austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Every time I hear that lonesome train roll down the track

So let me belatedly get into trip-reporting.

My trip plans began with a workday, actually, since I figured I could fly out of Newark to Chicago by driving up to my brother and sister-in-law's, leave my car there, and take the train into Newark Airport. I'd done this last time I visited bunny_hugger and found it surprisingly nice what with needing me to drive less and not needing to involve anyone else at all. Well, except my sister-in-law, to drive me the two miles from her house to the train station. But she had to pick up her husband from work, which coincided with my scheduled departure, so this would actually all fit together with clockwork precision had every street in the area not been even more overloaded with traffic than normal because of construction and some kind of accident clearing.

While it did mean I was dropped off as my brother was picked up (to the delight of my niece), it also meant I missed a train going to the airport, and had to wait for the next; if things ran on time I should still have a reasonable margin to get to the correct terminal, and through security, and all that, but I'd have liked more time. And there came marginally audible announcements on the public address system warning about something something delay track something. The problem was the other direction; while I got in with less than an hour to go before my flight, I had just about the right amount of time to get to my gate, gate-check one of my bags, and get comfortable reading in time to get on the plane.

In Chicago, I knew, there were supposed to be shuttles to the con hotel; and while I'd written down the directions to this shuttle site, and had it loaded up on my iPad for quick reference, I still didn't realize that getting there would require walking a garbled path of approximately fourteen miles' length to get there. Of course, last year I had the challenge of figuring out how to get out of O'Hare airport at all; I'd never used it as anything but a way to get from one flight to another before. This time at least I ... still had trouble figuring out how to get out of the security-quarantined area and toward the hotel shuttles, but I managed. I'm not still there, at least. Mostly.

I was sharing a hotel room with skylerbunny and bunny_hugger, with the room in his name, and I only slowly came to wonder whether I should have brought some proof for the hotel clerk that I really was invited to share the room. Then I remembered: skylerbunny would have made sure the desk clerk was extremely well-informed about who was arriving, and when they were expected, and how long they were staying. He'd even called me to make sure I knew our designated hotel room, so I was able to go to the clerk with that information. There was no trouble checking in.

So I got into the room, saw some of skylerbunny's luggage spread out, and got to as unpacking as I ever do (setting my bags down, taking my laptop and iPad out of bags) when someone started fumbling with the door. I opened it, catching skylerbunny wholly by surprise and getting a grin from GreenKai, if I haven't got the timing wrong. With some greeting and hugging and remarking on how it had in fact been ages since we spoke (a year, in person; nearly 46 hours, online), and how I needed to register and we needed to eat.

I had been worried about the registration line being ridiculously long or slow, particularly since there was probably some network problem making the registration servers implode, since there always is. Actually, it wasn't long at all, and I soon had a bag full of information about con events and surrounding restaurants and services that I would never get around to reading. I never do.

But we also met up with barberio, one of those people I've known online since the Casimirs ruled Poland but never saw in person. With the general agreement that we were hungry and ought to eat we went to the sports bar in the hotel, an extremely loud place decorated with enough enormous TV sets to be part of last year's Star Trek movie, only dark enough you can't see anything. skylerbunny, barberio and I stumbled in and not finding any obvious place to wait to be seated, found seats on our own. We had some vague acknowledgement from someone who may well have been a waiter at some point in his life, but when that didn't seem to progress to anything barberio decided to go rest, which wasn't a bad idea.

Eventually, though, skylerbunny and I formed the idea that maybe we just didn't know how to make this restaurant thing work, and we gave up on getting food or drink there. The convenience store, now, that we could work out. Well, largely we worked it out; somehow I ended up getting a fruit cup instead of, like, candy. But that (and soda) made for the sort of snack we could retire to the room for, and get to bed before it was really late at all.

Trivia: By November 1879 Western Union had built a network of 56,000 telephones in 55 cities, which it traded away (along with other things) to Bell Telephone for 20 percent of phone rental receipts over the 17-year lifespan of the Bell patents. Source: Telephone: The First Hundred Years, John Brooks.

Currently Reading: England In The Later Middle Ages, M H Keen.

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