Postcards from the Edge (Dragon*Con, part one)

There’s something about Chattanooga. No matter the day or time you attempt to pass through, you’re going to sit in traffic. It’s like half of the highways in Chattanooga were built solely for people who just want to pass through Chattanooga and not actually stay. If that’s true, they probably should have built more lanes.

Despite Chattanooga traffic and the slightly testy mood brought on by slogging my way through the first 4 chapters of an audiobook of New Moon (really, Bella, stop being emo and move on with the plot already), I made it to Atlanta.

“We better shake a tail feather and get down to pre-registration,” I told my sister, “it’s already 8 and pre-reg closes at ten.”

We arrived to find a line literally encircling the hotel where badges were being stashed. About 45 minutes after being in this line, I went to find an employeee. See, my sister hadn’t pre-registered and just wanted to make sure she could even BUY a ticket from the long line.

“Oh, she can just walk on in. That line’s maybe 15 minutes.”

Really? Because what the fuck.

She went on in to get her ticket. As I stood in the line, I started wondering if it would just be faster to come back early the next morning. On the one hand, I could end up standing in the sun for hours and missing the first True Blood panel. On the other hand, I’d just driven four hours and, at 10:00, I’d had a total of one PowerBar all day. If I had to stand there unti 2am (I was told the next day that this is how long the line lasted), someone was going to die.

“Fuck this. I’m coming to find you.”

After that text, I started walking around the building until I saw some guy who looked sort of official. Well, just in the sense that he was walking near the line and already has his badge on.

“Do you work here?”
“Kind of…?”
“If someone went to just buy a ticket, where would I find that person?”
“I don’t know. I’m just in a band. But let’s go look for her.”

As I roamed the lobby with one of the dudes from Attention System, I explained that I had to just come back tomorrow. “Because if I stay here, I’d have to kill and eat someone and even if the police understood, I’m still a vegetarian.”

“Amy, even if you come back at 7:00 tomorrow, the line will be around the building again” came the words from a Nashville homie who happened to be working the information desk.

“What time would I have to get here to NOT find a line around the building?”

“5:00. But pre-reg doesn’t open until 8:00, so you’d still be in line for a while.”

We’re talking about a 5 to 6 hour line, people. This is when my brain went into survival mode.

“I wonder if I could just find someone at the front of the line and offer him a blow job.”

(KIDDING, people. Not serious. Kidding.)

This would be the point at which I found my sister, who had been texting me from the credit card line for ten minutes telling me that some pre-teen had been repeatedly farting in her direction the entire time she was in the credit card line. “Not to mention that every transaction was taking a solid five minutes. What’s WITH these people?” The Mauk sisters are not amused by inefficiency.

As a last ditch, we decided to check Will Call.

The fellow working the will-call booth was having a little trouble with the alphabet (m still lies between l and n, dude…and are you drunk already?), so he just handed me the binder.

“Not here. Say, purely hypothetically, that I slipped you 50 bucks. Would that work?” He thought I was joking.

(Not joking, people. Serious. Not joking.)

“But you don’t have to go all the way back to the beginning of the line. You can just go to the end of the ‘m’ line.”

OK, so it was a total dick move. It was. But he told us to go over there. What are we going to do? Insist on waiting for 6 hours? So, we went to the end of the ‘m’ line and were out of there within an hour. One good dick move deserves another, I guess.

To you, I say this: that line was bullshit. It is not “part of the con experience.” It’s fucking stupid. It is not “a chance to meet people in line,” it’s fucking stupid. Funneling 40,000 people into one room where they will find ONE person manning ONE binder for everyone whose name starts with a certain letter is fucking stupid.

I know that the people working in there are almost all volunteers, they have no reason to care about hurrying or providing good customer service or any of that. They’re tired, too. They’ve been dealing with pissed-off people all day. There’s no perfect way to manage that many people. I get all of that, but making people stand in line for 6 hours (possibly in the heat and sun) is so far from a perfect system that it’s completely unacceptable. D*C’s been going on long enough that they should have been able to figure this one out by now. Just because most of the people at D*C are too nice to start a fucking riot doesn’t make a 6-hour line OK. That’s all I have to say about that.

Anyway, we got out of there by 10:30 and went promptly to The Nook for a drink and some onion rings.

Tomorrow:
True Blood, Mexican food and Steven from Ego Likeness calling someone an asshole (thus tripling my respect for him).

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