I slept late, and woke to the room service guy knocking on my door. I vaguely recall signing the order receipt before falling back into bed for another hour, when my growling stomach finally won the battle between it and my tired brain.
I'd like to believe that my stomach told my brain, "Look, brain, when there's food in me, it gives you and the rest of this stupid body energy, and then none of us will be so damn tired. Christ, why couldn't I have been put into an athlete, instead of … whatever the hell this old thing is."
Man, my stomach is a jerk, isn't it? It knows that I need it, though … it's always one step ahead!
I had a coffee, too many croissants (the non-meat options for breakfast are rather limited here, and feature lots of bread), and the most delicious bowl of birchermuesli I've had since yesterday morning. Seriously, where has this been all my life?! If I can't get this stuff back in Los Angeles, I will register a complaint.
I wrote a blog, took a shower, and got down to my autograph session right on time. On my way, I passed Nicole De Boer, who looks so much like my friend Lynn, I keep doing double takes and wondering why the hell Lynn is here, and if she's here, why aren't we hanging out? (I told this to Nicole yesterday, before I realized it made me sound: a)crazy and b)like a bit of a creep. Whoops. It's a good thing she's really awesome, and we can speak the secret language of Star Trek actors.)
For the next four hours, I signed pictures of Wesley in his various sexytime and bullet-proof hair forms, a few Criminal Minds pictures, and more Big Bang Theory images of Evil Wil Wheaton than anything else. I also noticed something here that I've never seen at any other cons: Many people made truly awesome collages in photoshop or gimp, and printed them out on photo paper for me to sign.
In every signing, it's inevitable that most of the day will blur. It's just a fact of doing something that's repetitive, especially in an environment where I know that I can't stop and chat like I usually do, on account of the huge lines of people who are waiting.
Nevertheless, something is as clear in my mind as if it just happened. A man brought me a photo of the German poster for Stand By Me. "You are the only one left who hasn't signed this," he said.
I looked at it, and saw that Corey, Jerry … and River had signed it.
The world stopped for a moment, and everything went silent. I looked at River's signature, knowing that he couldn't have been older than 23 when he signed it, and that it was likely the same age as one of my sons when he did.
Again, I thought about a life cut down too soon, an avoidable tragedy that has now hit me in the stomach twice in just a short period of time. I wondered how all the 25th anniversary mania is affecting River's family, and if this is stirring up feelings in them that are less painful when undisturbed.
"This is affecting you," a woman said, softly.
I looked up after I don't know how long and said, "Yes." I rubbed my thumb across River's name, and held a deliberate moment of silence for him. Putting my name next to his felt … strange but also good.
As the day went on, I started to feel really weak and woozy. I think a few days of eating mostly bread-based food is pissing off my body, and I felt almost like I was going to crash. I got some juice and a granola bar into me, with some gummy bears on stand by just in case, but was able to pull myself back together in time for the photo session later in the day.
I think I took about 100 photos with a bunch of different people, but it all went by in such a blur, I could have imagined the whole thing. Everyone was, again, incredibly kind and friendly, which seems to be a theme here at Fedcon.
After my photo shoot was over, I wandered the vendor's room. I bought cufflinks that look like a Dalek and a Tardis, and a Tardis pin for my bag of holding. I told Stephan, who is taking care of me, that Anne would be very pleased for me to return him without a dozen new T-shirts. He laughed and said his girlfriend feels the same way about his T-shirt collection.
While I rode the elevator up to my floor, I looked out at the lobby. It was filled with people in all sorts of beautiful costumes, in groups of 3 and 4, or in large parties of 10 or more. Everyone spoke to each other with animated arm movements, people posed for and took pictures with and of each other, and everyone seemed to be having a great time getting their geek on.
"I'm looking at a con in Germany," I thought, "but I could really be anywhere in the world, even my own town, and I'd be looking at essentially the same thing. This is how enormous and inclusive our culture is."
I walked down the hallway and into my room, feeling lucky and proud to be part of this.