The quiet hum of a city outside your hotel room window

I’m trying to work out how best to describe the recent Seattle trip for this year’s Emerald City Comic Con. It was a particularly odd one, for all number of reasons — having almost no sleep the first night because the dinner I had that night not agreeing with me, and then feeling exhausting and increasingly out-of-it the next day to the point where I was asleep by 8:30pm set a very strange tone for what proved to be a very strange trip, in the end — and one that felt perpetually out of whack for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on, entirely.

Something that only added to the feeling of disconnection was the fact that, even more so than most Emerald City Comic Cons, on this particular trip I didn’t really exist anywhere that wasn’t the hotel or the convention center. It was a combination of having a busier than usual schedule — breakfast meetings! Evening panels! — and the weather being impressively bad, with freezing temperatures and enough rain that I didn’t particularly want to wander through the streets in the early morning, as I’ve done in the past; instead, I worked a lot, and as such, I existed at either the convention center or in my hotel room. The rest of Seattle didn’t really exist, for all intents and purposes.

It’s a lonely way to be, which is ironic, given that I was definitely at my most social that I’ve been for a long time at the show; I got to see a lot of friends and almost-friends, and I got to have a lot of good conversations, but in a strange way, that underscored how strange it felt to be working at 10pm in the hotel room and sitting in bed afterwards, my brain still turning over and feeling the silence surround me almost tangibly after failing to find anything to watch on TV, knowing I wasn’t ready for sleep just yet, but I also wasn’t up for anything else, either.

On the final day, one of the people I work with said something along the lines about the whole thing having felt like it had happened out of order, with that last day feeling like the first. The days weren’t the same for me, but I knew what she meant; the entire trip felt like it was jumbled, collapsed in on itself and rebuilt in a hurry. Even a week later, I’m unsure whether or not I enjoyed it or not.

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