Last month, and at the very last minute, I joined Kim and Sage of Head Over Feels to spend a long weekend at Gallifrey One, a Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles. Kim, Sage, and I are dividing and conquering our recaps of the experience. First up, Kim documents our insanity on the journey to LA.
If there is ONE thing I hate about living in New York City, it’s dealing with travel in the winter months. Last year I BARELY beat Winter Storm Nemo out of New York to attend the inaugural CommuniCon in Los Angeles. So needless to say, as our trip to Gallifrey One approached this year, I watched the weather forecast like a HAWK.
First…a little background. Gallifrey One is the biggest and longest running Doctor Who convention in existence and it’s held every year over President’s Day weekend in Los Angeles. Tickets always go on sale for the following convention right after the current one ends (tickets for Gally 2015 go on sale March 21!) with the hotel block opening up a few weeks later. So we (we being Sage, our friends Michelle and Gillian, and myself) had our trip to Gally booked for almost a year. The last things bought were the actual plane tickets and we booked 7 AM flights out of JFK on the day before the convention actually started (even though the Thursday night “LobbyCon” is the unofficial kick-off and this year Gally scheduled actual events for Thursday evening). As we were booking the flights, buoyed by my CommuniCon close call the previous year, I stressed to Sage that we needed to be on the first flight out that day. Just in cases. #foreshadowing
As Gally drew nearer and nearer, we got more and more excited. Sexy Beast Paul McGann (copyright pending) would be there. Arthur Darvill would be there. QUEEN BILLIE PIPER HERSELF WOULD BE THERE (they announced that on my birthday, which I chose to believe it was a present from the fandom gods). Our excitement could not be contained as we planned which t-shirts we would take, what our cosplays would be, and what our badge ribbons would look like.
A few weeks before we were to leave for Los Angeles, we hit an unexpected bump in our plans. Michelle fell ill and was unable to travel, which left us with an open spot in our hotel room and a Gally Badge up for grabs. Moments after I posted on social networks that we were looking for a friend to take Michelle’s place, our dear friend Kelly of The TV Mouse wrote me a capslocked facebook message saying “TELL ME ABOUT THIS GALLY BADGE”. I told her and she did what any good fangirl would do: she immediately booked a ticket to Los Angeles. Luckily online ticket transfers were still open, so we transferred all of Michelle’s info to her and we were set to take Gally by storm, Head Over TV Mouse style.
Given the fact that I am Monica Geller, once we were a week out from flying, I began studying the weather forecast daily. And there it was: Winter Storm Pax and it was due to hit New York City on Thursday.
As it became more and more clear that it definitely WOULD start snowing the day we were scheduled to leave, we did our best not to panic. “We have a 7 AM flight,” I kept saying. “We’ll make it out before it gets really bad!”. By Tuesday the forecast looked DIRE. I called Virgin America and tried to rebook us on a flight Wednesday (despite the fact we didn’t have anywhere to stay that night) and was told there were no seats available. So the die was cast. All our hopes laid on that 7 AM flight Thursday morning.
Wednesday morning at 6 AM I was awoken by my phone buzzing over and over again. I blearily looked at my phone to discover frantic text messages from Sage: VIRGIN CANCELLED OUR FLIGHT OVERNIGHT (at 3 AM to be specific) VIA EMAIL. Sage was met with the same response that I had faced the day before…the earliest Virgin could rebook us was Saturday…which was no help considering the con ended Sunday. And they couldn’t put us on standby as their standby policy was only for “day of” your flight. “BUT YOU CANCELED ALL THE FLIGHTS THURSDAY” was her response. She then conferenced in me and Kelly and we worked out a game plan. We decided to show up at JFK as soon as we possibly could and demand to be put on standby. There was no way they could say no to our faces, right?
I should point out that none of us were packed. I had planned on taking Wednesday to clean my apartment for my friend that was dog-sitting, so my apartment was in shambles. None of that mattered anymore. I called my boss saying I wouldn’t be in that day. I made sure Renee could come a day early to dog sit. I threw everything in my suitcase, managing to forget my toothbrush but remember my sonic screwdriver, and was in a cab to JFK by 8:15. I beat the girls there and begged and begged the ticket agent to put me on standby. She put me on standby for a flight to Vegas that would connect to L.A., which I tearfully (with blessings from the girls) accepted, despite my desperate wish not to get on a plane without Sage and Kelly (NO WHOVIAN LEFT BEHIND). The ticket agent escorted me to the front of the security line, told me the fastest way to get to the gate, and wished me luck.
As fate would have it, I did not get on that flight. I was automatically put at the top of the list for the 1 PM flight to L.A. and by that time, Sage and Kelly had sweet talked their way into being put on standby as well, much to the gate agent’s chagrin. “Who keeps putting people on standby? You’re NOT going to get on a plane. They are all full,” she declared. “When is the last flight to the West Coast?” I asked. “Eight PM.”
And then I looked at her with a steely determination. “We’ll be here waiting all day then.”