Although I had heard about Bloggers in Sin City a few years ago, it wasn’t something I thought I would particularly enjoy going to. Granted, I had become aware of it during my “Whoo-Hoo/Par-Tay” phase of my life, so the idea of Vegas was appealing, but spending what I assumed would be every waking moment surrounded by people I didn’t know, engaging in activities I was sure to hate, didn’t really strike me as “fun.” “I have more than enough friends!” I’d rationalize, “I don’t need to pretend to be buddy-buddy with a bunch of Internet People! Scoff! Pshaw! Other sounds indicating my derision!” With that, I put the idea of BiSC out of my mind entirely, returned to my multi-year rut, and didn’t think of it again. It wasn’t until Dominique, who is one of my closest friends and is also insanely short 1, showed an adventurous spirit I was sorely lacking and made the journey to Vegas to hang out with the people I had dismissed years before.
And when she got back, she did not shut up about it.
“It was such an amazing time!” she would exclaim over Skype almost daily. She would go on and on about how great an experience it was, and how incredible the people she met there were. This, of course, nearly left me with eyes that would have to be surgically un-rolled from the back of my head. I mean, I’ve worked retail for longer than I care to admit, so I know that people, generally, are douches. And Internet People? Have you seen the YouTube comment thread? They’re the worst people of them all! Her non-stop extolling of the virtues of her newfound friends left me with only one logical conclusion: BiSC was actually a cult, and my friend had been brainwashed. However, as they had not yet asked her to shave her head and give them her life’s savings, and the effort required to undo this psychological manipulation would exceed “minimal”, I decided to leave well enough alone. She off-handedly mentioned during one of our talks that I should go with her to BiSC the following year, to which I told her I’d think about it. To me, my waffling blow-off was a clear indicator that I would not be joining her. To her, it was a crack in my armor that she would have to chip at in order to get me to go. And chip away she did.
It helped that a strange string of coincidences came to her aid. Last October, I was joining Dominique, her boyfriend, and their friends in a mansion in Beverley Hills, but had decided to get to Los Angeles a few days before they would be there in order to take a rental car to visit my friend in Idaho. Thanks to a screw up by Priceline, and my chronic lack of financial planning, I was unable to get the rental car and was left essentially homeless in LAX. After making a snarky comment about it on Twitter, I received a panicked phone call from Dominique.
I suppose I should clarify the sort of friendship Dominique and I have: whereas I am totally okay with things going crazy and having to survive on the fly, Dominique is a bit more about planning things out, so my pending reenactment of The Terminal, where Tom Hanks plays a hapless traveller stuck at JFK International Airport, did not sit very well with her. And when my special brand of adventure makes her uneasy, Dominique goes into rescue mode, which has saved my ass more times than I can count, and more frequently than I deserve. She’s awesome, and everyone should have a friend like her. 2 After once again bailing me out of trouble, she tweeted out that I needed a lift to the hotel that I would be staying at until she got into LA, and I quickly got a response from Sara, someone she had met at BiSC the year prior.
You may recall that, a few paragraphs back, I mentioned that I think most people are crappy. And while I would usually be happy to help someone out in a time of need, I tend to think that impulse ends just short of “picking up someone from an airport because they are friends with someone I hung out with for a weekend.” Yet here we were: my frazzled, been-awake-for-far-too-long self being picked up by a friend of a friend, and she was seemingly happy to do it. Happy, you guys. I can count the number of friends I have that I would describe as “happy” on one hand, and it doesn’t often take much to throw that state of mind out the window, so this was new. On our way to the hotel, we talked about Dominique (and her general awesomeness), how I ended up in the situation I was in, how I had never had In-and-Out Burger 3, and BiSC. When I off-handedly mentioned that Dominique was trying to convince me to go, Sara essentially told me that I had to. 4
I don’t know if it was the sleep deprivation, the relief that I would not have to duck the TSA for a few days while living in an airport, or the fact that I was excited to not be facing a few days sleeping in uncomfortable chairs, but that blew my mind. Here was someone I just met, who certainly didn’t feel like a stranger despite having been speaking for a whopping ten minutes, saying I should jump on a plane and hang out with a bunch of people she was friends with in Vegas for a weekend. That didn’t happen in my world, and I certainly didn’t consider doing it, right?
Except that I had felt like I was in a rut for a long time. Despite my claims of adventure and impulsive actions, everything I did was painfully safe. I was comfortable and complacent in my life, and I was tired of it – there needed to be new things, actual adventure, and chances taken. So, it was at that moment that I actually did begin to consider going to BiSC. I wasn’t there yet, of course, because I was so set in my ways that it would be like making a u-turn in a battleship, but I started to come around.
I had mentioned this to Dominique, and she went right back to work chipping away at excuses to not go. I wasn’t keen on the idea of random roommate pairings? She told me she had a friend who I would get along great with that she would ask to be my roommate. I hate gambling? There’s other ways that are my speed to blow cash there. I don’t drink anymore? What better way to rub that in the face of everyone who said I wouldn’t be able to maintain that than to be awesome in Vegas, booze-free? She had a counter-argument to every doubt I had, and pressed until eventually I just gave my credit card information and signed up for what had the potential to be the most awkward weekend of my life.
And thus began a few months of steeling myself to hate the people I would meet and prove that Dominique’s assessment of them was clearly all wrong. Cynicism would win the day.
Tomorrow on eTM: How I stopped being a frowny-faced wiener and bathed in the BiSC Kool-Aid.
- Not that her height has anything to do with it, I just like to remind her of it daily. ↩
- But not exactly her, of course. Find your own Dominique, this one is mine. ↩
- Which we went and had the next day and oh man you guys amazing. ↩
- Well, that’s how I remember it, anyway. And it makes for a good story, so that’s what I’m sticking to. ↩