After the tea we went to the last show we were interested in, the holiday show, another puppet performance. I was a bit disappointed that the show was relatively sparsely attended, compared to the size of the room --- it would be jammed full for closing ceremonies --- but all the puppet performances were like that and, you know, throw Vixie, rapidtrabbit, babsbunny and some other folks up and they cast the impression that they don't really need a script, just a pretext. They did cover a fair number of songs and come in satisfyingly close to the designated one hour's length, which first gave time for skylerbunny and gang to find us and to verify our plans for dinner, and second gave us the chance to wonder just how tightly it had been planned. Like, had they performed all the songs they meant to, or had they cut any? It all left me feeling the more strongly that it'd be fun to get a puppet myself and perform, although I note a month and a half after the event I haven't actually taken any steps towards that, so the symptoms probably weren't that big.
The closing ceremonies were held in the same auditorium, only fuller, and featured the usual blend of announcements of statistics nobody would check up on (like attendance figures, amount raised in the art show, amount donated to charity) --- I'm not accusing them of making up these numbers, please understand, just noting that it really doesn't much matter what the numbers are as long as they exist --- and bringing out people to be named and applauded. It also brought the announcement that the con next year would be moving to a completely different hotel, which may have its good side: the new location is adjacent to O'Hare so that there won't be such confusing driving circumstances. And bunny_hugger went to a Doctor Who convention at the hotel years ago and reported it was a great experience. It also has its bad sides: will anyone let the shuttle driver who was having so much fun know where the con's moved? And is there really going to be enough space in the new hotel that they won't need a backup or second backup hotel? And will the new hotel have the boxes of chocolate mints? That's the most worrisome side.
When the closing ceremonies finally closed --- and we watched the clock warily since any time it ran long would be time we'd lose for dinner, or time we'd have to spend driving later on --- bunny_hugger and I dashed off to get the shuttle back to the hotel, and we trusted everyone else to get their tasks done and be ready for dinner. Back at Our Hotel, we swiftly learned that they were out of the chocolate mints. I'd grabbed a few extra boxes, at least.
Packing didn't take any extraordinary effort for me. I tend to never-quite-unpack when I'm staying somewhere temporarily. (For that matter I'd live out of my suitcase for a week or more after flying back home to Singapore, when that was home.) My poor electric toothbrush I tried out and found it didn't want to behave now either, but, at least it was still a manually-functional toothbrush. bunny_hugger had some more packing up to do, but we were fairly confident that we weren't leaving anything behind.
We even had a surprise discovery: a small bottle of water, underneath the fold-out sofa bed which skylerbunny had been sleeping on. Saturday morning we had formed the hypothesis that Skyler had drunk the bottle while deep in the ravages of the California Plague but since it was the middle of the night he didn't remember doing it. Now we had a new hypothesis: bunny_hugger thought she had knocked something over the middle of that night but hadn't been able to find anything around the floor. If she had knocked the water bottle off and it rolled under the sofa-bed, though, that would fit everything being where it was.
So the question was what to do with the water bottle, for example, just take it, or share the story with Skyler about what really happened to it? We had a better idea, which was to hide it underneath Skyler's hat and give him the mystery of the spontaneously disappearing/reappearing water bottle. We first considered leaving it on his pillow, but this wouldn't be amusing enough to us. The only down side to this plan was we wouldn't have the water bottle to talk about during dinner, but, sacrifices must be made.
We were able very swiftly to locate not just our Company but also the Noodles, which had been concealed from the Con Hotel by being down the one highway in the direction of the Overflow Hotel a couple of miles. skylerbunny swore they had gone that way Saturday night, they just couldn't find it. To the best of their understanding they seem to have turned away barely short of the location. bunny_hugger and I hypothesized that we're just better at finding restaurants, which we would consider to be proven by events later in the day.
The noodles place was a good choice for a whole bunch of people to eat: it's fast-food style, so we didn't need to fuss much over the menus and overcoming shocked waiters and the like. Instead we just go up to the counter, pick a species of noodle, pick a species of sauce to customize it (I think I went with something Thai), pick a species of meat or meat substitute (tofu) to fill it out, and take a number so it can be brought to the table. And thanks to the day and hour the place wasn't too crowded, so we didn't have to feel too inhibited about what sort of racket we might make. We could take in skylerbunny's report on kevinjdog's local-hall-of-fame location, or about the last time bunny_hugger had been with orv and bluerain, or bunny_hugger and I could give everyone a hard time about finding the place, or we could wait for some of augustforth's golf shots from last night to finally reenter Earth's atmosphere, at whatever tones felt right. (In fact, they had to go back to the miniature golf place to find some missing object. I mentioned the lost fragment of camera lens cap that I'd like too, but that had either been swept up or lost completely by the time they checked.)
It may not have been obvious but this weekend had been the first time any of these online friends had seen bunny_hugger and I in person as a couple, although she'd met them in person before and I'd met skylerbunny in person on another continent. So while they'd all had the chance to get used to our mooning over each other in interactive text sessions this was their first chance to see what we were like when we could catch each other's eyes, rub fingers together, or wrap arms around the other. bluerain's verdict was that ``you two make a cute couple'', but ``could be a little much''. This is probably a fair assessment.
But eventually, finally, we finished dinner. We could easily have lingered longer, but it was getting on 8 pm and we had a lot of driving left to do. The rest of the gang, skylerbunny included, wanted to have dessert and knew of an ice cream shop that would be good despite the chill, so we got ready to go our separate ways. bunny_hugger and I returned to the hotel room to take our stuff out and put it in her car; Skyler and kevinjdog looked over pictures of the Hall of Fame thing and didn't notice the water bottle, which would have frustrated us but we knew the later he found the water bottle the better it would be. Also we discovered that in the lobby the carafes held regular and decaffeinated coffee, but not the plain hot water needed to make tea. Hot water could be got, but it'd take some time and we didn't feel it was worth waiting for; instead I brewed a tea bag with some decaffeinated coffee and a lot of sugar, which would turn out to be a pretty good combination, surprisingly.
And so, sadly, we set out into the night for the long drive to bunny_hugger's home.
Trivia: The word ``verve'' originally referred to a special talent in writing, and only came to mean something with vigor and vivacity of ideas after 1780. Source: Semantic Antics: How And Why Words Change Meaning, Sol Steinmetz.
Currently Reading: Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History Of Strunk & White's The Elements Of Style, Mark Garvey. I'm confident that I knew before that the White of Strunkandwhite was also the author of Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, and The Trumpet Of The Swan, but every time I come across that fact I'm surprised by it again.