We awoke and prepared our bodies as I treated Gina to my rendition of “The End” by the Doors. The hotel, for all its faults, has amazing acoustics.
Downstairs, an overworked French lad served us breakfast through a small hole. While we waited, a gentleman showed us photos of a leather Captain America helmet he’d made by hand. It was impressive.
We crossed the street and entered the fray once more. The numbers were increased from the previous day, as was the heat. We shuffled through the aisles, and I snapped the occasional photo.
We entered the arena to view a Q&A session with the Doctor, Mr. Peter Capaldi, who, by the way, properly refers to playing Doctor Who by saying “Doctor Who.” I’m looking at you, David Tennant.
The audience was enthralled as the sexy beast lectured us about trying hard and being nice to our mothers. I hope I can work for the BBC when I grow up. They seem like such fine chaps.
I was already beginning to experience existential angst when we had our first scheduled photo op of the day. These things are always clusterfucks at FanExpo. They fail, time and again, to learn anything from anyone in the industry and what remains is a cow chute stampede mess of a slaughterhouse shitshow that would make Temple Grandin retreat to the hugbox.
We got our photo but it wasn’t magical. Then again, I don’t expect that. I expect that the trick gets turned, but this wasn’t even a back alley hand job. We wandered the floor, wondering what we had done with our lives, and I found myself staring at Rob Schneider. A man in my periphery made a joke about him being “the guy from every Adam Sandler movie.” I suddenly felt the need to tell Mr. Schneider something. This would be my absolution.
I shelled out the $40 and we approached the man. I shook his hand and said “Some of my greatest memories with my Dad are when he let us stay up late and watch Saturday Night Live with you. It was beautiful. Thank you.”
He thanked me and we stepped up for a photo. As we were leaving he leaned out the side of the booth and looked at me. “Hey, thank you for sharing that story,” he said, “that was important.”
We took a short break so we could rest and I could compose myself. Gina had noticed that Jack Gleeson was mostly unoccupied. We had our only cash-free interaction of the entire con when Gina approached him to say hello. He was a nice fellow. No, he doesn’t watch the show anymore. In my experience with actors this isn’t surprising.
Somewhat encouraged but still low, I dragged myself back in line to see Arthur Darvill. I set my expectations at zero. They were exceeded.
Gina suggested we have the photos signed and that, really, was the kicker that saved the day. We had a chance to chat a bit with Michelle Gomez and Arthur Darvill, and we gawked at Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi while we waited. After Peter left I wondered aloud if it would be possible to retrieve his leftover RC Cola, perhaps bag, tag, and freeze it. I launched into a speech worthy of the Mr. Belvedere Fan Club. Gina gave me the look. I acquiesced that yes, it would be best not to travel down that dark path.
Beaten physically and emotionally but still alive, we dragged ourselves out of the convention hall and into the sweltering Dallas streets. We found food, as we do, and Gina ate steak while we listened to some vendors from A-Kon swear and talk nonsense. We checked Google to see if they were important. Important. What the fuck does that even mean?
We returned to our hotel with its one working elevator and declared the day a success. I’d stared into the face of despair and captured something meaningful. To old cynics like me, this might be about as common as heartfelt connections at the strip club, but I’m sure that happens too.
I keep saying I’m going to limit myself to drinking in hotels with old British actors who fired fake guns at Daleks in quarries and leave this large convention business to the younglings, but something always drags me back.
FanExpo, that big ugly sonofabitch where I told Deuce Bigalow about my father. We’ll figure it out, someday.