I slept so well that I only just got up in time. Rose misjudged the
time it would take to get to the airport and we hit all the traffic lights.
The Continental counter was decidedly understaffed. The woman kept saying
"Wait for the electric cart." Could we go down ourselves to the boarding
lounge? No, she said, we'd never make it. A porter finally arrived with
a sort of giant golf-buggy, and I was loaded aboard, He had actually come
to collect a little old lady and hand't heart of me, but he dutifully drove
like a maniac, intoning the while "You'll never make it. You're gonna miss
it for sure," Rose ran alongside with the chair (yes, really). When, (ghasp!
pant!) we got to the plane, all the passengers were standing about because
it was 25 minutes late. On board I had yet another interesting conversation
with yet another male flight attendant, whose observation that all pilots
are mad did not seem particularly extreme - after an extremely bumpy
flight and the roughest landing of the whole trip we taxied at breakneck
speed to the airport and pulled up with quite a jerk.
At the airport I was paged -- I had to ring Midamericon and a car
would be sent (they really did look after me very well indeed). Of course
there were other fen on the same flight. When Rusty Hevelin and Flloyd
Johnson arrived in a big station wagon we all piled in with our luggage.
As Carey was to discover, following me about has its compensation.
I did need someone to follow me about, or more accurately to push
me around. The hotel was an abomination. To go anywhere at all you had
to go up steps and then down steps. I knew immediately that the former
occupant of the Presidential Suite on the top floor couldn't have been
Franklin D. Roosevelt. Asenath Hammond-Sternbach, who had injured her
leg en route, was going out of her mind with frustration in a rented wheel
chair which she couldn't even get into her room. Carey quickly sniffed
out all the ways to get around the building, and we saw lots of kitchens
and service corridors. So, I think, did Robert Heinlein, who was always
being spirited in and out of back doors by the Dorsai. The Dorsai were
a rather dippy-looking crew in paramilitary gear who clearly wanted to
be presidential bodyguards when they gew up. For the time being they
were making do with protecting the Guest of Honour, who appeared to
be greatly enjoying the attention.
The security system was supposed to be foolproof. Upon proof of
identity one was given one of those plastic hospital bracelets. Naturally
some people regarded this as a challenge. Alan Frisbie, festooned with
bracelets, wore a tag proclaiming himself Craig Miller, having identified
himself with a forged ID card.
For me the convention began with Jan Howard Finder's Aussiecon
reunion party. This was well attended and the food wasn't bad either.
At the opening ceremony I think that either I or Carey or probably
both of us managed to upstage Heinlein when Carey lifted me bodily on
and off the stage (I had to make a short speech). A slide show followed,
longer than the one at Aussiecon, but in my opinion not as good.
Midamericon was not as large as it was feared it might be, but at
around 4000 attendees it was still gigantic by Australian standards. The
main function room seemed to be the size of an aircraft hangar, and the
huckster room in the basement wasn't much smaller. The amazing thing
was that people still seemed able to find their friends, because most of