December 6, 2009
Hating My Hobby
This is a vent… Actually, this is more like a rant. Sometimes, I write my demons out because it is the only way I can stay sane.
For a couple of months, I have actively disliked one of my most favorite hobbies: LARPing. For nine months, I've helped run the local oWoD vampire LARP. For nine months, I have seen some of the worst, most hypocritical, disrespectful, greedy, selfish sides of some friends and acquaintances.
Not all our players are bad but so many have shown their worst faces to the staff that, sometimes, I wonder why I hang out with some of these people at all. The worst have been former staff members who should know better because they went through this, and yet, they are just as angry, demeaning and demanding as those players they used to complain about being so awful to them when they were on staff.
Being a paper table worker means you are a sitting duck. Every player knows where you are and has no compunction against using you as their verbal punching bag. Since week one, I have been told, on a weekly basis that I'm "wrong", that the rules (that I didn't make up) are stupid, that they can't believe that we're (stupid enough to) following these rules, "you" are ruining "my" game and/or "this (and you) sucks." Every single week—without fail. This sort of thing gets old quick.
On a regular basis, I have had people come up and teasingly abuse me or the other paper table worker with a demand that we do something for them or demand something cool for their character. They act like they are serious and then relent. Once, this would have been amusing. But when it happens every week 3-5 times a week over many months, it is not funny. Period. I've stopped being a polite punching bag and I've started calling people on their shit. I should have started months ago. Of course, now I'm the bitchy one. I won't allow people to "joke" with me or Brad.
Fuck you. A joke is not a fun thing when you are the constant butt of that joke. A joke is not a joke when, underneath it all, the joker is actually serious and is covering up their selfish wants with false laughter, cheesy grins and playful winks. It is not appreciated. It is not wanted. It is worse when it happens every week from the same people.
Last night, two things happened that surprised me and made me smile. Made me remember why I agreed to be on staff in the first place. A player came up and gave me chocolate. Just because. No particular reason. He just wanted to. He didn't ask for a single thing in return. It was a small bit of kindness startling in its rarity and appreciated for being so unexpected. The second thing was the opportunity to run an embrace scene for a player. It was awesome-intense and everyone was in the moment. The player thanked me several times for making such a pivotal moment in his character's life so excellent. There was a warm fuzzy glow that reminded me why I was on staff. Why I loved to LARP. Why telling stories is what I like to do when I'm not being paid to write them.
By the end of January, I will no longer be on staff. I have had former staff members sincerely tell me, "You will stop hating them after a couple of months. I promise." I hope it is true. I am bitter and jaded and assume the worst of people now. I've averaged 20 hours a week for this LARP (emails, meetings, influences, paperwork, game nights, events) for nine months to mostly be told that I am purposely, willfully destroying "their" game. For those with that sentiment, again, fuck you.
I look forward to enjoying my favorite hobby again. I look forward to spending time with my husband talking about the game and not getting depressed. I want to enjoy my fantasy life and not just breathe a sigh of relief when a problem player has decided to wait until the end of this staff's term to come back. Thank god. Good riddance to bad rubbish and don't let the door hit you on the ass as you leave. I look forward to smiling at people and meaning it. Instead of the false cheerfulness I paint on because I have their latest inflammatory email running through my head but I need to 'keep my suit' on.
There are some people who have been absolute dreams. A couple of PAs who listened to my mini-vents and put a sane spin on things. There are players who have been nothing but supportive, helpful and nice. There have been some really good scenes and I've appreciated it. Honestly, though, I think the best thing to come out of has been working with the staff. I have grown to appreciate them whether or not I agree with them. I've enjoyed the camaraderie. It's kept me going.
Be that as it may, I'm still counting the days until I'm free and I can leave for a couple of months and stop hating the game I once loved.
One last thing… if you think this rant is about you, consider how you've interacted with the staff over the past few months. Yeah, you're right. It probably is about you.