I have learned that the Universe is always full of surprises and to be open to whatever comes my way. I’ve been blessed with some great experiences. But when I traveled to Atlanta for the American String Teachers Association national conference, I wasn’t expecting my hotel to be full of furries.
Seriously, furries. Yes, THOSE KIND of furries. No, I didn’t join in the furry festivities. But since my only experience with furries was that infamous episode of CSI, I did get a kick out of seeing them up close, including hearing some late night meowing from the room next to mine…
The First Whiff
My conference was at the Marriott Marquis, but being a bargain hunter, I Hotwired and found a room for 1/3 of the price at the Hilton just a block over. Sweet, right? I checked in at around 9 pm on Thursday and didn’t notice anything terribly out of the ordinary.
I got in the elevator to go up to my room and noticed some people with name badges with anime-style animals on them. At first, I thought, “Okay, must be some sort of anime convention or something.” It wasn’t until the next day when I saw the sign in the main lobby that said Furry Weekend Atlanta that I realized exactly what was going on.
Furries are Geeks, Too!
Once I realized it was a furrycon, I thought, “Hmmm, furries are geeks too. Maybe some of them need online dating help!” I twittered an offer of 15% off any GDG services to any furry folk that found me. (After all, I was wearing a nametag all weekend and twittering my whereabouts!)
The thought of being tracked down by guys in wolf suits was a little intimidating, but amusing nonetheless. I spent 7 years in Orlando, people in animal suits don’t bother me!
One of my Twitter followers pointed out that furries are the lowest on the geek hierarchy. But that’s okay: geeks are geeks. Love is love. I don’t really care what other people do as long as it doesn’t hurt other people. You wanna put on a fur suit and yiff the night away? More power to ya.
No matter how open-minded you are, it is still somewhat jarring to see the local food court filled with people with wolf tails, studded leather collars, and bunny ears. But once you get accustomed to it, it’s fun to watch the reactions of the unsuspecting food court patrons.
My favorite moment happened on Saturday night. I was waiting for an elevator with a non-furry couple in their late 30s. Being 19 floors up means waiting a long-ass time for the elevator.
Ding! Elevator arrives. Doors open – it’s packed full of furries. We pass.
Ding! Another elevator arrives. Doors open – it’s packed full of furries. We pass.
The lady turns to me and says, “What is this, a mascot convention? I wonder if the Clemson guy is here….”
I did not have the heart to break her bubble of ignorance.
Ding! Another elevator arrives. Doors open, a wolf jumps at us and barks menacingly. We pass and take the stairs.
Any Furries in the House?
My offer of 15% off still stands for anybody who can email me a picture of their FWA badge.