I slept Thursday night, skipping out on the club and on work, not because of some irresponsibility, but because I could not sleep all day. It was pretty tragic and I was kind of coming apart at the seams because of it. Last week was definately not a banner week for sleep. But, because of this, I woke up Friday morning refreshed and ready to head down to Blacksburg. Unfortunately I had to wait a little bit because Jack and I had different ideas about hitting the road, however; I feel I can safely skip over that because I learned some things about how to handle it in the future, like for example if I want him to go anywhere being more up front about what it will entail. (And he made up for any getting-on-the-road slacking by putting up with well, the entire rest of the weekend with grace and aplomb.) We got on the road at 4pm. We got to blacksburg at 10pm. It could have been worse.
There were lots of people around Friday evening, but most of the ones I knew were busily running around getting things together for games/registration/video etc., and didn't seem to be in kibbutz mode. We tried to entertain ourselves at the amateur film fest but "Bubbas in the Mist" wasn't doing it for us. (Really, kind of offensive and not that funny, sorry to say.) Finally I found DG who was gaming with FH and JC, and we settled down and discussed the latest VA Tech debacle. JC was almost unrecognizable from the time I had known him in college... Los Angeles has either been really kind, or really cruel to him! After that, we settled in early in the Amerisuites, which despite NOT being the hotel the con was at, had a NICE freaking suite. They also had a nice continental breakfast, which I shared jovially with Denise before heading over to the con in the morning. I left Jack snoozing since I didn't really think it was fair to wake him up just for some intensive "olden days" reminiscing.
And it was reminiscing we had, when I attended the FanGoH panel which was in honor of myself... and approximately 23 other people who all at some point lived in Apartment One. (Short history: for 17 continuous years people from VT sci fi & fantasy club have been renting in this one apartment.) I got to meet the newest resident, and see the current residents (one of whom was my roommate in '96-'97) and many of the others from before. I learned that when my ex lived there, it's possible that dogs peed on his head; I also learned the sordid truth that markush really did come home halfway through that strip poker game. How I can still feel incredibly embarrassed about something stupid and drunk I did more than 6 years ago I don't know, but there it is. One of my other roommates from then has a little baby now... hell, there were a gjillion kids there. There were people I knew from reputation, people I knew intimately from living around them for 4 years... people I have never seen before and will never see again. I noticed that none of the LARPers were familiar to me at all. Fine, since I had no desire to LARP at all. Only one person came up to me and said something to the effect of "you're the one from Space Rogues!" I checked the art show and met Dwight's new Mini Cooper and then went to find Jack and get some lunch. We feasted at the India Garden where the waiter kept giving us dirty looks for no apparent reason, and then drove and walked around campus.
This is the part where Jack had to put up with my maudlin introspective junk. It was definately a personal trip for me, and I should have thought about that, or given more credit to it. I should have driven, so I could take the turns as I wanted... I should have considered that alot of what I would be doing this weekend would be talking and thinking about the past, my time at Tech, and who I am because of it. In a way it made the convention difficult as well, because things just weren't the same. Part of this was that tzel was not there. This seriously cut into the facility of our enjoyment of things. Traditionally, she's always been my social director... she leads and I follow in that crowd. Without her lead, things were just different... although I can't blame it all on that. More on that later.
After lunch and wandering and more lazing about the hotel room, we went back to the Red Lion to see Steven Brust talk. Now, I've never read any of his books, but you know why should that stop me. Most of the questions people were asking were very character-specific. I got most of it, and he was funny, so that was cool. He told a great Jesus joke and blurred the line between fan and fan-object. I followed him to the bar and got him to sign a book; I said something REALLY stupid to him while getting the autograph. Nonetheless, sneaky gift acquired, I had a drink and headed to the masquerade. This is part 2 of Jack being incredibly nice and patient: they tapped me to be a judge since I was a FanGoH, so no matter how tedious the proceedings, Jack couldn't really leave and was too polite to pull out a book and start reading. I thought the Vile One sketch was pretty damn funny, but I'm thinking that for someone not familiar with the 948753957 in jokes, it would have been damn boring. It was nice to be useful, though, and Tom and Don made the whole award-giving process painless by being extremely prepared. I remember Tom and Don well from years past; I doubt they remember me much though. :) One plus: got to see Moira do some fine bellydancing. Rowr. After that was over, I went to change, soothe boyfriend, and purchase beer.
Saturday night is dance time. Usually this is a very well-populated event with alot of people I know. This was not the case this year for the bits I noticed. I spent most of the evening in the room party getting my drink on. I was having a hard time ingratiating myself; I chatted with SG (room host) about Intermedia, looked through AC's photo album and became extremely wistful, and had about 4 ciders. I did attend the dance for the one super-important part: the Paradise by the Dashboard Light competition. This is like, absolutely my favorite part of the whole damn thing, historically. I get to be theatrical and people play on the dance floor and you get to be flirty and it's just in general super extra fun. Our couple which morphed into a trio when cxi162 decided he wanted RN more than I did won the whole kit and kaboodle... I hope it wasn't because there wasn't ROOM for anyone else to dance because of our flailing. Jack missed this because he confessed to despising the song. OOPS. I got depressed immediately after when there was no one to dance with me to "Cry Little Sister" so I headed back to drink more. Which resulted in: Long-Ass Philosophical/Political debate with RN, Moira, and rubinpdf which at times got personal, at times inflammatory, at times conciliatory, and finally just Damn Loud and we were asked to disperse. Moira egged me on to go back to school. I really do want to, but that internal debate/plan is for another LJ entry.
When I awoke the next morning at a ridiculous 8:30, I had a combo drink/smoke hangover. Bleah. We had to be out of the room by 11, I dropped off my stuff at white elephant as donations (because it was going to take 23847257 hours to wait to actually register it) and stopped for food before escaping town early. I missed out on having lunch with AS and DG because of my intense blah-ness and desire to go home. This is a major regret of the weekend. It was either good or bad we left early; about 10 miles south of 66 traffic on 81 stopped DEAD. People getting out of their cars, hanging out on the highway, etc. Thus part 4 of Jack being the nicest, most patient man ever because anyone else I've ever dated would have injured themselves with explosive frustration by that point. During the trip I read him the entirety of The Shadow over Innsmouth which was a nice diversion, I enjoy reading aloud.
Thank god I took Sunday off in advance, because ugh. Exhaustion. Despite the exhaustion, we went to Flanagan's to see the Maggie Drennon band and see our friends and as bronzemountain said, "pre-emptively" celebrate St. Patrick's day. We only saw the first part of the set because I was too tired to even lift the edges of my mouth to smile, and a cup of coffee didn't matter - I was going to sleep RIGHT THEN. Jack had somehow become energized and dropped me off and continued on to visit his bro et al., whereas I used my last ounce to put fresh sheets on my bed and then fall into it. I vaguely remember him coming back to curl up with me and then all is dark pits of sleep, with dreams of my past and (hopefully not) future dancing in my head. I reluctantly sent him off to work in the morning, and spent the rest of the day being lazy apart from hitting the Book Nook (acquired: Wollstonecraft, Steinem, random embroidery book) and Safeway. I read 50 more pages in AoMX and then slept until work. (Thank goodness I woke up by 10; I forgot to set my alarm.) And now, here I am, back in my present.
I regret spending so much time badmouthing Dale this weekend. I regret that so much of my life that involved me with all these perfectly nice people came out of a time when my life pretty much revolved around being obsessed with him and ruled by my emotions about him. I kept having to tell people that they helped me through a really dark horrible time in my life. Fortunately, when wandering around campus I knew that not everything was tainted with his stink. The library was a symbol of my independence. Payne Hall was a symbol of my independence. The drillfield was somewhere I felt alone and cried but also somewhere I looked up and saw clear blue skies and heard the bagpipes (I wonder if the bagpipe guy is still around) and knew that there was beauty in the world and that I'd just find it if I could figure out how.
It seems like it's as simple as "if only I knew then what I know now." But then I wouldn't have followed that course, and be where I am now, which is happy. I'm hoping I let go of some of my bitterness at "losing" my college years to that ridiculous relationship with this trip. I said something to Jack while standing around outside smoking a lone cigarette about thinking maybe I still have some of the flaws I've had all along, most notably a dependence on the idea of a partner and the subconcious urge to get anyone I'm involved with to sign on the dotted line, but I think that's not true. I date for at least a few weeks now before imagining the rest of my life with a person. Ha. Ha. On a smaller, more petty personal impact note, from some things someone said it seems clear I didn't understand the full extent of Rob's catting around. That little fucker. Literally. I blocked him from IM when I got back. I hope dogs really did pee on his head.
It seems like tirani is at least right in that the place has far, far more beauty in it than anywhere within reach of the DC suburbs. I found myself easily able to imagine being back there, working hard on a Master's, living on a shoestring, walking from one end of town to the other with hardly even a need to own a car. But the further I get from school the harder and harder it is to imagine going back. Even locally... Oh, a bright note... Moira said Skip Fuhrman remembered me. He was one of my favorite professors... I went way out of my way to take his classes. It was one of the few times I showed dedication to academics while at college. Yee-hah.
So, in the final analysis the weekend was a big success. While I don't think that the actual substance of Technicon is really up my alley anymore, it was beautiful to see familiar faces, even the ones I only got to see for 30 seconds (kittykatya, eeedge, ypawtows, mikailborg, yubbie, calandra, impink, for example) and I hope I get to see them again. In my life I need threads that don't break, no matter how thin. And so much thanks to bizarrojack for accompanying me.
In other news, there is a new Finn in the world: Tim just had a daughter, Elliot Maisy.