Kage Baker liked to get to a Con a day before she was actually due, It minimized the frantic race to get your passes and schedule, find your room, discover what indispensable item you had forgotten 8 hours and 300 miles back. You could eat dinner and usually look forward to breakfast as well.
I think it’s a great system – the more so because I have an utter horror of being late. Kage sailed through appointments with a queenly disregard for the strictures of mere mortal time; maybe it was the Operative viewpoint. She never deliberately arrived late and she hated inconveniencing people – but she moved in her own time, and whenever she got where she was going was, obviously, the right time to be there …
My job was to warp Time and Space so Kage’s internal schedule meshed with the world’s. She had some unique escapement in her clockwork that could be gently tricked with the proper techniques – like setting clocks ahead. And lying. It all worked somehow.
But getting to Cons a day early was always a good idea. It usually works out that you arrive in early evening anyway, so it’s really just a case of being settled in place before all the running around begins. One hears stories … of people whose reservations were handed off to someone else, people who slept in the Convention Center halls for lack of housing, people who raced off to a first panel without checking in and thus lost their rooms and ended up living in the Green Room for 4 days. Kage and I had our reservation vanish into the aether at a Boston WorldCon, and only got a bed for the first night because Linn-the-agent called the hotel and frightened them into taking us in … somehow, though, they were also convinced that one of us was handicapped, and so we had a room scaled to someone in a wheeklchair – the security peephole was at waist level in the door, the bathroom was a jungle gym of bars, pipes, levers, handles. It was odd, and really raised our awareness of how non-handicapped people do not grasp the simple necessities of life for the handicapped.
But at least we didn’t have to sleep under a hot dog cart in a hallway. We knew someone who did. The steam cart kept them warm.
Anyway, Michael and I drove up I-5 this afternoon after his classes ended – college not taking a back seat to Cons in my book – and had a wonderful drive. The clouds were amazing, drifting and re-arranging themselves constantly; we even got rained on here and there. The west was filled with whipped cream. Hawks and ravens sported everywhere, hovering on thermals and pretending their grandfathers were hummingbirds. Cows had calves at their sides, sheep had lambs. We saw classic cars – Memorial Day Weekend is when the Fae start driving up and down the Californnia highways, you know. We saw a fire truck being carried home dead on an enormous flatbed. We saw a van emblazoned with a very unusual company name: Quake Finders. It had a huge ladder on its roof; made us wonder if they maybe went down into faults in their searches? Are sand worms the answer?
All in all, it was a vastly entertaining drive. The cross-over on Highway 152, through the Pacheco Pass, was especially beautiful – golden hills, oak savannah and waves of oats glittering in the wind.
And now we’re ensconsed in a comfy hotel room with a view of those same golden hills, east of Santa Clara. We also have a nice view of the Convention Center and the Great America theme park there. If there is a roller coaster disaster, we’ll have a front row seat.
Things should get more exciting tomorrow. Alien anatomy! First Contact! The 501st Legiion vs. Space Amazons!
Who knows? It could happen.