Editor’s Note: This was originally supposed to be published in early August 2018. Due to timing, we were unable to publish around the convention. Still, we’re publishing it for those who may find it interesting.

7/8/2018, 9:00AM PDT: One More for the Road

They say the saddest part of a celebration is the moment when everybody leaves; when reality sets in, and the responsibilities of the day begin to creep into the back of our minds. I’d argue that a three-hour wait at the airport trumps that.

Due to a last-minute rescheduling with my travel agent, my 6:00PM outgoing flight was replaced by a 1:50 trip. There would be enough time for a quick breakfast, followed by a Lyft ride to the airport, where I would wish a fond farewell to Los Angeles.

At 9:00AM, Seth and I began a walk that had grown familiar over the course of the week, as we traced our steps toward The Pantry. As we chatted in line, the scent of the air was filled with the delightful scents of pancakes, and the sounds of sizzling breakfast meats. The room was filled to capacity, as we took our seats at the counter.

I ordered the pancakes and eggs, as Seth and I began to chat. Within minutes, steam plates of breakfast goodness were placed before us. As we ate, the two of us discussed our game plans for the rest of the day. Seth still had a few more meetings, but he’d be heading off toward LAX, himself, after he wrapped up for the day.

As we paid the check, I checked the time on my phone. 10:30AM. I quickly paged a Lyft, as we hurried outside. The two of us bade farewell, as a car with a familiar pink emblem pulled up.

7/8/2018, 11:00AM PDT: Back to the Airport

I exchanged small talk with my driver, as we cruised along the highway. He asked about the sights I saw and shared a quick chuckle about the Walk of Fame gawkers that were out and about in 116-degree heat just a day before.

Before long, the city gave way to the open highway, as my driver remarked that today would be perfect for a day at the beach. Curious, I inquired if that was his next stop. He let out a small laugh and responded with a sly “maybe. Depends on where the fares take me.”

We arrived at the drop-off for Los Angeles International Airport at 11:15AM. I hurried inside, and made my way through the checkpoints, following the now familiar ritual of placing my shoes, wallet, and belt into the bin as I made my way through the line. Twenty minutes later, and the checkpoint would be but another memory, as I hurried toward my gate.

7/8/2018, 11:35AM PDT: Welcome to Airport Con

I found my gate at 11:35PM. As luck would have it, I was but a moment’s walk away from a nearby Starbucks kiosk, ensuring that caffeine and free wifi were both within reach, along with a convenient charging station.

Ten minutes later, I settled in with an iced coffee, my body slumping a bit as fatigue finally set in. Still, with nearly two hours before my flight arrived, I found myself with a conundrum. How would I pass the time?

The answer, as it turns out, was “shitpost on Twitter.”

I started to scroll through my Twitter feed. It didn’t take long before I spied a few fellow journalists talking about a surprise appearance by Gen Urobuchi at the Good Smile Company industry panel, including several who were also stuck waiting at their gates.

With boredom setting in, I started tweeting in a “corporate friendly” tone about Airport Con, where the news was secondhand, and the people were friendly, but tired.

It wasn’t my proudest moment, but I have to admit that it did help the time pass. It was time to board. Airport Con had ended as it began: with a shitpost.

7/8/2018, 9:18PM CDT: Dinner and a Layover

The plane landed in Detroit at 9:18PM Central, and I could feel my stomach angrily demanding something that wasn’t a granola bar. I checked my watch, and the time on my ticket. I had another two hours. Plenty of time for dinner.

Walking through the terminal, I found myself standing before Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina. I quickly found a seat at a hard-backed chair that sat in front of a stark white table. A waitress took my order, a Margherita pizza with focaccia. Within ten minutes, I had brought two white plates, one with my bread, one with the pizza. I’m not sure if it was hunger or something else, but both plates were delectable. The focaccia had a delightful balance of salty and savory to it, with a heavy garlic kick. The pizza was beautifully cooked, with a lovely char to the crust, and a simple, yet tasty sauce that paired well with the fresh mozzarella.

With my hunger sated, I began that long walk toward my gate, where I would make that final leg of my journey back to the Ocean State.

I arrived in Rhode Island at 1:58AM Eastern and departed the terminal with the dozens of sleepy travelers. Some were there for business, others for pleasure. As I got into a Lyft that was waiting outside, though, it didn’t matter. All I knew was that I was home, and that this was a weekend I’d never forget.

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