The line eventually curved around the left side of the building, where we saw it eventually snaked again and brought everyone back in the opposite direction. I tried to see where it was going to turn around again...
...but I couldn't. That was because it didn't snake on the left side of the convention center. In fact, it didn't snake along the rear side, either. Both lines, going forward and reverse, ran the entire length of the crosswalk behind the convention center.
And then they kept going. The line only curved back around once it had entirely circled the building, which was funny since coming into Baltimore, I'd thought that part of this line had been people waiting for the light rail.
Some goofballs hung out beside the line begging for high fives. I give pounds, myself.
This was around 8:00 or so, waiting to reach the snake in the line, when things started to seriously slow. We were out there long enough to see it get dark.
It was while returning around the rear side of the convention center that the first diabetic had to leave to find food. That put my gripes into perspective, but also left me questioning Otakon's management. Word was not spreading well about what was going on.
Here's one photo of a bunch of people in a dark first-floor line. I sat in the same spot for an hour, living out an embarrassing fallacy that, given how long I'd waited, I couldn't possibly leave now.
Tech nerds around me asserted that it had to be computer problems. We didn't have any official word. After spending about two hours in the dark first floor lines, we went upstairs and found....
This queue ran the entire length of the building, snaking umpteen times, but at least it got moving. It got us here:
Which fed into a funny, narrow alley-line running along the bathrooms, where most of the water fountains had been disabled. I found this very funny. The people around me did not.
We made it out of the alley-lines to find:
This fed into Otakon's traditional line setup. So it was almost over! We saw the tethers and guides leading thousands of people to the registration booths, where some very tired staff were yelling instructions for how to most quickly get our badges. This was around 11:00 PM, when it was revealed that the convention computers had crashed at least three times. That explained some of the waiting,
Thinking it silly that I'd photo-diaried my journey, I snapped the registration booth. I hoped the hotel bar would at least still be open. It was near midnight, but there had been a football game that night.
So, here's the funny thing. The girl in front of me registered, and the system crashed again. I waited behind her as crashes cascaded down the registration desk. An angry IT guy ran around talking to the staffers, and I waited another half hour until the convention center staff (not the con staff) said we had to leave.
The 1000+ people still waiting in line had to go. I could only turn to the staffer and her broken computer, and apologize for all the people who were probably going to yell at her soon.
Being nimble, some staffers handed out free t-shirts and herded everyone across a skybridge and into the Hilton hotel across the street. This was the Midnight Run.
We lined up along the entire second floor of the Hilton...
...and then snaked back around. I can only imagine how psyched the Hilton staff was with this.
Remaining Otakon staff turned an info desk into a registration desk. Just as I was about to try to get my badge for the second time, a very angry young woman cut in front of me. I let her go, and didn't photograph her. I just laughed, which I think annoyed her more than calling her on it would have. Oh well.
My doctor wouldn't be happy with me having done all this. My body certainly wasn't. I got into my hotel room at 1:00 on the dot, according to its desk clock. I lay my head down and pondered why the hell I'd stayed in line.
I love Otakon, but this kind of thing can't happen again. Preparation includes running high stress system checks. I dread what might go wrong when they switch cities in 2017. Otakon is blessed with phenomenally patient and considerate fans. It could have gotten much uglier than a few people cutting in line and banging on windows.