Checking In and Checking Out

Dearest Rachel –

It’s about 8 o’clock when I get here. The road leading up to the hotel is much more built-up; several new restaurants – and an arena, of all things! – line the area.

It seems, too, that my idea of being here on Thursday isn’t unique to me. The parking lot – at least the first floor of it – is almost completely full. After a couple of false starts, I do find a place, though. I find myself commiserating with a group getting out of another car right behind me. Apparently, they are just as aghast at the crowded lot as I am. Well, you remember all the chance at the end: “Four day con! Four day con!” It seems that everybody is about to get their wish.

You’d love the room that we got – I got. It’s always all the way at the end, right next to the stairwell to the swimming pool (and the outdoors, but that wouldn’t be important to you). It takes me three trips to bring everything in from the car, but at least – between the parking and the room placement – they’re short trips.

With nothing else to do tonight, I want to back downstairs, and find myself checking out the volunteer booth. Yes, for once I’m thinking of volunteering. Well, what else do I have to do this weekend, since I’ve got no reason to stay in the room, and not that many friends to see? The thing is, apparently I need to have a badge in order to volunteer, and registration is farther in. So I head that way, following another group who seems to be in need of registration.

They walk all the way to the dealers room, where they check in as… dealers, what a surprise! This is not the registration for me. In fact, there is no registration for mere attendees just yet.

At this point, I just kind of give up and head back to the volunteers’ booth to explain the situation, only to find that it to is closed up. Even going upstairs to the bridge offers a little in the way of answers, as the ‘con mom’ staffing the bridge explains that things are pretty much done for the day, and at any rate, registration won’t start up until nine in the morning tomorrow. So I guess the volunteers don’t want me just yet.

Although I do have to take a picture of this picture that I see at the bridge. Not sure if there’s supposed to be a note of nostalgia to the characters, or one of ‘well, here we are again.’

However, since there are people wandering around, I figure I need to find them and hang out with them. Again, what else is there for me to do? Just hang out in my room? I could do that at home, and make sure the Chompers was tended to.

Although, I should not put it that way; it makes it sound like I don’t have any faith in Ellen, and I do. Heck, she’s offered to continue to look at the wheelchair and see what she can do to fix it properly, which is more than I could ever do. I just worry too much, I guess.

There’s actually quite the crowd out back by the Riverwalk. Some music, and a fair amount of bottles. I don’t think I need to explain. Did you ever used to hang out with these kind of groups of those nights when you were out and about? I kind of doubt it, but it seems like this is where everybody is tonight.

It turns out, I need a little bit more night in order to do the crowd some justice.

One particularly boisterous drunk seems to have given me a nickname: I am officially “Old School,” evidently. Well, the dude’s not wrong. I’m certainly not of the proper build pass for a ‘white haired pretty boy,’ much as I might like to.

He could at least use the proper Japanese term, ‘natsukashii,’ though.

I actually try and strike up conversations, although it feels very much like I’m in a “how do you do, fellow kids” kind of situation. I’m pretty much over my head. Which means I feel like I’m just like I used to in high school, so maybe I’m not that far removed from being the kid I was. At least here, we all share that interest in anime, so we are all part of Otaku Nation, and therefore all siblings after a fashion.

Or, in certain cases, after an Old-Fashioned.

Although I think that’s giving the guy at the table messing with the bottles a little too much credit. That, or he doesn’t have the proper ingredients. Then again, what would I know about what the proper ingredients for an Old-Fashioned are?

I tried to head back to my room to get myself situated, but since my window overlooks the Riverwalk, I can still hear all the sounds of revelry, and that’s a bit too much temptation. I do what I can to catch you up on the events up until now, and head back downstairs.

I do wish I could introduce you to Alex and Erin and Micha; Dakota, Kyle, Nathaniel, and Alex (another one, this one’s a guy). I won’t go so far as to say I’m making friends, but at least I know some people now. I’m guessing this is how you did it…?

Not sure what you’d make of Ryuu, though – you know, the boisterous drunk? From what I can understand, tomorrow is his birthday, and he’s doing his level best at pregaming. At least he’s a cheerful drunk, if a little bit overly huggy.

I finally reach my limit when this one girl – who has been twerking all over the place, and as such, has been quite the distraction – falls to the ground, and start scrabbling at the bricks. At first I think she’s had a few too many, but eventually the story comes out that she’s dropped a ring. Half the crowd starts looking for it with her – although I don’t see what they intend to gain from that, as it’s a ring, after all. It actually doesn’t take too long before another girl(!) spots it and brings it to her, so, problem solved.

And with that I do believe I’ve seen enough. And to think, the convention hasn’t even started yet. Wait till it gets rolling.

I’ll do what I can to keep you posted. Take care, honey. Love you.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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