It started out simply enough. Closing ritual for ConVocation was over, Sarenth had planned to do a rune reading for me, all our other friends started making plans to eat lunch out and invited us along. It sounded great, and we figured we’d just do the runecasting in the restaurant after eating and getting more grounded. (Because nobody’s going to notice anything strange about that…but anyway…)
Bear in mind that, leading up to this, I had been getting poked all weekend. My stomach picked that weekend to really and truly pop an ulcer and cause constant pain and gas and panic attack feelings. Workshop meditations got interrupted. My High Priestess recommended a teacher to me (“You’ve just got to go to one of her workshops, even if you miss mine!”) who then opened her workshop with, essentially, a blind joke. I kept leaving my badge and other things up in my room. Cigarettes got broken. Beer and wine got spilled constantly, even though I wasn’t drunk (sometimes before I had a single drink!). By Saturday evening, I had started intentionally just spilling my drinks a bit on the table before I drank them, so I could get it over with.
The plan on Sunday was to go to a buffet that I had never heard of. Our friend said it had Chinese food and Mexican food, and it was huge. She gave me directions, but I really don’t function well on directions given to me orally in a strange town when I can’t even point to the hotel I’m staying in on a map (I just follow my GPS to get there!). I couldn’t even spell the name of the place from what they were saying, so finally I got her to spell it out so I could punch it into my phone’s GPS. It pulled up a result right away, I showed it to her, and she said, “Yes, that’s it!” Sarenth asked to ride with me, since I had the GPS and he was also unsure of the area. Everybody scattered, the others leaving directly for the restaurant, Sarenth and me and the girls to pack up his drums first.
The first thing we noticed leaving the hotel was the roads. Absolutely horrible, terrible, awful, I have never in my life seen roads that bad. There weren’t potholes, there were bloody SINKHOLES. There was one place where it was supposed to be a two-lane ramp from one road to the next. The entire width of the road was just nothing but craters, leaving nothing to be seen of the stripes on the road. The cars in front of us were single-file and meandering all over the road, trying (and failing!) to find a truly safe path through. The truck immediately in front of us was towing an empty trailer that bounced several feet off the ground no matter how slowly he went. When it came to be our turn, we slowly swerved from one side of the road to the other as I tried to navigate the minefield. I saw a little red sports car come up behind us, obviously thinking we were just slow and he was going to go around. Then we saw the Gap Chasm looming ahead of us, stretching from one side of the road to the other. Upon seeing it I wondered briefly whether turning around and giving up was a possibility. I eased into it, and the car actually stopped and needed to be gunned a bit to get each set of wheels over and beyond.
I didn’t see what became of the poor sports car.
About this time, we noticed that the estimated time to get to our destination was showing 30 minutes. This seemed a bit much for something that was supposed to be “right up the road,” so we tried texting our friends to double-check the destination. They never responded, and so we headed onward, over potholes that threatened the tires and slippery ice patches that tried to throw us off the road, reminiscing the day and weekend at Con. When we finally got there, Sarenth went on in to find the table everybody else was at while I paid for myself and the girls. As I was signing the receipt that committed us to that restaurant, with a line building behind me, we figured out the news.
We were at the wrong restaurant.
Apparently this buffet that neither of us had ever heard of was a chain with half a dozen restaurants scattered throughout the greater Detroit area. Everybody else had gone to one that was, indeed, right up the road from the hotel…in the opposite direction.
We were hungry, and we were obviously never going to get to the other restaurant before everybody else left, so we decided to cut our losses and just eat where we were. Perhaps it was that decision, that realization that our lunchtime fate was irretrievably diverted because we were too stupid to find a restaurant, that unleashed the floodgates of hilarity. Whatever it was, the laughter started pouring out, louder and greater the longer we ate. We laughed over how much meat to put on our grill plates, and how confused the grill chef was at our requests. We laughed at the girls knocking their chairs over and Caitlin getting blue teeth from the Superman ice cream. We toasted our gods and laughed at how incredibly silly the whole thing was.
The whole time we were laughing out loud and eating plates piled with meat, we were surrounded by a packed restaurant full of very nice Detroit families who looked like they were on their way to or from church, with nice dresses and hairdos and suits and ties. The place was full and getting fuller. There was a line out the door by the time we left. As we were leaving, I started to notice that we were getting some strange stares. And when we finally got out the door and back into the sunlight, the last straw hit me.
We had gone out the in door. Quite clearly marked, the out door was separated from the in door and line by a long wall. We had marched past that entire in-line, laughing and giggling, obviously going out the in door. I could just see the thoughts going through their heads: “What on earth is wrong with those crazy white people?????” And if they were looking at us funny for just laughing and doing silly things…how big would their eyes have been had we gone ahead with the runecasting there in the restaurant?!?!?!
We lost it. Just completely lost it. We were already laughing so hard we could barely breathe as we got into the car. As we pulled out, I noticed that two guys had followed us out and were still staring at us from their car in the next space over, and the laughter intensified again. It was all “Hail Loki!” as we got back on the highway for the hotel, with me laughing so damn hard I probably should have pulled over. We wondered what it would look like if we did get pulled over, and started laughing all over again. Even having three different cars at three different times try to sideswipe us didn’t stop the laughter. We didn’t stop laughing until we got to the Sinkhole Slums near the hotel.
It just fit in with the rest of my weekend, and poor Sarenth got to come along for the ride! The Viking Invasion will live on, in our personal history books at least. What a way to wrap up Con!