So, after not being able to attend Noircon in 2010 — this after having paid for my registration, bought my plane ticket, and reserved the hotel room — I registered for the 2012 event early, bought my plane ticket, and reserved the hotel room. The plan was, I would drive 150 miles to Miami, get on the plane and get off in Philadelphia, where I would at last be able to hang with my people. After two years of waiting, I was pumped.

And here’s what happened.

I left Key West, crossing the bridge to Stock Island, when I heard on the radio that a big snowstorm had gripped the northeast. Flights to New York, Philadelphia, and Boston were all delayed and might soon be canceled. The feeling was the airports would close altogether. Not good news. I called US Air.

Some seventy miles later, they still hadn’t answered the phone, leaving me on hold for well over an hour. I began to sort through the likely scenarios.

They were obviously scrambling to reschedule customers who were calling in. My fear was that I would get all the way to Miami only to be told my flight had been canceled, requiring me to either turn around and go back home or stay the night (or two) in Miami till the storm let up. Worse yet, I might actually be allowed on the plane and have it take off, only to be informed somewhere over Maryland that, whoa, the Philadelphia airport is closed and we would have to land in Pittsburgh or Buffalo or some other such place. Then perhaps we would be either put up in a hotel or put on a bus to Philly. All so I could trudge (twice a day) ten blocks through blowing snow and brown slush and freezing Philadelphia temperatures from the hotel to wherever Noircon was being held.

I turned around and drove back to Key West.

Two friends of mine, Jonathan Woods and Jessica Argyle, attended the conference, leaving the next day without incident, and they both reported that Noircon was a huge success, a rewarding experience. I’ll never know what would’ve happened had I completed the trip to Miami that day, but I do know that forces are conspiring to prevent me from ever attending Noircon.

I also know I’ll register for the next one, buy my plane ticket, and reserve a hotel room. Then I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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  1. I see a short story, “Noir and White”.

  2. Not a bad idea, Harry!

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