So Many Things, So Little to Tell

Dearest Rachel –

It’s already more than halfway into the day, and it feels like I should be sending you a note about how things have been going. After all, I’ve been keeping reasonably busy since waking up; responding to emails from an artist I am hoping to commission (despite being told that his queue is full and he’s not taking requests at this time – I just asked him to keep me in mind, and he promptly asked for details), grabbing breakfast, and hanging out in a two-and-a-half-hour long panel (with most of the guests playing Cards Against Humanity – turns out, I’m not nearly as good at the game when I don’t know how the judges will react to a certain combination. With you, it was easy; here, not so much).

As long as that ‘panel’ was (if you can call it that. Games don’t feel like panels, because you expect to learn something from them. Even the Japan panel last night was an education of sorts, if not the sort you could actually use elsewhere), they actually let out early, as people began to trickle out by the end.

By this point, I have started to have quite enough of the air conditioning system, and make my way outside to sit down in the shade (hey, I’m cold, not stupid) and prepare this (by now overdue, in my mind) letter to you…

And for a moment, the overlook is quiet and peaceful… until I turn around, and find that I’m on the wrong side of a photoshoot gathering. Where did all these people come from all of a sudden?

Nobody actually asks me to move and get out of the way of the shoot, but it’s quite clear that if I stay where I am, I’m going to be in the middle of a lot of pictures where I don’t belong. It’s time to clear off, and find somewhere else to be.

In a way, it’s a metaphor for my time here; I’m having fun, yes, and even getting things accomplished that I planned on, but I think I’ve been here long enough.

In short, I’m thinking I may just try to cancel that last night after all; I may not be all that keen on driving back in the evening, necessarily, but I don’t really see a reason to stick around for another day after everyone else has long since pulled up stakes. Even the closing ceremonies (especially if they’re anything like the opening ones) don’t really call to me to stick around for – and, to be honest, staying for them was mostly a thing that you would insist upon, not me.

That still applies to the overall trip out here as well. AI really does have a friendly, nice-to-meet-you-let’s-chat vibe about it, but without you (or any of the others we used to meet), it doesn’t feel like it’s worth the trip anymore. So, yeah… I haven’t been persuaded to keep coming, sorry. I honestly thought I might just be able to convince myself otherwise, but it just doesn’t seem likely to happen.

Since there isn’t anywhere else with a seat in the shade, I decide to head back inside, and check out the recharge room again. There I meet a couple of girls who are here together – although I should point out that one is happily married (although her husband isn’t with her, as he’s tending to the pets back at home) and the other has just come to terms with being single (literally – I joined the conversation as she was telling her friend that she’d just gotten rid of Tinder from her phone) because all the men she’s dated have either cheated on or simply ghosted her.

It’s not mine to say, but I wonder if there’s more to the story than she’s willing to admit to on that front. In any event, don’t think of nudging me in her direction – she owns cats.

But regardless, it’s a pleasant, wide-ranging and friendly conversation. It’s that sort of liberating discussion you can have between men and women when it’s obvious to both sides that there isn’t going to be – and doesn’t need to be – anything more to it than that. As a result, I still don’t find the time to fill you in on what’s going on, despite the fact that there’s that much more that’s happened – although I do wind up missing a game show panel I’d considered attending. Sometimes, conversation is more important.

Eventually (since the recharge room is for staffers as much as sponsors) we are joined by a member of the convention’s executive board, asking if we’re enjoying ourselves, and if we had any suggestions to make things better in future. This would have been your moment to shine, if you were still here, and maybe you would have taken a liking to single girl Holly, as she has a number of suggestions, particularly having to do with keeping congoers informed of what’s going on as well as an advertising platform via a custom app and on TikTok (since ‘that’s the social media platform all the kids are using these days’). He agrees, but asks her to submit these ideas to the Feedback Forum on the AI website, to which she counters with the fact that she’ll forget before she ever gets to that point.

Sometimes, there just isn’t room for improvement – even if it’s only head space.

It’s at this point I get a text from another artist, and I take my leave in order to collect yet another commission…

Another chibi portrait, but a little less of a caricature, and more of a character. She even got the purple hair right.

…and to make my way back to the hotel to chill out (after heating up) and find some time to actually keep you up to speed. I also find it more difficult to cancel Sunday night’s stay than I’d hoped – or at least, I’m not sure if I’ll get my money back. Well, it’s probably worth it just to be back in my own bed; it isn’t as if this one is any less empty for being here at the convention.

Anyway, I’ll talk to you again soon, so keep an eye out for me, honey.

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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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