I Went to the Desert, and it Rained.
Hi internet. I’m back from “sunny” Las Vegas. I didn’t actually see this alleged sun very much while I was there, but I’ve heard tons of assurances that the rain we had ALL WEEKEND was some sort of freak occurrence. Suuuuure, Las Vegas. If it never rains there, how do you explain the giant lake in front of Bellagio? How do you explain the canals inside The Venetian? Likely story, Vegas.
The purpose of my trip was to meet some of the fine writers I have the pleasure of counting myself among at MamaPop. I thought I would get into a long, detailed chronicle of the weekend, but it honestly wouldn’t translate, so I will share some reflections.
At some point, while waiting for brunch at Black Hockey Jesus‘s lovely home, I had this bittersweet little pang. Because, you see, most of these people were just pictures and text to me until Friday night, but here they all turned out to be REAL people made of flesh and blood and bone, and here we were together in the same room. It was the realization of how wonderful and, yet, how unfair the Internet can be. The relationships I’ve made with these writers online showed me how many wonderful, bright, funny people exist — not just those precious few whom I see on a near-daily basis, but all over the place — and that I may interact with them from thousands of miles away. At the same time, that textual contact cannot begin to compare to sitting down to a meal, or laughing in unison at the same joke or staring incredulously at the same ridiculous cover band. When I giggled with Miss Banshee or chatted with Goon Squad Sarah, or talked about books with Schmutzie and Palinode, I called them by their “real” names, I heard their laughs, I saw their wry expressions. I learned little things I never thought about when they were just words on a screen, like that PetCobra orders his martinis with three olives just like I do, or that Sarah truly does have an amazing recollection for 80s one-hit-wonder bands, like Quarterflash.
I guess I just mean that I felt like I was with “my people” this weekend, and now they’re back where they came from. I’m very wistful. On Friday night, I stumbled into a bar with a cheesy cover band on stage and a table of strangers in the back, each with a slightly familiar face. Yet, when I sat down, I found I knew them all along, even though their voices were unfamiliar and their names seemed foreign as I uttered them in place of their online aliases. Having all these people in one room was very much like the convergence of miniature versions of the world’s great great cities on Las Vegas Boulevard: surreal.
Then, just two days later, a great wind blew us all to our separate places on the continent. Here they are again, in text boxes and still images, same as I found them. Only now it kinda bums me out that I can’t see Sarah’s “really?” face and kdiddy‘s hairy eyeball or hear Sweetney‘s delightful laugh. And oh GOD, the fact that I can’t watch TV in bed with Miss Banshee is torture — making fun of Top Chef over IM will never compare.
In the words of kdiddy yesterday on Twitter: “I don’t see why I can’t have all my favorite people in one place in one time. it’s 2009.”
The internet is great. It’s become a place for me to write, to create, network, and meet wonderful people. But today, I am profoundly aware that, in the case of friendship and community, the digital world will never be an adequate substitute for the analog.
Entry filed under: friends, Intarwebs. Tags: Bellagio, blackhockeyjesus, blogging, friends, kdiddy, Las Vegas, MamaPop, missbanshee, palinode, petcobra, sarahandthegoonsquad, schmutzie, sweetney, the Venetian, twitter, writing, ZOMGinternets!!1.