Warning - This story contains possible spoilers. If you haven't heard the 2016 ComicCon discussion and wish to remain unspoiled, you may want to hold off on reading this story.
Please note, except for what was discussed at ComicCon and checking out the cast and crew members' Instagram posts, I am planning on going spoiler-free this season. Please refrain from mentioning similarities/differences with this story and the taping report until the episode has aired. Thank you for understanding :)
Summary - Sheldon and Amy attend a flag convention. Canon through season 9.
Sheldon wheeled his suitcase to Amy's car. "Thank you for agreeing to attend the convention with me."
"You're welcome. I'm so excited to be going on vacation with my boyfriend."
"Amy, Amy, Amy. How many times have I told you, this is not a vacation. This is an educational experience."
"Well, I'm counting it as a vacation. We're going out of town for the whole weekend and staying in a hotel."
"Fine, call it a vacation." He hoisted his suitcase into the trunk. "Did you get a tuneup?"
"Yes, Sheldon. I took the car in yesterday after work. They changed the oil and checked all the fluid levels and the tire pressure."
"Maybe we should check the tire pressure again. You may have driven over some glass on your way over."
She gave him an exasperated look. "I didn't drive over any glass. We really should get going if we want to arrive at a reasonable hour."
Amy got in and clicked in her seat belt. Sheldon produced a GPS and two tiny bottles of water from his messenger bag then followed suit.
"I preprogrammed the GPS to make a rest stop break at the Coalinga/Avenal Northbound Rest Area 2.5 hours away. We're each allotted 8 ounces of water so we can make it to our stop."
He pressed the 'Start' button and set the gadget on the dashboard then placed the beverages in the cup holders.
As they headed down I-210 W towards San Jose, Sheldon bounced in his seat. "Can you believe that this year's NAVA meeting will be held practically in our own backyard?"
"What are the odds?" Amy replied dryly.
"As this year is the 50th annual meeting, and it's only been held in California 4 times, the odds are 4 in 50, or to be mathematically correct, 2 in 25," he said, taking her rhetoric question literally.
She glanced at him quickly, sending him a sweet smile, before refocusing on the road ahead of them.
He returned her smile. "I'll finally have a chance to speak with other flag aficionados. Did you know that the colors of the association's flag represent the flag colors of the two countries that the association consists of - the US and Canada?"
"I didn't know that. Thanks for enlightening me."
They drove a few miles before Sheldon spoke again. "Let's play a game to pass the time."
"Okay. What do you have in mind?"
"Since we're attending a flag convention, it would be fitting to play a flag-related game. We'll ask each other questions. Whoever has the least correct answers when we arrive at the hotel has to buy dinner, and the winner gets to choose the restaurant."
"I already know I'm going to lose, but why not."
"Oh goody. I'll go first. Who coined the term 'vexillology'?
"I wish," he snorted. "Seriously though, any reasonable guesses?"
"Um... President Ford?"
"Amy, if you're not going to take this seriously..."
"I give up."
He looked at her incredulously. "The answer is Dr. Whitney Smith. I've referenced him in several Fun With Flags episodes. I can't believe you don't remember. Your turn."
She pursed her lips in concentration. "Okay, what design is featured on the South Carolina state flag?"
"That's an easy one. It's a white palm tree and crescent moon on a field of blue. What is the only country whose national flag is non-quadrilateral?"
"Very good, Amy."
"See, I listen."
They questioned each other back and forth over the next hour. Sheldon answered every question correctly, while Amy had only three correct.
"Looks like I'll be buying dinner tonight."
He tapped her arm playfully. "You don't know that. We still have another four and a half hours."
Amy slowed down to avoid hitting the semi in front of them. When the passing lane was clear, she pulled into it and sped up, leaving the slower vehicle behind.
Sheldon peered at the speedometer and gasped. "Oh dear Lord, we're speeding!"
"I'm only going 2 miles over the speed limit. We'll be fine."
He gripped the door handle as he checked the rearview mirror and scanned the roads. "What if the highway patrol hasn't met their weekly quota?"
"I've passed one truck. All the other vehicles have been passing us. They'll go after those people," she reasoned but eased up on the gas pedal slightly.
He released his white-knucle grip and sighed with relief as the car's speed slowed to match the speed limit. "We should get back to our game if you want a chance to win."
"Let's talk about something other than flags."
"Talk about something other than flags? Do you hear yourself, woman? Flags are the whole reason we're on this journey."
Amy tightened her grip on the steering wheel. "This is my first trip to San Jose. I'd like to see some of the city while we're there. The first lecture doesn't start until 3:30 tomorrow, so we'll have some free time this evening and tomorrow morning."
"What do you suggest?"
"There's the Winchester Mystery House, San Pedro Square Market, the Tech Museum of Innovation..."
"The museum sounds like something we might both enjoy."
"Great. I'd like to check out the market, too, and maybe tonight we can go for a walk."
Sheldon's eyes widened in fear. "Walk in a strange city after dark? What if we get lost... or mugged?"
"We're not going to get lost. We both have GPS on our phones. And the odds of us being mugged are slim. If we run into trouble, I have pepper spray in my purse," she replied calmly.
"What else do you have in there? I don't suppose you packed any snacks?"
"Not in my purse, but I do have a bag of mixed Cheerios in the glove box for you. I even added some Apple Jacks."
"Awww... You remembered how I like them." He removed the bag and munched quietly.
They spent the remainder of the drive enjoying each other's company, discussing both flag and non-flag-related subjects.
When they arrived at the hotel, they were greeted by a large banner emblazoned with the association's flag and a message.
'Welcome to the 50th annual North American Vexilogical Association meeting!'
Amy pulled into a spot near the lobby door. The moment she turned the engine off, Sheldon flung the passenger-side door open. "Take a picture of me with the sign!"
Amy smiled to herself. Her boyfriend was acting like a kid in a candy store, and his enthusiasm was contagious. She extracted her phone from her purse and snapped a few pictures.
A hotel guest stopped and asked if she would also like to be in the picture. She handed her phone to him and stood next to her boyfriend. In his excitement, he wrapped an arm around her waist, and they both smiled wide for the camera.
After they thanked their cameraman for his help, they gathered their luggage and proceeded to the check-in desk.