I Am Back

by wjw on February 20, 2015

. . . but it took a lot longer than I expected.

There were delays flying to Boston on Thursday— I won’t detail them all, but there were lots— and my bag didn’t make it, and when I got to the hotel early in the evening my room wasn’t ready, and I really wanted a shower.  They did give me a free dinner, so I ordered a couple glasses of the most expensive wine on the menu, which felt justified to me.  Eventually whoever was squatting in my room (a hostess with Emirates Air, I believe) was crowbar’d out, and I finally got my shower around ten o’clock.

My bag finally showed up about twelve hours later, and the delivery got me out of bed.  I lunged for my travel bag so I could brush my teeth, which I needed far worse than I’d needed the previous evening’s shower.  Sane people have since pointed out to me that I should have asked the hotel if they had a travel bag for this sort of emergency, but somehow I didn’t think of it.  (Maybe it was all that really good wine.)

After that the convention was fine.  I had lunch with Marjorie Liu and Junot Diaz, who told me how the house they’re trying to buy became available— it involved bad heroin and thugs with guns— and then the convention proper began.  I was heavily programmed (it’s nice to be wanted), but I had enough free time to talk to Steve Brust, Jo Walton, Charles Stross, Carrie Vaughn, Alex Jablokov, Jim Cambias, Ada Palmer, Beth Meacham, and many others who now escape my travel-logged brain.  I also saw Toolbox grads Fran Wilde and Laurence Schoen, both of whom have novels upcoming from Tor.

It began snowing mid-Saturday, and when my agent Joshua Bilmes took me out to dinner, we had to trudge a few blocks through the falling snow.  It was very cold, but there wasn’t a wind, so all was relatively benign, and the seafood very tasty.

Next day, though, quite a few people didn’t show up— they’d either run for it the night before, or couldn’t get out of their houses to attend the con.  I was the only panelist for the Romantics and the Birth of SF panel, but new writer Thomas Sweterlitsch volunteered to come out of the audience and ask all the questions, which provided enough structure for a lot to get said without it being All About Me.  (Not that I would have minded that, necessarily.)

The snow had stopped falling by mid-afteroon on Sunday but that didn’t stop Southwest from canceling my flight out Monday morning.  Not only that, but all flights prior to Thursday were canceled or otherwise unavailable, so I spent a lot of time complaining about this and trying other bookings.   There were no flights out before Tuesday, and the flights that existed would cost a lot of money, and since there was another storm scheduled for Tuesday I had no confidence that any Tuesday flights would actually get off the ground.

It was clear I’d have to find another airport.  Manchester, Providence, and Hartford had the same problems as Boston, so I booked Amtrak to New York on Monday, and then a surprisingly cheap flight from La Guardia to New Mexico for Tuesday afternoon.

All Amtrak was late, and my own train was canceled and the passengers bundled into another train that was five hours late and standing-room only, though by virtue of my speed and brawn I actually found a seat.  I would have felt more guilty about this, but I’d already been standing for five hours, so I was only sorry that Amtrak didn’t offer me dinner and free wine.

John Douglas and Ginjer Buchanan had very kindly offered me their spare room, but they might have reconsidered if they’d known that I wouldn’t show up till two in the morning.  So I slept late, at the lovely breakfast that Ginjer made, and chatted for a couple hours before it was time for my car to leave for La Guardia.

Whence all was chaos.  I had to rebook on an earlier flight, because my scheduled flight was delayed and might not have made it on time for my connection, except that when I got to DFW, my 9:15 flight out had become the 10:15 flight out, and then the 11:15 flight, the 12:15 flight, and the 1:15 flight.  And then it was the 11:00 flight, which actually got off the ground maybe at 11:45, which meant I landed shortly after midnight MST, and got home by 1am, feeling like flotsam washed up on the ashen sands of Time.

But this time, with my bag.

TRX February 20, 2015 at 2:44 pm

> bag

Next time you meet up with Charles Stross, have him show you his “Doc Savage” traveling vest. I imagine it has caused consternation to various customs and passport control authorities…

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