I am not at DragonCon.
I am not in Atlanta, Georgia.
Yesterday, I did not drive for twelve hours from the Washington, DC area, my car loaded to the rafters with bottled water, laptop, power cords, Stargate and Steampunk costumes, including boots and hats, deodorant, snacks, comfortable shoes, changes of underwear, and pictures for autographs.
Last weekend I was not racing around to finish costumes, to put the last touches on PowerPoints (no, that was TWO weeks ago), to do laundry and cook nourishing meals for my hubby to enjoy while I am geeking out with my friends.
This morning, I did not wake up in my hotel room with only one roommate, in a bed all to myself. Did not take as long a shower as I wanted. Did not hear crickets as I breakfasted in the Hilton’s Executive Level lounge, wondering which stars would be on my floor this year. Sigh. Richard Dean Anderson. (He likes oatmeal in the morning, doesn’t he, Sallye?) Teryl Rothery. Jonathan Rhys Davies. Bruce Boxleitner.
I am not, right now, standing in line at the Sheraton, eagerly awaiting my shiny Con badge and my Programming Guide, chatting with fellow geeks and sci-fi enthusiasts, reading their shirts and chuckling warmly because, yeah, I get that joke – I get ALL the jokes. And I am not wearing my “I Love the Tea-Boy” Torchwood shirt because nobody around here gets that at all.
I am not moving through the line so much quicker than in the first years of Dragon(*)Con when they used printed membership lists split into alphabetically-designed lines of doom and despair that never moved.
Until lunch, I won’t be settled in the lounge with my notebook, my DragonCon App, and my Programming Guide, making up lists of places to go and people to see that completely contradict one another and wondering when I’m going to get a shot at that Time Travel machine I need to see everyone and everything that I want in the next four days. Yes, I know, DragonCon App, I’ve already scheduled something for that time. Get over it.
Later today, I won’t be walking through the hotels to re-orient myself on which Ballroom is where, which floor of the Hyatt has American Sci-Fi Classics, which level of the Marriott houses the Starbucks and the Walk of Fame, and checking in with my favorite Track Director, Jamie Poff, in the Westin at the SGMT Track Room. (same place, different name)
And then, after lunch, I won’t be laughing and crying and welcoming my geeky buddies as they arrive to clutter up my pristine hotel room in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE with their own laptops and power cords, and boots, and fake weapons, and costumes, and bottled water, and snacks, and deodorant. And we won’t compare notes on panels and guests and who we wished was coming, and why wasn’t Michael Shanks on the guest list every year, and how well are our panels going to go over, and how early are we going to be able to get into the line that is not a line for the Big Guest Panels. And talking about our mothers and husbands, our real babies and our fur babies, our jobs and our health (we’re all getting older, aren’t we?) and how much weight we’ve gained or lost or redistributed over the past year.
For dinner, I won’t be joining them at the lovely Mexican restaurant just outside the entrance to the Peachtree Mall, where we always have margaritas and nachos and catch up on life while we watch the serving staff gird their loins for the next four days of craziness. We won’t check in – again – at the Track Room to see if we can help and to chat with the volunteers who take care of all things Stargate from year to year so well. We won’t make sure that our technology is compatible with the hotel’s so that the PowerPoints we’ve labored over for days and weeks will run smoothly and show brilliantly on the screen.
Later, Amy and I, and whoever else is feeling enthusiastic, won’t put on our Steampunk outfits, cinch each other into our corsets, adjust our gears, fasten down our hats, and head over to the Aether Lounge in the Westin Augusta Ballroom for drinks and costume ogling. But we won’t not stay late, because we’re tired, and we have a big panel tomorrow morning.
So I won’t check out DCTV playing all day and night on the hotel television. I won’t set our morning shower schedules. I won’t tip-toe around all our gear by the light of my Kindle during the middle of the night toilet opportunities. I won’t have to wait in line for everything, dodge huge crowds, get stuck on escalators behind the guy with the tail and the woman with the giant axe made of styrofoam, get stepped on, shouted at, jostled, sneezed on, confused, perplexed, spend way too much money, smile at drunks, walk up and down and up and down and up and down that hill many times during each Hotlanta day, wait for hours to be shut out of the panel for my favorites, brave the crush of the new vendor hall where oxygen is at a premium, or stand, sweating as I wait for the elevator every time I have to get back to my room.
I miss it already.
Have a drink, take a pic, oooh and aaaaah at the pretties, and laugh a lot for me, my friends.
I’ll be here, in real life land, working on my book in the air conditioning with my cat.