Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Road Was Already Paved

I entered WorldCon expecting to give the same explanation over and over and defending my decision to forgo handshakes until I went hoarse. That didn't happen. I did have to point the sign out to a few gentlemen who chose not to read my sign because they didn't want to offend me by staring at my chest. Really the only hard part about all of this was when a friend asked "how long until your hands recover?" When I told him "This is osteoarthritis. There is no recovery." from the look on his face you'd have thought that I'd told him that I had six months to live. (To be honest it does feel like that at times. Especially when I think about how quickly my hands are deteriorating.) But other than that it was a relieving, informative, and wonderfully supportive experience!

I felt like such a dolt! Here I was expecting to be this intrepid trailblazer and instead the road was silently paved by many others that for one reason or another made the same decision as I. One man told me that he doesn't do it in order to avoid catching Concrud. Another person told me that they were well accustomed to the policy because a friend of theirs has an aversion to touch.

It never occurred to me that there would be so many other reasons for a no handshake policy and I'm so grateful to them. It takes a surprising amount of courage to say "Sorry, I don't shake hands." We're socially programmed to greet people with a handshake and not participating in that formality sometimes makes the conversation stumble. I'm enough of an extrovert that I can get the conversation going again but not everyone has that advantage. I really feel sorry for introverts that have to go through this.

One of the bright sides to all of this was that a friend helped me figure out a small (future) problem. Eventually my condition will reach a point where I won't be able to type my manuscripts anymore. I'll have to dictate. Dragon software is great but from what I've heard it works better if you compose in long stretches. I tend to work in short bursts so that's not feasible at this point in time. If they have a new version that can do short bursts, great. If not then my only option will be to do a voice recording and have it transcribed like Kevin J. Anderson does. Unfortunately holding a device to do that is something that I can't comfortably do now (tablets = ouch!) so I definitely won't be able to _____ years down the road. My friend reminded me of that a bluetooth headset would take care of that. I love technology.

By the way, scientists need to make this a reality. I would be first in line for the upgrade! I could finally write at Sanderson speed!

Another plus is that one of my local friends mentioned my homemade badge to the folks at the pronoun ribbon table and they thought it was a great idea! So if you see ribbons that say "no handshakes please" at a future convention, you know where the idea came from. I do hope these become available. It would be so helpful!

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