Would you kindly enjoy this memory from PAX East?

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. 

42 thoughts on “Would you kindly enjoy this memory from PAX East?”

  1. I think you need to go tell Anne you love her again – right now. You are a lucky, lucky man.
    As a native of Boston, and frequenter of the areas you described, I can see it clearly through your eyes. I don’t know how I never saw it before!

  2. Some of the best moments happen when we set out to do nothing. Thanks for sharing, only now I have to go watch Logan’s Run… it won’t get out of my head until I do… so sarcastic thanks for that…

  3. win for good memories induced by overdose of Doctor Who!!! also, speaking for my hometown, boston is the bestest city ever, and has a very high geek population. you should check out our 24 hour sci-fi ‘thon. its quite epic.

  4. I have slowly drawn my husband over to the geek side, and things like this are starting to happen with us. I love it. And him, for that matter. He is geek-adjacent, and he fills that role well. I appreciate it.

  5. Its a shame that PAX East will not be at the same building. It was so col that the convention was attached to a Mall and then to the Hotel. But next year it will be a bigger convention.

  6. I tried to resist reading this, but somehow felt compelled!
    (on an unrelated note, I’m watching this week’s Leverage; can’t wait for the return of Chaos! Also, Parker is AWESOME.)

  7. Watching a lot of Doctor Who is always a good thing. And it’s great that it brought up such a nice memory. When anybody gets a reference I make, it’s wonderful. I can’t imagine how much better it is in that situation.

  8. 😀
    I just read (on wikipedia, so take it with a pinch of salt), that Ken Levine is a huge fan of Logan’s Run so both your observations make sense.

  9. Damn you Wil!
    I was having enough trouble trying to decide what to read next when you reminded me I was going to read Logan’s Run as well.

  10. Our room was at the Westin, which meant we could walk those walkways from room to con. Which was hawesome.
    Except when we stayed at the con past midnight or whenever they lock the doors between Prudential Center and Copley Place. Which is really stupid of them to do. That sucked.

  11. I love this recollection, it makes me think of my husband and I at Blizzcon :)
    Also.. in an odd coincidence, I too have been watching alot of Doctor Who (decided to do a rewatch on my dvds..) and last night I watched Daleks in Manhattan! Weird..

  12. Great memory. Next time you are here you should try the Freedom Trail (weather permitting of course and that you enjoy History). So, have you taken your wife dancing? Thanks for sharing your story and have a great night.

  13. That game has captured my imagination from the very first screen. I am just putting the finishing touches on a painting of the Rapture Masquerade Ball poster as seen in the Kashmir Restaurant in the first level. Might put it on ebay or keep it for special. Also, want to go as a splicer for Halloween to keep the memory alive. Good times, man, good times.

  14. I love when I read a story and I can picture *exactly* where the storyteller is. I work above the Copley Mall and have walked the same steps you have, bought coffee at the Starbucks you did (for future reference, the Starbucks next to the Westin is better, and the people are extremely friendly).

  15. What is it with eighties era malls and “Putting on the Ritz?” I’ve got a few memories of that tune in similar places.

  16. I haven’t played first person games since the Marathon series and Myst, but the image you evoke here is seriously inspiring me to see what’s out there again. Any recommendations from anyone for games with great worldmaking, beauty, and a good storyline?

  17. I think you should clarify your position on the usage of the Iron Guard Salute, Mr. Wheaton.
    I guess it’s ok as long as your not saying.. “Heil Hitler”?
    Sure its a tradegy that Hitler took the Roman salute and dragged it through the toilet, but what does it mean to you?

  18. As soon as you started describing the scene at the end with the music and rain, my mind went straight to Rapture too. It was nice to read that we both ended up at the same place. :)

  19. It has nothing to do with Hitler or Nazism. It's making an X across the chest (similar to ASL for "love") and it's from a video game. We used it as a greeting at PAX East, so we wouldn't had to shake hands and risk spreading germs.
    It's unfortunate that it shares the name, but that's all it shares.

  20. Thanks for the explanation. I wouldn’t know, maybe they do it on Blue’s Clue’s like sign language? Heck, I don’t even know what ASL is. You can see how far down the hole I am.

  21. Geeky love stories are cool. My current partner used to send me random Star Wars trivia questions via SMS when we first started hanging out over 10 years ago. She is a mild SW fan, and later admitted she looked up some of the trickier questions on the net, but I really appreciated the effort :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  22. One of my favourite shows from the Uk is QI. In a recent show it was mooted that all internet threads that end up mentioning Hitler or Nazis are effectively dead.
    “Reducto absurdem” has been replaced with “Reducto Hitlerum”.

  23. Mr Wheaton, even if I wasn’t feeling kindly, I would enjoy your reminiscences !
    You are so lucky in your wife and her understanding of your geekiness – I guess the fact that it underpins your profession helps.
    I won’t even show my wife the scene from The Wheaton Recurrence “Do or not do …” Ihave watched it four time since it was shown in OZ two weeks ago.
    I love it, but she would probably take it as reinforcing that she can’t understand how she married me !

  24. Thank you so much for writing about this! I love conventions, but Pax East wasn’t an option for me this year. Your post gave me a feeling of being there – while reminding me how great it is to be married to another geek.

  25. I just wanted to let you know that today I was at a hotel on vacation and I had begged a friend of mine to give me your Just A Geek book for my birthday last week. In it went into my bag with my things for the lazy river at the hotel. I ended up falling on my ass when I was getting into the lazy river, twisting my ankle and hurting my hip and lower back on good old hard concrete.. The only thing I cared about as they were putting me into the ambulance to take me to the hospital was that my sister had grabbed my copy of your book from my beach chair, because it had to be ordered from Amazon.
    For whatever horrible reason your books aren’t available to just buy in Barnes and Noble or Borders. I am finally back at the hotel with crutches and a boot for my sprained ankle 8 hours later book in hand. The “Don’t worry I have your Wil Wheaton book” joke went on all day. I thought you might find it humorous.

  26. That was a really rich, gooey narrative, Wil. Being a Bostonian of more than a decade, I know exactly where you were and what you were seeing. And while I’m glad you enjoyed our shopping emporiums, I hope that next time you’re in town you and Anne get a chance to explore more of our fair city.
    Thanks again for helping to make the inaugural PAX East an awesome thing of awesomeness. We’re very much looking forward to next year’s.

  27. Excited to hear that you are diving into some Doctor Who. I absolutely adore the Tennant years (I really appreciate the emotional nature of the writing), but I honestly think that Matt Smith is turning out to be an absolutely fantastic Doctor in his own right.
    I think it would be so win if you appeared on DW… Honestly… It would be win.

  28. Here’s a little random for you:
    “As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.”
    Hunter S Thompson
    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but never posted til I saw this quote; thought it sounded like you. Thanks for all the hard work I really enjoy your stuff.

  29. I love that your non-geek wife is getting some of your geek awesomeness rubbed off onto her. It’s nice to know that non-geeks can be trained. :) Thank you for giving me hope.

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