Well, today was that day again, the day when 100,000 desperate comic book fans, in anticipation of this coming July's Comic-Con International, all attempt to book the 17 available San Diego hotel rooms at precisely the same time, which is not unlike trying to stuff 100,000 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack. It is, I think I can safely say without fear of contradiction, the worst annual experience of my life. Trust me, those poor people waiting for the starting gun all those long years ago to begin the Oklahoma Land Rush had it easier than we do. At 9 AM Pacific Time, the floodgates open, and the TravelPlanners, Inc. website is instantly overwhelmed.
I logged on precisely at 9, waited forever for the site to load, and started trying to book a hotel room, all while constantly dialing and redialing the site's phone number in hopes of speaking to an actual person. All I got for two-and-a-half hours was a busy signal on the phone. On the website, I fared little better. Every time I would click on a hotel I wanted and begin the registering process, at some point along the way, the site would hiccup and throw me back to the beginning. When I would go back to the hotel I had attempted to book only a moment before, it would now read as full, so I would go on to my second choice, the site would hiccup, I'd lose the booking, go to my third choice, hiccup, hiccup, ad infinitum, ad most assuredly naseum. This went on for over two hours, until I finally managed to book one of the few hotel rooms still remaining. This was far from my first choice, far from my fiftieth choice. Let me put it this way. San Diego is 200 miles south of Los Angeles and, as near as I can figure it, I'm currently booked into a hotel room about six blocks away from my house.
Rumor has it that next year there will be a whole lot more rooms available, since several new hotels will have finished construction and there will be fewer competing conventions in town. Let's hope so.
Frankly, this sort of stress makes me want to take up stamp collecting.