I've been watching a lot of Doctor Who lately. I just started watching Daleks in Manhattan, and the 1930s recording of Putting on the Ritz they play near the top of the show reminded me of something cool that happened at PAX East that I meant to write about, but never did.
The con was over, and Anne and I had some time to kill before we needed to leave for the airport.
"We're going to be on the plane for a long time," Anne said while we finished packing, "so I think we should take a big old walk before we go to the airport."
"That's a great idea," I said, "but the weather has other plans." I pointed to the window, where thick rivulets of water ran down the glass, barely revealing the city beyond, beneath thick and dark storm clouds.
"We don't have to go outside. While you were signing yesterday, I went exploring, and found all these covered walkways connecting lots of buildings. We could probably walk a mile or more without ever going out."
"Oh, that's cool," I said. "Let's do that."
We finished packing our suitcases and went downstairs. A few PAX attendees were playing boardgames in the lobby of the hotel, keeping the con going as long as they could. I stopped and conversed with a few of them in the language of gaming geeks while Anne checked our bags with the bell desk.
We began walking through a mall that was connected to the hotel and convention center. It was easy to spot my fellow gamers and geeks, because we were all wearing the appropriate T-shirts, PAX Scarves, and other nerd gear. We all traded greetings and Iron Guard salutes, sharing an unspoken gaming brotherhood, as well as sadness that the con was over.
Eventually, we walked through all the space that building had to offer, and we ventured across an above-ground walkway to another part of the mall that was across the street. It was one of those malls that was designed and built in the 80s. "This feels like a cross between Logan's Run and Dawn of the Dead," I said.
"Yeah, it's a little surreal," Anne said.
"There is no carousel!" I said, a little too loudly.
Anne gave me a blank look.
"It's from —"
"Logan's Run. I know."
"I love you."
After a few laps in that mall, we began to make our way back to the hotel. As we neared the bridge that connected the two buildings together, we decided to stop at Starbucks to get some coffee. While we waited in line, I realized that they were playing some uptempo 1940s jazz, like Duke Ellington. I looked out the window toward the street. The rain was heavier now than it had been when we were in our room, and it ran down the window in thick sheets. Through the window and to the right, I could see the glass-covered bridge we were going to cross, and across the street, the buildings – barely visible through the storm – disappeared into the clouds.
"Where are you?" Anne asked, after I'd apparently been silent for some time.
I smiled. "This music, and this view … it makes me think of Rapture."
She looked out the window with me.
"That's from —"
"Bioshock. I know."
"I really love you."
We got our coffee, and I vigilantly watched for splicers while we walked back to the hotel lobby.