Previously on eTM: eD! had decided to go to Bloggers in Sin City, a yearly meet-up of Internet people that his friend, Dominique, had been to the year before. Armed with his cynicism and a fundamental distrust that a large group of people can be anything but a barrel of suck, he arrives in McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, where we rejoin our commentary, already in progress.
I constantly hear this specious statistic that most people are afraid of getting in front of a large crowd and speaking than they are of their own death. If by some weird chance that is the case, I am proud to say that I am not one of those people. In fact, I can’t think of a situation that I am more comfortable in than when I am having to put on the show for a group, regardless of my preparation level. I’m just awesome like that.
What I am shockingly not good at, however, is meeting new people. I tend to play out the reaction to everything I could say in my head to the point that I just sit there not saying anything at all. It’s weird, and a fairly recent (within the past seven years) kink in my personality that I am actively trying to expunge, because it’s annoying. One of the ways I get around it, of course, is by being super-cynical about people in general; who cares if someone doesn’t think you’re awesome when the odds are that they suck, right? It is with that completely psychologically healthy mindset that I went into BiSC, prepared to be ostracized and cranky for a week.
When we arrived the day before BiSC was scheduled to start, I had figured I’d go up to my room in the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, take a shower, perhaps engage in a power nap and go exploring by myself. I mean, Dominique had friends that she would be meeting up with from her last BiSCventure, and I wasn’t going to horn in on that – I’m not that kind of dude. However, after what might have been the greatest cab ride in the world ((In Vegas, Steve Wynn narrates your drive. If there was a service where you could pay Steve Wynn to narrate your life, I would happily sign up immediately.)), I began to follow Dominique to what I assumed was the elevators, but turned out to be the bar where the BiSCuits ((The title bestowed upon anyone who attends BiSC, in case you couldn’t figure that out yourself.)) were meeting up. There I was, half-functioning suitcase in hand, ready to punch a nun in the face to take a shower, having to attempt to be social. As if my aforementioned discomfort about meeting new people wasn’t enough to shut me down, the rest of the situation was enough to make me want to curl under the table and hide for a few hours. After I realized I was starting to fall asleep at the table, I did excuse myself long enough to take a brief shower and come back down, prepared to start feeling all the hesitation that comes with meeting people.
Except that it didn’t come. At all. For the entire event. Which was weird as hell and incredibly disorienting.
The few days was a whirlwind of awesome things, all done with awesome people, in a place that had its weather on lock. ((Seriously, New York, I love you and all, but this mercurial “It’s hot! Now it’s cold! Hope you enjoyed that 15 seconds of spring, here’s some fall for you bitches!” stuff has to stop.)) I ate so much at buffets that it is a complete miracle that I didn’t return home weighing 700 pounds. I learned that slots are boring, but roulette is awesome. I wore a white suit to hang out on the roof of a nightclub. I saw Cirque du Soleil, and was so figuratively drunk on the positive vibes and rad people who I was with that I forgot that I don’t really like Cirque du Soleil! All the while, I was making jokes and interacting with people as if I had known them for years – hell, some of them I was talking to more openly than I usually talk to people who have known me for decades.
Here’s the thing, gang: my original thesis that no group of strangers could possibly be as gee-whiz-gosh-shucks amazing as Dominique said they were was unquestionably wrong. And if you know me, you’re likely aware that the idea of me ever openly expressing that I’m incorrect about something is only slightly less likely than Scarlett Johansson showing up at my office right now begging me to marry her. ((I checked, she’s not here. Dammit.)) And it’s those very same people that I had dismissed years ago that helped let me see what has been gnawing away at the back of my brain for years: I didn’t grow up a pessimistic, cynical ass, but it was something I became. Every year, I grew slightly less inspired to do things, and I could never quite point to why. And with BiSC, I saw the Matrix code behind it.
I think the last week I spent without some form of angst or drama was back in the 4th grade, and probably not even then. When the part of your life that is filled with toxic crap is replaced with generally positive people and awesome activities for a day? That’s gold. When it happens for nearly a week, as was the case with BiSC? That’s goddamn addictive, kids, and I got hooked like it was crystal meth. It wore down my cynical defenses and let me – wait for it – have some freakin’ feelings about things.
I know. It was weird for me, too. I’ll give you a day to recover before we talk about it.
Friday on eTM: Feelings, Realizations, and Other Parting Gifts That Are Not Herpes.