The foyer was packed. Clearly, lobby-con was alive and well. It was warm in there. If the hashtag #gally1 was to be believed, it had been packed to the gills for the last 72 hours. No wonder the air conditioning couldn’t keep up. The lights, and the absence of sun, gave the room a golden, bronzy glow, almost like a den or cave. And the many, many conversations produced a constant rumble, occasionally breached by a loud burst of laughter or even shrieking. It had looked pretty much exactly like this every time I had visited the lobby over the last three days.
At the largest table, a group of 8 or 10 people were still trading ribbons, even though the closing ceremonies had finished over an hour ago. I stopped and watched them for a moment. Some people left, while more join the table, a self-perpetuating exchange.
I lingered, not wanting to go. I decided to wander though the middle of the crowd with the excuse of getting a coffee for the road. Three woman were sharing earbuds (somehow), snuggled together on a couch, watching a laptop. Another large group were seated in a square with drinks and lots of laughter. I had been surprised by how many senior citizens attended the con. I shouldn’t have been, given why we had all gathered. I saw one of these couples sitting together on another couch, suitcases next to them on the floor, holding hands and watching the rest of us.
Reaching the Starbucks, I had to send out pic of the non-existent line, given that it’s absurd length throughout the weekend had graced many a Twitter feed. Then, the fire alarm went off. Again. The first time had been during a particularly important panel. Like that first time, no one moved, continuing on with their business. I got my latte, and wondered back into the lobby.
As a first timer, my experience had been emotional, exciting, happy. I confirmed for myself that I am a member of this tribe, as did actress Claire Higgins, with great surprise and conviction, during the closing ceremony. I had made tenuous connections with potential future friends. I met many folks with whom I had only electronically shaken hands. I had flung out my tendrils of connection, hoping they would land, yet they remained fragile and hesitant.
I circled the lobby a final time, hoping to see one or more of these potential friend acquaintances, but came up empty. It was time to leave.
One final look at the gathering of the tribe and I walked out into the foggy, humid, Los Angeles air. And there, walking towards me were the first two women I had met three days ago. Joy! My heart eased and I said goodbye to them, hoped they had safe journeys, and smiled at the synchronicity that sometimes just happens.