So last weekend I flew to Adelaide to meet up with some people I met online. Now I’m posting about it on my blog. And I’m single, ladies!
The Pointless Waste of Time forums have a long tradition of meetups, called “cheesefests” because of an incident at the first one which people are legally required not to ever mention. There’s been fests is several countries. Last year there was a major fest in Perth which I couldn’t get to because I’d been feeling quite good about myself at that point, and didn’t want to bring my mood down by flying to the other side of the country to meet internet people.
However I’ve been in a funk of self-pity and melancholy for several weeks now, and so decided this year’s fest in Adelaide was the one for me.
* * * *
Explaining to people where I was going, and the reason, was tough. If I just came out and said “I’m meeting people I met online” they looked at me askance and asked if perhaps I really need to sink that low for casual sexual encounters. Even worse is when I added they’re mostly guys, at which point people’s eyebrows shot up and they got this little smirk, and said “well, we’ve suspected for some time.”
So I stopped telling people the absolute, unvarnished truth, and said things like “I’m meeting up with some people who write for the same website I do”. Which is true, up to a point. Several of those people have written articles for Cracked, and the ones who haven’t have still “written” messages on the forums. So I hadn’t been completely honest. They were little white lies, which hurt no one except Baby Jesus, and quite frankly he can take a few hits for the sake of my ego.
I was staying in Adelaide with friend of olilolo David “Mauso” Ryan. Mauso had used his credit card to book the motel we would be staying in, and indeed, I had left all the accomodation details up to him. My only proviso was that it be somewhere between “cheap” and “midnight organ harvesting” on the price range.
He didn’t disappoint. When we arrived at the place the reception lady spent five minutes talking up how wonderful Adelaide was, all the things to do and sights to see. We were quite taken with her description of the city. Then she informed us, in a solemn tone, that we should be careful if we came back after midnight, because “things happen around here”. She did the little left-right look and then leaned in close. “I’m not racist, but there’s a lot of asians around, and most of them carry guns”.
Mauso and I thanked her and slowly backed out of the reception office.
* * * *
Adelaide is a nice town. Well, it says it’s a city, but it’s not fooling anybody. I don’t think there’s a single building in the CBD which is more than fifteen stories, and I think at one point I saw a man on horseback. I was drunk at the time so take that as you will.
But it is a nice town. There’s a feeling of homeliness about it. This is of course a big ruse, perpetuated by the denziens of the city, all of whom are mass murderers in one form or another. Don’t be fooled kids, and always be on your guard. I was. Several people attempted to appraoch me as I walked through the Rundle Mall, claiming to be “buskers” or even “Tourism SA Volunteers” but a swift blow to the throat quickly dispatched all comers. My kidneys were returning home with me.
* * * *
Invigorated by the afternoon neckpunching and stroll through the city, we went to the house of one of the posters who actually lived in Adelaide and had foolishly agreed to host the event. A few other people had also flown in that same day, and we’d agreed to kick things off with some beers and polite conversation
Meeting people in real life who you talk to on the internet is a weird experience. On the net, you have the seperation of cyberspace between you and the other people, you can create a different aura for yourself, hell, even reinvent yourself completely.
Thus there was some unconfortableness when it was discovered I wasn’t actually a 15 year old girl named Daisy. Especially from a couple of the guys. However that was all sorted out with a surprisingly small amount of fuss. My blackmail dossiers on each of them helped matters.
And so the fest began! Of course, being a group of socially awkward geeks made the conversational flow falter for the first few hours. However after around 3 hours of silence punctuated by polite coughing, everyone began to get drunk enough to loosen up, and the party flowed from there. So much so that five or six people managed to finish several cartons of beer. This was a particularly gritty social wheel, and it needed a fair amount of lubricant.
* * * *
The next day saw me still with all my organs, yet unfortunately also sporting a large hangover. I added a greasy breakfast and more beer to that collection, and the day was on.
There were more people at the house that night, pretty much the full attendance. Beer bottles began piling up in small mounds which would occasionally suffer little tinkling avalanches. Jokes were told, stories shared, and all that other faggy stuff. It was a good time.
* * * *
Saturday was a very fun day, if only because I added further to my life experience. I fired a gun. Several guns, in fact.
In a remarkable display of stupidity, we had decided to go shooting after drinking for two days straight and nursing hangovers the size of a small cow. Several of us (certainly not me) nodded off during the safety briefing video and had to be shaken awake before the instructors saw and played the damn thing again.
Then we were lead into the firing range. Two revolver styles guns and some bullets were laid out before me. I picked up the first weapon and caressed it, feeling it’s weight, noticing its length. I ran my hands along it, gently, reverently, with respect and admiration. I kissed it, softly. The other guys were looking at me wierdly by this point. I have no idea why.
I gave the bullets names as I slid them into the chambers. Ex-lovers, corporate enemies, abusive nannies, all were assigned a cartrige. As I fired off round after round tears streamed down my face, the staccato of gunfire only barely drowning out my anguished sobbing. Afterwards, I felt clean, whole for the first time in years. Also I had some sweet shot-up targets for my wall.
I was surprised by the actual experience of firing a gun. When you do it in computer games you do it instinctively, without thinking., Also you can eat cheetos while you do it. There was a disappointing lack of cheetos at the range. But more importantly, you start to realise that, holy shit, this thing that I am holding could fucking kill someone. If I were, for example, to take the two clips provided to me for the 9mm and mow down everyone present one by one before tearfully turning the weapon on myself, there would really be nothing they could do to stop me.
Then I realised that they all had guns as well, and I put the idea aside. This must be how America works.
* * * *
We again went back to the house and commenced to go on the most prolific bender yet, lasting literally around 12 hours of very solid drinking. Some intrepid and strong-stomached soul captured the magic of this evening and the others on video. Part 1, Part 2. (A warning, that is twenty minutes of people you don’t know being drunk at a party. Pretty much only stalkers and the chronically bored should watch them.)
As we stumbled to the waiting taxi at 3 o’clock that following morning, I attempted to thank Sephira, whose house we had filled with lucrative bottles (you can redeem them for 10 cents in Adelaide, meaning Seph now had about a year’s income in glass). Unfortunately, I was a little under the weather, and I think it sounded more like “gurgleburblehouseglurgle”. But I think she got the message.
* * * *
And there you have it. My tale of how I beat the Adelaide murder-gauntlet practically singlehandedly and also went to a party with a bunch of cool people from the internet. Seriously you guys, I can’t wait till the next one. Which is a pretty sad indictment on my social life, but I stand by the statement.