Munday: a do-it-yourself participatory memoir

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Title: Munday: a do-it-yourself participatory memoir
Creator: E. Michael Blake
Date(s): 1981
Medium: print
Fandom: science fiction, conventions
Topic:
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Munday: a do-it-yourself participatory memoir is a 1981 essay by E. Michael Blake.

It was printed in Shadowstar #2.

The topic is science fiction conventions, specifically the Monday after the con, and post-con depression.

From the Essay

Munday, or Mundane Monday — the day after the end of a science fiction convention — actually begins on Sunday, especially if you're at an out-of-town con. Oh, you can still find things to do: putter around here and there, get into some overly cerebral conversations in the hotel checkout line, track down people you might not have seen the rest of the weekend. But it's too late, really, and you know it. The con's critical mass had been reached Saturday night, as is fitting, and now the people wandering around are just spent fuel rods.
You get together with a few people and go out to lunch. You pass the time gossiping unabashedly about pros you've never met and fans you've met too often. The budding fan artist who cleared $23 from the auction doodles a BEM on the placemat, and the waitress gawks at it. You all take a little elitist pleasure in telling her what a con is and what your particular interests are. But there's no exuberance to it, and a hard, cynical edge is present in you. You just know the waitress is going to say that some friend of hers used to be nuts about Star Trek. On Friday, you might pat yourself on the back for such an insight; on Sunday turn ing to Munday, you find it tedious.
Extended checkout still doesn't give you enough time to get in a swim and dry the suits off before you pile in the car For Good. The art show's already cleared out, the hangings are broken dovm, stacked, being hauled into the back of someone's station wagon for return to whichever other convention they'd been borrowed from. Hucksters are dwindling; where there had been white sheets over book boxes, bare tables stare up. The owner of a local specialty book store talks your ear off about all the great stuff he has back in the shop, things he couldn't manage to bring to the con, and just when you get really interested he says he's still wasted from partying last night, and, hell, open up the place later today? Ghawd, probably won't even open tomorrow.

A couple filksingers waiting for their ride sit on the floor in the lobby and get through about three numbers before the cashier comes over and shoos them away.

You head over to the pinball area and find groups of a dozen or so each jammed around Asteroids and Galaxian. The proximity is so close that fannish instinct takes over and a chain backrub starts up. For a few minutes, the magic is recaptured— until someone asks someone else if he can get into her car and move some stuff into the car he's riding home in.

Even the techie-talk is crashing earthward. Two computer jocks who had spent all last night shooting the breeze over Lagrange point course correction vectors are now griping about the insipid baud rate of the microprocessors they have to put up with at work.

You see a good friend from four states away, heading out the main door, and you fake some sort of conversation, something to stall the departure. The two of you hug each other for a long time, just long enough to be not nearly long enough.

One last swing by the freebie table. You pick up one of everything. You have to sieze on the next con, and the half-dozen or so after it, as places on the timeline to moor your tether. The rope stretches to a point six weeks away, and you will travel along it, hand over hand, never looking back...

You want to hang around, squeeze out a few more drops at the dead dog party. But Tony has to work tomorrow, and Jan has a test in the morning, and Bob's folks didn't even want him to come in the first place. They'd really get steamed if he got in late. And you need them all to help drive. It's only 200 miles or so, but you've had maybe seven hours of sleep in the last 60 elapsed. So you're off, with one last wistful look at the masquerade winner as he tries, for the fifth time, to fit his costume into the trunk of his car.

Jan talks about her new dragon ring for a while. The rest of you listen, too politely. Your hand reaches up, as if with a life of its own, to turn on the radio — but you stop yourself. Too soon to surrender.

You wind up in the right-side window seat you usually take on the bus, and, while this is a personal choice on your part, it's a routine enough activity to help you ease into mundanity.

You pull out the Darkover book and start reading — but this, too, is a routine activity. It's as if the book and not the bus is what takes you to work.

At the office, two closet fen pump you for details of the weekend. You tell them everything worth telling, embellishing it here and there — and in the telling, you think more clearly about what you did, and savor one last residue of delight. In the end, however, you just miss it more.

When general office talk isn't on work, it's on sports or soaps or whatever was in People magazine. You grip a pencil till your knuckles whiten; you almost hope they start rehashing who shot J.R., just to see them jump when they hear the pencil snap.

You call Tony. He seems grateful for the call, and you both keep it going quite a while, though you really have nothing much to say that doesn't have to do with the events of this Munday. And neither of you needs to hear that from the other. After the mutual silences pass five seconds' duration, you make some lame excuse which he gratefully chooses to believe. You hang up.

Eventually, after sifting through your upcoming-con flyers, you convince yourself that you still need to catch up on sleep. And so to bed, some eight hours earlier than you would knock off at a con. Another 39 days to go, hand over hand on the rope, not looking down. Fandom, like SF, is not escapist— it's exceedist. Another 39 days— but now, at least Munday is over.

References