If there was ever a song Sherlockians associate with this time of year, it might be the one that starts, "We never mention Aunt Clara . . ." Or there was this strange Reindeer Song I heard about once. But for me, mid-January is always the time I hear Randy Newman reprising in my head:
"Hate New York City, it's cold and it's damp. And all the people dress like monkeys . . ."
I sometimes begin these blogs with a disclaimer, attempting, usually in vain, to warn off fans of a certain CBS program. They aren't my target audience, and my thoughts are usually more entertaining for those of a different bent. This time, I'd like to point out that I'm writing for those people who aren't within a hundred miles of Times Square this week. Especially those who chose not to be there.
Because it's okay not to go to the Sherlock Holmes birthday weekend. Really. It is.
But you get to see so many people, and it's so much fun, and you can buy a ton of books, and . . . yes, yes, I know, people-who-go-to-the-birthday-weekend. I've been, several times. Wander back to getting dressed for whatever function you're going to next and let me talk to the non-attendees.
Folks who habituate the Holmes birthday weekend in NYC can be a little bit like young evangelicals. They're bright-eyed, thrilled about the thing, and won't take "no" for an answer. There simply is no reason not to head east in the dead of winter to find Sherlock, in their eyes. If you get the chance to talk to them for five minutes, anywhere else in the country, any other time of year, somewhere in that five minutes will come the words "Are you coming/going to New York this year?"
The "coming/going" difference is key, but it tells you if they're from the NYC area or one of those hardy souls who makes January in the city one of their annual vacations, just as some families annually hit a particular Gulf Coast beach. Both are perfectly acceptable conditions, living in New York or being a routine vacationer, if you're that sort of person.
Some of us, being of more limited vacation time and/or funds, have to make travel choices every year. A hundred Sherlockian friends in NYC or that one close comrade in Phoenix? Your fan clan at the birthday or blood kin in the mountains? The Great White Way and Holmesians you've never met or the glittering Vegas strip and really good-looking strangers you've never met, most of whom aren't bundled up for winter?
Other choices can, and do, get made. And no slight to the weekend people, but that's really okay. You can still be a first class Sherlockian and never make it to NYC. You always could, but once upon a time, New York in January was the place where you could interact with the most Sherlockians at one time. Now we have this internet thing.
Yes, yes, face to face contact is always a step up. (What are you still doing here, weekend people? Flag the waiter down for another drink. Do a "where's Waldo" and find Don Hobbs.) But the map has changed . . . significantly. You can now find six hundred Sherlock Holmes fans gathered in Atlanta in springtime, and that sort of thing never existed before. That's also a choice for spending your budget of vacation time/cash.
Even Sherlock Holmes only goes to New York City when he looks like Roger Moore or is at a very beaten point in his life and needs watching. Life has offers us many roads, even in a specialized hobby such as ours. So enjoy your week, folks who are elsewhere. It's okay not to go to the Big Granny Smith this weekend. Be at peace with your choices.
Sherlockian 2014 has only begun.