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Alex Garg writes...

Sunday, August 8 - The Weekend, Pt. 3:
To say that I "woke up" at 6 would be wrong - I merely emerged from a comatose state with limited activity. My shower was only slightly rejuvenating, and the two cups of coffee I had downstairs just barely gave my body animation. Simply put, today started off on only adrenaline and caffeine - truly a Gathering experience.

Well, Gathering and high school.

Anyway, as true consciousness and animation slowly returned to me I made my way to Allaine's round robin panel and an equally exhausted group assembled - Ellen, Allaine, Princess Alexandria, Denis and Spacebabie. We waited a while as Allaine tried to wrestle some more people away from the Gargoyles Biology panel but he was unsuccessful and we got underway.

I had missed Spacebabie's panel on Friday so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but what I didn't expect, though, was that doing an oral round robin would be harder than a typed one; although given my state of body and mind, doing anything that morning requiring more than a passing thought or gesture was challenging. Despite that, the round robin came together and we got a decent story going - then we had to stop.

The dealers' room/art show was the next stop. I put in bids on artwork (I lost all of them) and saw that the PGA signing tables had been set up. Christine was there and let me know that we were finally underway for the book signing, so I joined her. People trickled in at first, not really sure what was going on (some people weren't even aware of the PGA), and after a while more of the authors began to assemble. It was about half an hour before the crowd really gathered and we were signing multiple books at a time.

Being asked for a signature is really a weird experience, especially given my attitudes towards my work, but as long as people think that getting my signature was worth it - fair enough.

I had intended to go to Kathy's workshop, but about the time I was going to step out when the crowds were dying off Keith walked in, so I stuck around. It went well, good Q&A, and in the course of it we signed a PGA copy for him - now that made me nervous. I don't know why, but it just didn't sit well with me.

After Keith's mug-a-guest had ended it was time for Closing Ceremonies - so sad. People had already left, Greg wasn't there, people were still running around; it didn't have the same energy as Opening Ceremonies and was kind of depressing overall, really for the reason that it was the end of the con. I skipped on pre-registering for Vegas - I have no clue if I'll be able to make it, but if it turns out that I definitely won't, I'll put in a supporting membership for sure - and just got in line for Keith. It didn't occur to me until I was in line that I should have brought my Radio Play script from last year for him to sign, so lacking anything Keith/Goliath-related I just had him sign my copy of the PGA - a little quid pro quo signing.

From there I went with Ellen, Allaine, Princess Alexandria, Kelly and Leo to lunch in a deserted food court - good, not great. We chatted about what we all had to look forward to when we went home. On the way back to the hotel Ellen offered to take us up to Mount Royal to look out over Montreal at night. Allaine was going to laser tag so he couldn't make it, and Alexandria opted out. Kelly was undecided up to the last minute when I ambushed her at the hotel restaurant and encouraged her to come.

It was a haul going through Montreal, but it was all so worth it.

Ellen pointed out the various places she remembered from her days in Montreal on our way up, but the fun began when we got to the park. We opted for a back route to the observatory that turned into a nature hike, but there were plenty of other disoriented groups to keep us company as we went up the narrow trails.

Eventually we arrived at our destination and we were not disappointed. Montreal is stunning. Honestly, the staff should have had a trip to this place - it was just so beautiful. We hung around for about an hour or so enjoying the view, but eventually we had to go back so Ellen could catch up with her husband.

We didn't take the scenic route back - nightfall made that an impossible feat - but we did cut through the university (so, okay, a different kind of scenic) as Ellen extended her tour. We stopped off for a drink at an Irish pub for a quick round before we finished the trip, and the stop gave Ellen the perfect timing to walk into the hotel to greet her husband at the check-in desk.

Realizing that it was unlikely we'd see each other in the morning we said our goodbyes in the lobby and then retired to our rooms. I gave my parents a call to let them know when I'd be leaving the next day and then went to sleep - actual sleep this time.

And that was the weekend.

Next, "The Long Road Home"

Greg responds...

Yes, the bittersweet end of another Gathering... <sigh>...

Response recorded on May 23, 2006