I had just finished the last day at the Nashville Comic Con convention. I was on this success high. I was feeling very proud. I mean I had just met so many wonderful people who bought my artwork. My artwork! I was sitting maybe 100 feet from the guy who made the Walking Dead artwork, but people still wanted to buy my stuff. I had done my first TV appearance and even met Michael Rooker. Incredible. Life was great.
I had even just bought a fancy new car to transport all of my art stuff in. So at the end of the convention I packed up all my stuff, paid the parking guy and was rolling up to the stop light as I raised my window. It was hot and I had the air conditioning on. At that exact moment a very scruffy man had apparently been watching me roll up my window as he was walking past.
But he didn’t walk past. He stood there and stared at me. No, stare doesn’t really describe it. More like an intense, menacing focus. Like he was conjuring an ancient curse against me.
I glanced at him but quickly looked away. Why was he doing this? Was I in danger? Who the hell does this guy think he is? Come on you stupid light turn already. Oh shit, what if he comes at me?
Another car rolled up behind me. For some reason that made me feel better. Witnesses ya know. Are they seeing this? The man still stood, staring.
I started to get extremely uncomfortable. I started questioning reality. Is this really happening? Damn it light!
Finally the light turned green and I slammed on the gas and sped away. I looked back in my rearview mirror and saw that guy walk right in front of the car that was behind me.
I was shaken up. I don’t know why, the guy didn’t do anything except stare at me. At the time I was really furious. The nerve of that guy. I came up with back stories about him. I started coming up with scenarios of what I should have done, what I should have said.
Did he think I purposely rolled up my window to keep me safe from him?
The truth is I have no idea what that guy was thinking. He also has no idea what I was thinking. But something it that man’s life was not going right and he was obviously tired of not being seen. And here I am all happy, coming out of the monstrous Music City Center, in my brand freakin’ new car. It’s the only logical explanation I can come up with. Either that or he had some serious issues.
That happened 6 months ago but I can still feel it. It’s funny how life will balance you out. One second you’re taking a selfie with the dude from Walking Dead and the next you’re in a confrontation with a complete stranger.
It made me think a lot about all of the different kinds of people I had seen that weekend. The celebrities with their entourages, the new artists with big dreams, the fans, and then the staring guy. There is a lot of greatness in Nashville. But there are also a lot of people who probably just need someone to really see them, smile at them, and tell them that they also matter.
I'm Jackie, an artist, illustrator, and friend to ghosts, monsters, and aliens. This blog is full of DIY projects, stories, and things I think are cool. Stay weird.