Confluence XII

Confluence XII was held over the weekend of February 25-27 at the Sheraton Inn in Mars, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. It's the con where you can say you've been to Mars.

Because it's a small convention and the hotel was so expensive, we ended up staying in a small motel within walking distance to cut costs. We arrived late Thursday night and checked in, then got some sleep so that we would be ready to load in as soon as the dealers' room opened.

On Friday we got up early and drove the van over to the main hotel's parking lot. Then we went in and looked for the dealers' room person, so that we could get in. However, he didn't show until almost noon, so we ended up sitting around and waiting for over an hour. I got a bunch of work done on a short story I was writing, so at least the time didn't completely go to waste.

In the afternoon we hauled in all our merchandise and got set up at our table. We had a few sales, but not many. I also got my art set up on the art show.

When the dealers' room closed, we walked over to the nearby Lone Star Steakhouse to have supper. They have a faux-rustic decor and their country music was a little loud for my taste, but they definitely serve generous helpings. I couldn't even get around my meal. You will not go away hungry there.

After supper we went back to the main hotel to attend the one party of the night, an anniversary for a lesbian couple. Then we dropped by the con suite for some munchies before turning in for the night.

Saturday morning we got up early and had the cheap motel's free breakfast. It was actually fairly good, and at least filling. Then we headed over to the dealers' room to get our tables opened for sales.

We had some sales off and on throughout the day, but not nearly as many as we really needed. I spent most of my time writing on my story.

After the dealers' room closed, we went over to Max and Erma's for supper. We had sandwiches, and they were so huge that we were glad that we'd chosen the "small" ones. We didn't even want to think about how huge the "large" ones might have been.

After supper we went to the one and only party of that night, which was Pern themed. I sat around with my sketchbook, doing sketches of the people there and of the characters from my story. After a while we decided to call it a day and went back to our motel to turn in for the night.

On Sunday morning we got up really early to get our stuff out of our sleeping room and to catch breakfast. We also went up to the con suite, where we talked to Joe Mayhew, who was drawing various humorous cartoons. We had a lengthy discussion about dialect differences, cut short by our schedule.

Then we went to the dealers' room and started packing, since the rain had already begun and we were getting almost no sales. While we were packing, we talked with a man who'd been trapped in one of the elevators when it got stuck between floors. The hotel maintenance people had to pry the doors open to get him out.

We didn't wait for the dealers' room to close officially to start carrying stuff out. While we were carrying out, we saw the stuck elevator, which was obviously in a bad way.

After we got our unsold merchandise out of the dealers' room, I got my unsold art off the art show. I hadn't sold a single piece, and very few of anyone's sold. The auction had a sum total of three pieces and was over in minutes. Then we made one last visit to the con suite to say our good-byes before leaving.

Copyright 1998 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.