After 2 hours of restless sleep, I got up at midnight. I was in line at 12:20 – 12:30 AM Thursday morning.
In the past, there might have been 300 people in line at this time in the morning. This time, there were a 1000. A big difference. Past performance and all that…
The reason I decided to imitate a homeless person? Dr Who. The panel and autographing was on Thursday and I really wanted a winning ticket. Yeah, did I forget to mention it was a raffle? I wasn’t guaranteed anything. I didn’t care a whit about the panel. I wanted the autographs. I wanted the bragging rights of saying I got Peter Capaldi before anyone else.
So 1000 people were in front of me. I knew only 75 winning tickets were being given out. I know from past performance that not all of these people wanted Dr Who tickets. A 1/3 would be for the Hasbro line. A 1/3 would get line for Ballroom 20. That still left a lot of people in front of me.
I arrived at SDCC at o’dark thirty and walked past a long line of people sleeping or trying to sleep. That long line also included a lot of people drinking and chatting and hanging out. I found the end and put down my backpack and lay on the sidewalk. I was so far back in the line, I wasn’t even on the grass. I was under the tented area.
The ‘tented area’ doesn’t mean anything. It’s out context. SDCC is famous for their staging areas. A lot of it is temporary. My line started at the front entrance and wrapped three lines on the grass. Each line was a city block long. Then it moved to the tented lines used for Hall H later in the day. Instead of lying on hard packed and trampled grass, I was lying on the hard packed concrete.
The guy in front of me warned me he had friends coming at 5AM. I told him the same. The 50 or so people that had filled in behind me were told the same. The line was growing fast.
I stretched out on the sidewalk and rested. My backpack was my pillow. I didn’t sleep but I dozed. The crowded quieted. Traffic died down. The trains arrived at the port and started making loud metallic cracking sounds as freight cars decoupled. It woke everyone up. It drizzled for about 20 minutes. Good thing I was under the tents.
My friends arrived about 4:30. They brought me a soda. We chatted to pass the time. About 7AM the guards roused the inmates and we all had to stand. About 7:30, they let us enter the building. About 8AM we are in the queue to go the raffle tickets. Then we waited some more. Around 9:45 they set up the raffles. Then we got to find the Dr Who line to get in.
The three of us drew for a Dr Who ticket. One of us won. It wasn’t me.
Because I sacrificed a night’s sleep with a warm cozy bed and did the hard time on the sidewalk, we were able to go through the line a second time. Again, one of us won. Again it wasn’t me.
Just as my friend was letting me know he won, they announced no more tickets. Ugh. So past successes of getting some high caliber names like Tom Cruise, Denzil Washington, and Woody Harrelson did not translate to me getting my Whovian fix.
Both my friends were able to get the highly coveted Dr Who raffle tickets. Much later that day they were able to get Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, and Michelle Gomez. I tried not to mope too much. I was very happy for them. I was very jealous of them but happy for them.
Although, I must admit this did put a pall over the whole convention, I did have one last card to play. I knew Peter Capaldi was going to be at a theater for a podcast later that week. I planned on hanging out by the stage door.
Well, that failed too. He was scared off by the crowd and he ran for the car. A few hounds got him to sign through the car window but by the time I figured out what was happening the car drove off.
This was one sad autograph puppy. The walk home from the theater was long and lonely. I hung my head. Tears slowly rolled down my cheeks. Snot pooled on the tip of my nose. Big wet sobs caught in my chest. My glassed fogged and I tripped over the curb. The Sears Tough Skins were ripped and my knees skinned. What would mom and dad say?
Huh? What did I just write? I think I was channeling my inner Ralphie from A Christmas Story. Sorry about that. Let’s try that again…
I was one sad puppy. The walk home was long but interesting. I saw a group of Hare Krishnas (or is Krishnis?) dancing/signing through the streets. As I entered the Gas Lamp area, I saw Adam Savage (Myth Busters) and I suavely leaned over to say hello. I discovered that drunken nerds cosplay as obnoxious drunk frat rats. I learned I go to bed too early during SDCC. There is some fun night life.
As much as I want to think preparation and hard work is always successful, it isn’t. It does increase the odds but it doesn’t guarantee results.