Being my fourth year at the San Diego Comic-Con, I have learned that, for good or ill, the airport and airline experience is an inverse bellweather for how the entire experience will go. So I should have known that we were fucked.
For the first time in four years, we were able to finish the packing experience quickly and efficiently enough that we weren’t half-running to catch the train to Logan Airport. In the interest of tradition, we still stopped at the greasy roast beef place and picked up the same truly murderous roast beef sandwiches to eat standing up at the train station that we did when we were late and panicked. Which proves that traveling to Comic-Con is a uniquely American experience: voluntarily choosing gluttony for the purposes of nostalgia doesn’t happen in say, Norway.
We sailed through an refreshingly easy and polite airport security system; I don’t know if it’s because after eight years of high panic alert the TSA drones have finally calmed down to avoid stroke, or because President Obama finally coughed up the green to get these poor wanna-bes some “real” badges instead of the iron-on atrocities that even children would look down on as a choice to play Cops and Robbers, but no one batted an eye at my lighters, matches and hip flask. They didn’t even make me turn on my Eee PC, which is small and lightweight enough compared to the standard laptop that to the untrained eye it looks like some form of spy device, or perhaps a Fisher-Price My First Laptop.
Despite a torrential shitstorm that the radio had promised would cause flash floods, washouts and finally some clean winos, the flight left five minutes early and landed ten minutes before schedule. There were no screeching children or bitchy adults around us, although I began whimpering in earnest somewhere over Utah when I simultaneously couldn’t find my Nicorette gum and realized that technically, I was in Utah.
All in all, the airline experience was pristene… and that’s when everything went to hell. After the stabby-subduing cigarette six inches outside the airport door, we grabbed a cab and told him we wanted the hotel branch downtown. After eight hours in the airline system, punchdrunk and exhausted, we didn’t notice that he was taking us somewhere in the direction of, perhaps, the closer suburbs to Los Angeles, or maybe Tijuana or Peru.
After some heated negotiation and threatened litigation, he spun us around, turning our 3 buck, seven minute cab ride into a twenty buck, half hour wreck. Score: San Diego 1, Rob 0.
At check-in, we planned to take the same route as last year: ask for an upgrade to an ocean-facing room on the quiet side of the hotel… only to be told that the hotel was completely booked and sold out for the duration of Comic-Con.
“That’s bullshit,” my girl muttered, “We canceled a reservation for the perfect room just yesterday so we could scam you bastards into the lower rate! You can’t reverse grift us! We’re serious people!”
“Quiet!” I hissed, “You want them to deny the reservation we’ve got? We’ll be sleeping with the fucking winos outside the Office Depot! And believe me, they won’t be clean winos; it never fucking rains here!”
We took the key cards to our city-facing, tiny-bedded room in defeat. And make no mistake: having a view of the downtown cityscape is far from terrible… except for the Goddamned. Fucking. Trains. Trains that blast their horns like Thomas the Tank Engine on a meth / Viagra cocktail at gay rave all night long.
I bitched in print about the trains ad nauseum two years ago, so I won’t repeat it here… but this time, I will attempt to obtain video of these railed abominations and post these videos on the Brand Spanking New American Jerk Video Dump. There’s nothing there yet, but I’ll try to post the odd short video from the con throughout the event, 3G mobile Internet access permitting. And yes, these will be shitty cell phone videos. If you don’t like it, you can spend six hours on a plane and try to sleep through fucking trains and take your own Goddamned videos. Ingrates.
Time to start pulling myself together for the day. Laminate pickup starts at 3, with the main floor not opening until 6, which means that there will be liquor involved. And around 9. I’m scheduled to have two strange women, one of whom already has a history of injuring me very badly, come to my room and ask me questions about Harry Potter.
So in short, I will be drinking, and photos, video and audio of the experience will be available. Here’s hoping San Diego County has wi-fi.