Clique, clique, clique

This weekend was the Great Train Expo for Central Ohio. Little Man went to the expo twice this weekend. He do loves hims somes trains. For his first foray into the world of train enthusiasts this winter, he attended the show on Saturday with his Mimma. The weather was really nice that day and the expo was attended really heavily. He made it home with some new trains: Lionel Santa Fe War Bonnets to be exact… to go with his other 2 Sante Fe War Bonnet engines he already had. He has a thing for Santa Fe’s. Honestly, it is surprising that he left there with so little. So, Sunday Wifey, Little Man, and I made it through the nasty weather to attend the show for Little Man’s second day in a row. He then got another Santa Fe. The blue this time.

The expo is set up as train “lay-outs” on the left and vendors on the right. Never shall the 2 mix. It turns out that there are quite a few subsets of train enthusiasts. The first group is kids. Theys loves thems somes trains. This group is easily identified due to their lack of age. Little Man falls into this category. The second group is of the collectors/vendors. These are the folk the ones trying to hock their wares. They are the business people who are out there trying to make a buck. The third group is the collector/antiquarian group. Some of these folks have vendor booths set up, but they don’t really want to sell there stuff to people, they want people to recognize their wares’ rarity. These are the people who don’t want to take the toy out of the packaging and play with it because then it will be worth less. The fourth group is made up of the guys who really wish they were train engineers, but due to their inability to climb ladders or stairs, their questionable grooming habits, and lacking social acumen are forced to build their own little dream worlds in their garage/basement/attic whatever. The fifth group are the railfanners. That group are adults who do not play with scale model trains. These people stalk real trains and videotape them for later viewing when they are not watching actual trains. There were not many railfanners at the expo because they were out watching trains.

It turns out that the train enthusiast community is a bit of a closed community. None of the four groups want to mingle together. Well…. That is not quite the case. The vendors really want the kids around. Annnnnd some of the unwashed wannabee engineers REALLY wanted the kids around, but I am not going to get into the creepy vibes I was getting from some of them. That is a topic for a different post… maybe. The collectors did not want the kids around, because they might devalue one of their prized possessions. The collectors don’t get along with the wannabees because the wannabees want to play with the collectors items like they are some mere toys. Okay, the vendors liked everyone now that I think about it, but that is beside the point, the point is that this hobby is one of cliques and divisions.

The divisions even ran between scale models as well. The N-scalers thought the HO people with idiots and too old fashions, while the S-Gaugers looked down on the Z, N, and HO people because their trains were too small and did not have enough detail. The divisions were deeper than that though. The Central Ohio Railroad Enthusiasts did not talk to the Railroad Enthusiasts of Central Ohio, the Model Railway Club of Central Ohio didn’t mingle with either Railroad Enthusiast groups, and everyone equally shunned the Dayton Area Model Railway Club. There were cliques within cliques within cliques. I haven’t even started talking about the fights between the different factions of controller technology. The vehemence and derision displayed by these varying groups rivaled the ill feelings between Newtonian Calculus Supporters and Liebnezian Calculus Supporters in the 1700’s. Talk about 2 groups you didn’t want to have tea with.

Anyway… The show was a success with Little Man but I was appalled by the lack of interaction within the different sects of that community. I hope Little Man does not necessarily want to cultivate this hobby full-time. I don’t think I could handle the cliquishness.

To recap:
Overall it was a good weekend
I am a bit harsh on the wannabees, but they weren’t willing to interact with anyone who was not in their club
Sweet Mulberry Bushes! Guys you have kids between the ages of 2.5 to 10 who are enrapt with your train displays…
Interact with them
Talk to them about your hobby
Oh yeah, stop leering at my wife!
The Lego train layout was incredible, and the guys running it were very personable
They did not belong there