The flight into DC was turbulent, something I attributed to the outgassing of politicians and assorted lobbyist scum. On the ground, things were normal, if you can consider Reagan National Airport a normal place. I’ve been through quite a few airports here and there. I’ve often compared Dallas – Fort Worth to a mall, you get off the plane and you’ve got access to anything, including overpriced, but somewhat decent food.
If DFW is a mall, then Regan is a Calcutta street market the day before a major celebration when everyone is pursuing last minute purchases with little patience and less kindness.
Baggage check is for suckers, it’s a game played by the airline to extract even more money from your wallet than they already have. I travel light, damn light. Two bags, a small carry on and my tech, that’s all I need. Have laptop, will travel. I gathered my stuff and headed for a taxi. Driving in DC isn’t a joke, it’s a cruel game perpetrated on the denizens of our nation’s capital to send them around in circles and between two states to get across town perchance to score beer and beef jerky. I refuse to play a game best left to professionals, so I always grab a shuttle or cab while I’m here. With the twists and turns required to get to my hotel, I couldn’t anymore walk outside and point to DCA than I could Pyongyang.
My room is, in a word, stupendous. It’s far more than I need and light years better than I deserve. For some reason, I wound up with two beds even though I’m traveling solo. Maybe company’s coming, who knows? It’s smallish, but big enough for me to dry a messenger bag strap by spinning around the room at high speeds. (I’m not sure what was on it. It looked like the frosting off a Cinnabon, but I’ve not had a cinnamon roll in a long time.)
A quick shower later I headed downstairs, speaking with another CiL attendee.
“You heading for check in?” he asked.
“Yes, and hopefully for a bar. You local?”
“Yeah… I’m from across the bay,” he said. Wandering past the exhibit hall, still under construction, he pointed out that we could probably score swag there tomorrow.
“No time for that, now,” I said, side-eying the signage all over the place. “Unlike The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, we absolutely need badges… and strong drink.”
We checked in, and it went very quickly since there were only three of us there — my man from across the bay, the check-in guy, and myself. I was in and out in five minutes and at loose ends for another 45 until my friend arrived from Delaware.
She and I intend to make good on that promise of strong drink and food.
Jessica arrived earlier than I suspected and caught me playing Minecraft in the lobby of the hotel. While one has to pay for Internet in their room, the Internet down in the lobby area is quite free. I think back a few years ago to a different conference, where I wound up staying in a cheap Super 8 while the others stayed in a beautiful hotel like this one. They had all the amenities and luxuries a good hotel offers while my “continental breakfast” consisted of Costco muffins and percolated Folgers coffee. They were a couple of minutes away from the conference hall while I had a two mile walk, easily within in the realm of my own personal definition of “walking distance.”
They paid around $12 per day for slow WiFi, I was getting completely acceptable WiFi for free. Hotels are for sleeping and the occasional meal. If you’re on a trip and spending a lot of time in your hotel, you’re doing something wrong. The only thing I needed with WiFi was the occasional blog update, news feeds, and YouTube.
Jessica Olin is an academic librarian and library director. I’ve talked with her online for quite some time now and we hit it off pretty quickly as we’re both librarians, both nerds, and both believe in the deity that is Doctor Who. When she heard I was going to be on the east coast, she demanded to swing into DC and have dinner. She did, and we had a wonderful time eating overpriced food in the hotel restaurant. Then again, since I’d last eaten at 2:15 in the morning and it was 5:30 pm local DC time, I was ready to eat most anything set in front of me.
If you ever have time to talk with Jessica, you should. She’s crazy awesome and scary intelligent. And if you ever have a chance to share dinner with her, do so. You’re in for a treat.
After tooling around the area and checking out a bookstore, she headed back home while I headed to my room. I didn’t have any other plans for the evening and wound up outside again, lounging near a water feature and playing more Minecraft. The next day would be here soon enough, and it wasn’t helping me that I was still living on Arizona time.