New York Comic Con is always insane, but this years trip made my first three trips seem tame by comparison.
And it’s all Hurricane Matthew’s fault. If you don’t know, I live in Fort Lauderdale, and I spent the weekend before New York Comic Con alternating between two things: enjoying my daughter’s and one of her best friend’s birthdays at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal and watching Hurricane Matthew’s track.
At first it looked like the storm would just skirt by Florida, so I didn’t leave early. But by the time we arrived home Monday night, the track had shifted. At 2 AM Tuesday morning, I woke my wife up. I wanted to buy her and my daughter tickets to fly out of Florida for the storm.
Buy 3:30, I had gotten them tickets on our flight to New York. This storm looked really worrisome (and though hindsight says Fort Lauderdale was fine, I see the devastation in Haiti and floods in North Carolina and know I made the right choice).
Tuesday had been scheduled for last minute packing. Instead Tuesday was spent shuttering my entire house. One positive, really worked muscles I never do (a fact I was reminded of every time I raised either arm over my head that week).
Wednesday morning, we woke at 3:30 AM and readied ourselves for a 6am flight. I had not realized how difficult it would be to get an 8 year old moving at that time. We should have gotten up at 2:45.
We arrived at the airport at 4:50 and met with underWars artist Chris Brennan and his girlfriend who were flying up to work the con with us. They helped me with all our luggage and we checked in. At TSA security we were separated. My wife, daughter and I in one line, Chris and Liz in another.
One of our carry-ons bags was flagged to be checked. Chris and Liz were still in line. I sent my wife and daughter to hit the restroom and wait at the gate.
Time kept on tickin tickin tickin into the future…
It took a long time for my bag to get checked. Chris and Liz were still in line.
Finally I got the ok. I saw Chris and Liz putting their shoes on. I yelled “Gate E8.” and tore down the terminal.
As I approached the gate I saw my wife talking to the ticket person and my daughter crying (this will be important).
I said, “There are two others.”
The ticket agent barked, “We’re closing.” I took the hint that I could either board now or we’d be locked off of the plane. And not only would we be locked out, it would be this guy’s pleasure to do so.
I did some quick math: My friend was letting us use his apartment for free. That friend was flying to Japan out of New York that afternoon at one. If I didn’t make this plane I could say Sayonara to a free place to stay. I had to get on. Chris would have to try to board or get on a later flight. At least he could check into his hotel at any time.
I boarded. Chris didn’t.
We sat on the plane for fifteen minutes without moving while Chris texted me saying he was right outside. I sort of understand that they had a schedule to keep, but on the other hand, a major Hurricane was moving toward us. They should work to get every person they possibly can on each flight.
In the cabin my wife told me why my daughter was crying. Apparently she became afraid they were going to leave without me. My wife is pretty certain that if she hadn’t gotten upset, they would have locked us out, too. So, basically I’m saying, that if you’re running late at the airport, tears work better than screams.
Due to the hurricane, Chris never did get out of Fort Lauderdale. He is completely safe, so we have that going for us. But we were certainly up a creek.
New York is not the kind of show where an 8 year old can be expected to walk around alone, nor can an 8 year old ever be expected to sit in a booth for 12 hours either. It’s also not the kind of show you can do alone. Heck, hitting the bathroom takes up to 30 minutes.
I made three quick decisions. 1: This was the last out of town convention I’d ever do during Hurricane Season. 2: I needed help. 3: I needed to sell almost every book I had.
Next blog post – how I rolled with those decisions to turn catastrophe into a bit of a success.
PS – it wasn’t all bad. I did get to be with my daughter on her actual birthday for the first time in three years. We also were able show her New York City, the place where her mother and I met.
PPS – Here’s Part 2: http://www.kechalcomics.com/new-york-comic-con-part-2/