It was crowded and people were moving in all directions, so it wasn’t the best time to catch up. We quickly shook hands and Alex introduced me to Adoniram, our third for the weekend. I guided the guys to the train so they could snag their three day passes and we could get moving from there. Alex had one stop he promised his wife that he would make and that was a quick trip to the Hard Rock Café to pick up a t-shirt for his infant daughter. We agree that this errand should probably get done first, so we rode the L train back downtown and hopped off to walk the six or so blocks to The Hard Rock Café.
Alex had previously lived in Chicago, so he knew some of the sights, and acted as an tour guide as we made our way through The Windy City. I’d never been inside a city of Chicago’s magnitude and Adoniram was equally enamored with the skyscrapers and beautiful scenery. We chatted as we walked and I watched in wonderment as my little suitcase held up to all the bumps and broken sidewalks we walked downtown. Back in 2010, I bought a fifteen dollar rolling suitcase from Walgreens to help keep my things organized following my divorce. This little suitcase went all over the country as I traveled. Usually it goes straight from a plane or car into another car, but on this day, it was taken off the plane onto a train, across another airport, back onto a train, and then dragged across a sidewalk that was difficult to walk let alone drag a super cheap suitcase across. I kept waiting for the zipper to burst, or the wheels to snap off, but it took the punishment and just kept rolling. In fact, after all that that suitcase went through that weekend, it’s was still in excellent shape and I held onto it for several years before finally upgrading.
We made it to The Hard Rock Café around 1 PM and found the restaurant to be mostly empty. They were gracious enough to let us stash our bags and enjoy our meal without having to fight with the luggage. I ordered a club sandwich which took quite a while to come out, but that was fine with us. We were all tired (I’d already been up almost ten hours by this point) and it gave Alex and I some time to reconnect and Adoniram to know each other. Alex was right, Adoniram was one of us. He was quite a bit younger than us, but he loved all of the same types of TV shows, video games, and comics. I’m always skeptical when meeting new people (because I usually don’t have much in common with them) but Adoniram and I just fit. We made a great trifecta.
After our meal, we decided to take a cab the rest of the way to the hotel, which was actually all the way back at O’Hare. Like the train, I’d never been in a taxi before, so this was yet another new experience for me. We all piled into the cab driven by a very unfriendly driver, and Adoniram fell asleep almost instantly in the front seat while Alex and I really got a chance to catch up on the past ten years while riding the forty minutes back to the hotel.
It was almost four before we got into the hotel, settled, and managed to rest a little bit. Veteran con attender Alex suggested we go pick up our passes for the con that evening, so we can just go stand in line in the morning. Friday nights tend to be quiet at the conventions, but some guests are there and lots of the vendors are open. We made our way down to the L train yet again, rode the two stops over to The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and got our first taste of the Con Life.