Published on August 31st, 2013 | by Trapper A. Collins
On the PAX Trail: Arrival
I was thankful to have moved from the stuffy, crowded plane into the air conditioned airport of SeaTac. My plane had arrived in the early afternoon and on time, something which I was grateful for, as I wasn’t in the mood for dealing with delayed flights and over-worked flightstaff; God bless their tolerant hearts, for they have to put up with a lot of irate people that complain about shitty wifi on while they experience the wondrous miracle of flight.
While I, myself, an Internet journalist who relies on such a connection to do my job and generally function on a day-to-day basis, I do enjoy those sweet moments when I cannot connect and soak in the zen of the moment. Unfortunately, other people don’t share this philosophy and instead would rather complain about not being able to check their Facebook pages. But, I digress.
As I stand next to the luggage carousel, praying to the Patron Saint of Air Flight that my suitcase has arrived and isn’t floating somewhere in the Atlantic ocean, which in itself would be an impressive feat as I just flew in from British Columbia, I should probably divulge to you why I am in the greater Seattle: my editor from Mustache News had asked me to cover and report on the culture surrounding the Penny Arcade Expo. I mulled over this assignment for a few days and decided to jump all over this like a fat kid on a Smarty.
While I normally make such a pilgrimage to PAX when I can, I figured it would be great to get paid to do it. Plus, rent was due and I was flat fucking broke, so this was a win-win situation. I still would have made PAX this year, even if I had to hand-job my way down British Columbia and seriously weighed the pros and cons of such an idea. Infact, I had just bought several bottles of personal lubricant when my editor called and offered me the assignment. So not only am I getting paid to go to PAX this year, but I also have several bottles of lubricant at home. It’ll be great for those cold lonely winter nights that are coming up soon.
I smiled when I saw my suitcase being carried through the meat curtains on the carousel. The thought of it floating in the Atlantic greatly amused me. However, I was grateful that I had several changes of clothing, as I often felt that it was my duty to not be part of the problem.
Scurrying through the airport, I made my way outside and hailed a cab. The journey to the hotel was uneventful. The cabbie asked the standard traveling questions: where I was from, why I was here, and why I pronounced “about” as if I were describing a boot. Arriving at the hotel, I paid fare, tipped the cabbie, and wished him a good day.
Checking into the hotel, I made my way up to my room. It had a fantastic view of downtown Seattle, and was right across the street from the WSTCC. Based on previous experience, this was the optimal way to experience PAX. In previous years, I crashed at a friend’s place. While it was great fun, clown-car-ing it with him and other friends from Bellevue to and from PAX each day of the convention limited PAX activities.
Sitting on the bed and kicking off my shoes, I decided to unpack: along with several changes of clothes, I had packed a quart of whiskey, a mickey of gin, a fifth of rum, and a flask filled with my own special concoction consisting of mostly Jaegermeister. While unpacking, I remember that I had signed up for the annual Tri-Wizard Drinking Tournament. Now this would be a new experience for me. I heard many wonderful stories about this event and decided that this would be the year to attend. Having a hotel room also made this a no-brainer.
From what I heard, the Tri-Wizard Drinking Tournament, or TWDT, was a magical experience in it’s own right. Sure, it was part of PAX and would only happen because of the convention, but the tournament itself was wholly different experience. People would chose their favourite house from the Harry Potter series, and then move from pub-to-pub the night before the convention started. Attendees would dress up as wizards and drink from many shot glasses and beer steins while getting to know each other, all the while making sure that everybody made it to the next pub and back. While conventional pub crawls involved leaving friends behind, that would not be true during TWDT. Some attendees would even give private lessons to others in the privacy of their hotel rooms at the end of the journey.
Thinking about what lay ahead, I fixed myself a whiskey and drew a hot bath.