People had encouraged me to come to the Erotic Playground party and I had considered it. But sitting in a hard chair for six hours had cause shooting pains in my hips and I chose not to over extend myself. J went though.
The next morning J invited me to breakfast with him at Denny's. I had planned on driving home and eating when I got there. But a hearty breakfast made by someone else, before a long drive, was too good to pass up. We had a nice breakfast and then I came home. Denny's does a good Egg in a Hat.
I think if I had an electric mobility cart I would have been able to go to the party because I would not have done as much walking and I wouldn't have been as tired. When I got home, and today, my right knee has been twanging painfully. And I'm already at the limit of my prescription painkillers. If I take more they will probably kill my liver or my kidneys. I did take prophylactic anti-anxiety meds for the weekend, and I think that helped. I really enjoyed myself aside from the physical pain. I didn't want to run away and hide. So I call that a good weekend.
The REAF organizers really had it all together and the volunteers knew their stuff.