And then it was Thursday.
It’s been… Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday — four days since I walked out of the convention center, for the first time all weekend, into the outside world. When I’d entered, it was cloudy and threatening a downpour. When I walked out the door, I walked into a breezy, sunny afternoon.
And then suddenly it was Thursday.
Sitting here those four days later, I’m unpacking, reminiscing, looking at the fliers and booklets and things that came home with me. Realizing that I made a huge mistake trying to fit the whole weekend’s adventure into a single post, as all sorts of bits and pieces — briefly lost and forgotten in the sleepy haze of a Tuesday-that-felt-like-Monday — light up in the various compartments of my memory.
I’m looking over the con schedule, trying to trace my path through the madness. I was at this panel; I know I remember that. Then I think we went to this one, or was it this one? We talked about both but I forget what we decided. Either way, the next thing I remember is going to this thing, but… what happened to the three hours in between?
I guess we ought to start at the beginning…
We walked into the hotel room and that’s the view that greeted us. Twenty floors up. It might be higher off the ground than I’ve ever been. (Mountain-climbing doesn’t count because mountains are the ground.) “Have I told you that I’m also afraid of heights?”
Wait. I suppose that’s not the beginning either.
I parked my car at an almost-stranger’s house in Reading on Friday morning, and we boarded a train into Boston at 9:10. Or thereabouts. “Is it a bad time to tell you I have a phobia of trains?” I said, partly for the amusement of the horrified expression it got out of him. But really — I am afraid of trains.
A click click click of the ticket-puncher thing and a lot of clack clack clacks later and my almost-friend and I were in Boston. North Station. Another world, really. Kids and businessmen sitting on benches like this was their living room. Doors and passages and tunnels and staircases heading off in every conceivable direction. Newspaper stands!
I remember scrambling around the subways of Boston like the lost little children of the suburbs that we were. I remember the yellow light and ’70s wood paneling of the subway car set against the eerie darkness of the tunnels outside. And I remember arriving at the hotel, the confusion over the rooms, the slow trickle of familiar faces arriving. Then…
Then… the bits and pieces, as if the start of the con marks the point at which my feeble human brain stops being sufficient to keep the details straight.
I remember the grotesque, chest-cavity-rattling bass of the music at the opening ceremonies. Ear-piercing cheers. Excessively polite Japanese men speaking Engrish.
I remember getting separated from the group and thinking, “I’ll just call them and we’ll get back together in no time.” Except I also remember my phone suddenly revealing itself to be lost — and remaining lost for the rest of the convention.
I remember an old married couple asking to have their picture taken with a group of half-naked girls.
I remember the find-the-bathroom quests, and eating one meal a day, and waking up way earlier than my body thinks is possible.
I remember us packed like sardines into the elevator, listening to the unsettling creaks above our heads. I remember waiting forty minutes for an elevator we could all fit into, and then being shoved into one alone with something along the lines of a “Go on without us!” — and then waiting another fifteen, wondering if my friends would be trapped in the upper floors of the hotel until Judgment Day.
I remember being “dragged” this way and that for three days straight, and then thanking you for it. I remember you covering your eyes when that guy got his finger torn off. I remember sitting in the dark while we watched your favorite anime, and you laughing at me when I looked at you with a dumbfounded look on my face.
I remember you sleeping in the closet. I remember you holding up the whole shindig with all those people asking for your picture. I remember you being pretty cool but never learning your name until we hugged goodbye.
And all those things — those memories will forever add up to something wonderful. Somehow.
So here I am, one two three four days out, feeling… Well, sort of at a loss. I had so much fun that I don’t really know what to do with myself now. I got so accustomed to being with that group of people that I feel alone without them.
I’m unpacking, reminiscing, looking at the fliers and booklets and things that came home with me… and I notice there was a panel on the last day that I hadn’t even noticed:
“Post-Con Depression: Coping Skills and Techniques”
And I can’t decide if it’s tongue-in-cheek or not. If you’d pointed out the name while I was at the con, I would have assumed it was a joke. Now I’m not so sure. Even if the whole thing is a blur, what little I can remember of it makes me think it’s one of the happiest times I’ve had in a long time. The real world — the world after AB? — somehow feels a little dull by comparison, and I haven’t quite figured out what my “coping skills and techniques” are yet.
I’ll let you know if I figure them out.