I guess it hit me when Randy Buehler congratulated me on the work I have done with Pauper...
It's 4:30 am, NYC time on Wednesday, November 4th. The last hour of sleep has been absolutely terrible as I am unable to stay asleep. I somehow manage to be woken up by my alarm (I'm surprised I was able to sleep) and go through the motions of gathering my thing. I start up Obi-Wan and go to scrape the frost from the windows.
My Late Nite UB ice scraper snapped in two. Yet another thing my old supervisor has done to try and screw me over. This does not deter me, however.
Windows mostly clear I start my trek at an unfamiliar hour, driving the roads I have driven so many times at dusk, but now at dawn.
No traffic, not even at the Whitestone.
I find the parking service no problem, and almost instantly I am on a bus to JFK. I sit next to a man with a Kindle. Turns out he is on my flight, but I do not learn this until much later when we're both at the gate and he comments on the book I had just picked up- Neil Gaiman's "American Gods." He tells me I'm in for a great ride.
He has no idea how right he is.
I grab breakfast at 7am NY time, or 4am Seattle time. I go to my gate and ravenously devour my Dunkin' Donuts approximation of breakfast. With time to kill, I end up at a Chili's and order a Coke. The bartender tries to convince me it costs $200, but I'm distracted by the classic "Saved by the Bell" on the TV. You know, the one where they go to the Attic and get caught by Zach's mom with fake IDs. I leave five bucks for my three dollar fountain soda. I'm a sucker for fountain pop, ever since I started bar tending. It has a soul that the canned stuff lacks.
I meander to the bookstore and pick up the aforementioned Gaiman piece and a novel about biker gangs, fed by my love of "Sons of Anarchy."
I board the plane and change my watch to Pacific time. I turn off my electronic devices and begin to work my way through the new mythology at my finger tips.
The time flies almost as fast as we do. I spend the early half of the flight bemoaning the editing done on our in flight movie- the fantastic "500 Days of Summer." Not a dirty film by any stretch of the means, but they censored some pretty tame stuff, by my count.
I keep looking out my window and am amazed by America. I do nothing but gape at the Rockies as we traverse the range.
We land an hour ahead of schedule and 240 pages in. I get to the hotel and grab a bite, and then sleep.
Two hours later I begin getting ready and make arrangements to meet the crew for dinner. I watch the Yankees on their way to their 27th championship and remember the pain of being a Mets fan. 2010 will be our year.
Dinner time. I make my way to the lobby and meet Erik and Thomas (hamtastic and Tweaker). It is surreal. We make our way to dinner thanks to the lovely Wizards staff (Tolena and Marcella) and are soon joined by Adam and Eric. We're informed that one of our team members will not be playing, so Wizards hired a ringer.
Then Hall of Famer Randy Buehler walks over and introduces himself. I thought he was just in the area. Turns out he's the ringer.
I get to play Magic with a legend on my side.
I fight every urge to text all my friends right then and there, but I manage to e-mail one from the bathroom.
He congratulates me on my work on Pauper. I almost die from the smile on my face.
More people join the party-Mike, Walter, and Sam from our team- Chris and Mike from Wizards. Pete's plane is delayed, but he arrives at some unnatural hour.
We eat, we befriend each other in real life, much as we have done online, and of course, we talk about Magic. There's some smack being talked on all sides of the table, and obscene pieces of cake.
But then the night draws to a close and we make our way to the hotel. I watch the coverage and the champagne on the Bombers. My last thoughts before slumber are:
I can't believe I am here
I love this game
The Phillies suck
I cannot wait for tomorrow
I wake at 4am Seattle time, and cannot return to sleep. It does not matter though, as I am refreshed and ready to go.
I love this game.