I have been on staff at my regional anime convention for the past 7 years. My first con(vention) was at the age of 18; this is quite a bit later than most. I thought that I had finally found some crazy weird people that I could connect with! Hallelujah! Praise the gods!
But it wasn't quite the expirence that I had.
Yes, they loved anime just as much as I did. Yes, they were fun and strange, like me. But there was a barricade that stopped me from fully indoctrinating myself.
I didn't fit in because I was different.
I'm not saying that every single person at my con was socially retarded. And I'm not saying that I was more sophisticated and worldly than everyone there. (I am so far from sophisticated it's ridiculous.) But a common thread through many of the people around me seemed to fit certain factors. Being unable to find the right volume of speech. Inappropriate topics in conversation. A kind of awkwardness that I didn't understand. The inability to have an even flowing conversation. Or some were seemingly so nervous that they could barely speak. I would get so confused, frustrated or even angry at some of these kids. I didn't understand why that couldn't just calm down and speak to me!
Then I talked to another staff member. We talked about this exact topic. She said that some were mildly autistic or just extremely awkward, however you wanted to look at it. Others were just young and especially the boys, unable to talk to girl. That there was something about these cult subjects (anime, Star Trek, comics, etc) that attracted that kind of person.
So i didn't find the people of my planet. But I did find a ton of really great, sweet friends. And I do have tons of fun every year. I think of it as part of my life long education.
It reminds me that everyone needs compassion and understanding. Not everyone has the same start in life as I did. Not everyone can be the things society says we must be. I understand that now.
My mother calls it my 'community service'. Helping the nerds out. Nah. I think everyone there teaches me more than anything.
I heart nerds. (And therefore, I heart myself.)