I get so anxious about meeting new people. I get flop sweat, my stomach goes in knots and I tend to stumble, over my words, over my feet, over anything and nothing at all. I have a comfort zone, a small circle of friends that I am at ease with, who get me, who understand my complete and utter lack of anything resembling style or grace or put-together-ness. I'm rather like a hippo in a tutu - slightly ridiculous and liable to knock over the china cabinet at any moment.
It was with some amazement that I found myself signing on for BlogFriendsFest '08 earlier this spring. daysgoby was going and she and I have been online friends for about 4 years now. We talk on the phone fairly regularly and I was really wanting to meet her. This seemed like a great excuse.
As the weeks wore on, I saw who else was coming. MamaTulip! I love her! Kittenpie! I love her, too! Some bloggers signed up but then had to drop out for various reasons, but still. There was a solid core of about 20 women who were going to be there. Some I'd heard of, some I hadn't, but I didn't care. I was determined that I was going, and that I was going to have a good time, dammit.
Well. Good time? I don't think I've laughed so hard or for so long in years. I woke up on Sunday morning with my stomach aching from all the laughing from the night before. I looked in the mirror and saw laugh lines etched around my mouth (and if those don't go away, well, BFF can pay for my botox...on second thought, maybe not.)
I spent pretty much the entire day Friday on a train. Amtrak is slooooooow. We ran about an hour and half behind schedule but I didn't mind too much. I had my iPod loaded up with episodes of This American Life and I had Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince to read (which I finished somewhere around Buffalo). The leg room on the train was fantastic and all the chairs had little recliner things in them as well as foot rests on the seat in front. It was much better than traveling by plane.
When I finally arrived in Niagara Falls, I had enough time to wash up, change, meet my other roommate Gabriella, before heading down to the cocktail party, which was hosted by Random House Canada. Metro Mama works for them, as a publicist (and I want her job), so this party was her baby. There were free books! And free wine! And free food! Wheeeeeee! And all these women. *gulp* I had a momentary attack of the wobbles, but tried to nail a smile to my face and fake some confidence I wasn't feeling. (I need to work on that smile thing - Kittenpie thought I was very serious. I guess I am, a bit, but I don't want to be dour, y'know?)
(The book, by the way, is The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, and it looks to be a fantastic read. As soon as I'm done with Anne of Green Gables [hush], I'll be diving in to that one.)
After the cocktail party, we headed up to Blog Chocolate's (And she? Is so fucking funny. And unbelievably gorgeous, to boot.) room. There was more wine and snacks and laughter and chatting with some fabulous, funny (seriously - pee-your-pants funny) women. It was like the best slumber party in the world, without the drama and angst. We finally headed to bed around 2:30 in the morning. I lay in bed, pretending to read, but in reality, going over the night, the jokes and silliness and fascinating conversations I had with women I'd just met, women who'd made me feel comfortable and who'd made me laugh and think and left me starry-eyed.
I'll leave off here.... there was so much packed into one weekend that it's going to require another post to go over it all. It involved more wine (but of course) and a great round table discussion and even more laughter.
(photo of Blog Chocolate as Botox Zombie courtesy of Mama Tulip and her UglyCam.)