austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

My car parked south

So the con was closed. We shuffled out of the ballroom and into that mass of not really quite knowing what to do between the official close of a convention and the start of the Dead Dog Dance. This is a good little niche of time to use just wandering around and seeing people, as it's really the only part of a convention where everybody is gathered around in about the same area but nobody has anywhere particular to be. You get these formations of people who just didn't see one another, but everyone has the same thing to talk about.

We did drop into the bar --- we'd stopped in Saturday night, too --- for the atmosphere and to try some of the custom drinks menu that ``21-1-11'' had put together. It certainly seems like the hotel likes the con --- it feels like every hotel really likes the furry cons they can hold, probably because it's such an inherently weird weekend and everybody loves seeing packs of people in costume wandering around --- and the bar got into it by putting together drinks with names like the ``Wacky Raccoon'' and other fur-linked names. Unknown to us was whether these were regular drinks with new names, or whether the bartender was experimenting given the excuse. I did, naturally, try the ``Wacky Raccoon'', which I liked, and which was a blend of something with something else and a bit of some other thing. I think.

While wandering around we poked into the con hotel's ``Gift Shop'', which had mostly the stuff that a hurried business traveller might realize he (definitely he) forgot before the interview --- ties, belts, underwear and so on. The only thing we found which could be remotely qualified as a gift were a couple of birthday cards, on the bottom row of a shelf with ties and aftershave and pens and whatnot. I suppose the hotel knows what people stopping in need to buy, but it does seem like ``Gift Shop'' just isn't the right word at this point. Possibly ``Convenience Store'' --- which would be justified given the sodas and snacks and such --- would do.

As the con was winding down a huge group was moving in. This was a group of folks who appeared to be from Pacific Asia; they were moving in with big suitcases and even bigger bags from an outlet mall. One was wearing a surgical mask over his mouth. I am at a loss for why anyone would bother travelling from (say) Japan to Detroit to shop at Abercrombie and Fitch Outlet Stores, but more baffling to me was that none of them seemed the least amused to see dozens of costumed people wandering around and offering pose for pictures, and as far as I can tell, none of them took any photos.

Trivia: As Postmaster General during the Benjamin Harrison administration, department store magnate John Wanamaker introduced Rural Free Delivery and the Parcel Post System. Source: The Grand Emporiums: The Illustrated History Of America's Great Department Stores, Robert Hendrickson. (It's surely mere coincidence both were great helps to the department store industry.)

Currently Reading: Treadmill To Oblivion, Fred Allen.

PS: Kenneth Appel and Colored Maps, partly about the recently deceased Kenneth Appel, of Four Color Theorem fame.


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