Flying involves a hint of fear. It’s impossible to dismiss the chance of death completely from your mind. Flying into an area currently under a hurricane evacuation with the CNN news crew seated across the aisle from you typically increases that anxiety. I felt none of it. When the flight attendant prepared a package of peanuts, cookies, and miniature bottles of water wearing the Delta logo, I thanked her offhandedly.

I was going to a Con.

Hurricanes? Not a problem.

Closed restaurants and grocery stores? No worries.

Straight lines of traffic crawling along the highway? No big deal.

It’s hard to explain to someone who fits in, but a simple truth to the geeks, freaks, and lovers of the weird. Science Fiction conventions, whether a gathering of forty thousand or just a few hundred, are the only place where everyone gets my jokes, the only place where I’m not the odd man out. They’re my laughing place, and I never miss a chance to visit.

I’ve attended big cons and little ones, long established cons and brand new ones. They all fill me with the same sense of belonging. There’s DragonCon where I go on yearly pilgrimage, losing myself in the crowds of people, just watching them all. Earlier this year was the very first InterventionCon, just a handful of truly devout geeks turning a boring business hotel into something special.

My new favorite Con is MarsCon. Next month, I’m not just attending but I’m also speaking about breaking into the publishing industry on a Friday night panel. As I read over the list of guests I’m honored to be among them. Checking the schedule leaves me with my usual quandaries of which impossible-to-miss has to be missed. Between obsessively checking for updates and gleefully debating what costume to wear, I’m reminded a Con is a gathering of friends I can’t wait to meet.