I had an unreasonably early start this morning and left my house while it still felt like the dead of night (although I am reliably informed that this sensation is known as 'winter'). Alone as I was, trudging down the street as lamps lit my way towards the station, something stirred in the back of my mind.
"Left my house while still dark," I tweeted. "Walking down the road in the pre-dawn darkness and I'm hit by memories of going to #Eroticon 2012..."
And so I did. I wasn't at the meet and greet drinks for the first 'con. Moreover, that one only lasted a day. A long day, granted, but since I was indisposed both the evening beforehand and the morning afterwards, I wanted to be sure I could get to Bristol, do 'con, have a meal and then get back to London all in a day. I'd only really been to Bristol once before, but I was sure it was possible.
"I had my ticket to Bristol," I elaborated, "but no way of getting into central London from where I was. I could just about get there if I walked into town ... as it was too early for buses and my local station wasn't running. It [was] a 40-45 minute journey on foot to the only station open..."
In fact, this was odd about my first 'con. I'd always assumed I'd be going, but hadn't actually gotten around to buying a ticket. I bought the cheapest day return to Bristol before buying a full-price ticket to the event itself (although I got both with little problem), as travel was on my mind at the time. I knew that I'd need to be at the venue by 8(ish); I even wanted to arrive into Bristol at 7:30, so I had time to explore and get lost, if that happened. (...it happened.) I could have walked to my local station, gone into central London and been in Bristol by 8(ish), but I didn't ant to chance it. I'd already missed drinks; I didn't want to miss another second.
"So I got up at 4:30 and walked."
And this I remember. It was the only real option, short of getting a taxi. I could walk across my London borough in just under an hour and get to the only station that was open at 5. Getting to Paddington would be a tight squeeze in terms of time, even that early, but I assumed (correctly, as it turns out) that I'd stand a better chance of making it as a result of my extra effort (less one hour in bed).
"I have a memory, even [now], of walking down the road..." I tweeted - not the same road I was walking down this morning, but close enough - although I had no idea, at the time, what 'con would be like. I went with no expectations, ready to take whatever was thrown at me; I was not disappointed.
"...freezing cold, under the pitch black sky, with a light in my heart."
Yeah, so Eroticon may not be without its occasional blips, but it does give me some of the best memories - like this one, when stumbling down a darkened road in the small hours feels more like the start of a brand new adventure.