I Still Have My Kidneys
Two weeks ago some people Iâ€™ve never met came to Indianapolis and I decided to hang out with them. People Iâ€™ve never met coming to Indy happens all the time, I suppose, but I donâ€™t normally decide to hang out with them. These people were slightly different because I at least sort of knew them from talking to them online. It was, in fact, the Official THorum Trip: 2006, and here is the day-to-day breakdown of what happened.
The schedule of events was supposed to be Angela arrives at noonish, Brian arrives at 1ish, and Andelyn arrives at 2ish. What actually happened was I got text messages from everybody saying there were flight delays. Angelaâ€™s flight was delayed because of weather, Brianâ€™s because of mechanical problems, and Andyâ€™s because of weather, too. Even though Brianâ€™s first flight was delayed, he actually made his connecting flight and arrived on time. We went to the mall and had lunch and went to the arcade while waiting to hear from the other travelers. Andyâ€™s second flight was delayed but she got there only a couple of hours late. Angelaâ€¦ well, Angela just about gave up on the whole trip. She was supposed to leave around 7 a.m. and didnâ€™t end up leaving until around 1 p.m. By the time she got to Chicago not only was her connecting flight long gone but there were no other flights to Indy for the next two days! There was only one solution: road trip!
Brian, Andy, and I headed to Chicago and only almost died a couple of times. A semi-truck right next to us had a tire explode â€“ literally not more than 5 feet from Andy in the passengerâ€™s seat. Fortunately it was an inside tire, so we werenâ€™t shelled with shrapnel, but it very loud and it frightened us. Chicago was also very loud and frightened us, but we found Angela and turned right around to head to Lafayette. We were all hungry so we pulled off the freeway to find a place to eat. We saw an Applebeeâ€™s and sent Brian to check to see if they were still open. Sadly they closed at 11 and it was now 11:15 or so. It was only after weâ€™d pulled out and headed down the road that we realized we were still in Illinois and therefore on Central Time where it was only 10:15. We had a good chuckle and then went back to eat there. After that we got donuts at the next-door Dunkinâ€™ Donuts and hit the road again, headed to my place for what was left of the night. We got to Lafayette around 2 a.m., played Guitar Hero until somewhere around 3:30, and went to bed around 4.
The four of us had lunch with Kat and Matt, so each of them could meet these other people that I always talked about. Now they know that the other people arenâ€™t just figments of my imagination, which I think is probably good. After lunch I took the THorumites to a tabletop gaming store we have (The Game Preserve) because Brian was looking for a game called â€œZombies.â€ The store had it and Brian actually proclaimed it to be one of the best of that kind of store heâ€™d ever seen, so that was cool. Angie bought a Rubikâ€™s Snake puzzle and some little rubber snakes that ended up being â€œSnakes on a Whatever We Can Findâ€ for the rest of the weekend. I think Andy bought something, but Iâ€™m not sure what.
From there we went to Culverâ€™s so they could have the second-best frozen custard in the world â€“ they loved it, as I knew they would. (For the record, the first-best frozen custard is at Koppâ€™s in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area.) And then we headed to Indy so I could drop them off the hotel. I had an improv show that I had to MC, so I wasnâ€™t able to hang out with them Friday night. Three other THorumites showed up, though â€“ Michael, Harmony, and a completely different Mark â€“ so they didnâ€™t miss me much. The stories I heard had them playing Zombies and video games until early morning, so they had fun.
I slept in and finally got to Indy mid-afternoon, where I met Michael and Harmony for the first time. Completely Different Mark had to leave the night before, but Iâ€™d met him before so it would have just been gravy to meet him again. I think we ate somewhere for lunch, but I donâ€™t remember where. We went a movie that could have been so much better considering the setup (My Super Ex-Girlfriend) but really was only kind of â€œmeh.â€ Then we played games in the arcade for a really long time and went to Olive Garden for dinner â€“ most â€œofficialâ€ THorumite meetings have to involve a meal at Olive Garden. Thatâ€™s just how it is. Our waiter/waitress combo were a cute little couple that had been married one day short of a year and looked like they were about 18 years old. They were adorable in their interactions with each other and we wished them a happy anniversary many times over.
Then it was back to the hotel rooms for videogames and a round of Scrabble. It will come as no surprise to you that I was viewed as some sort of Scrabble Nazi because I like to play by the actual rules. I had fun and I hope they did, too, even with the atmosphere of fear I created.
Lunch was pretty much the thing on the schedule for the day, and we ended up at a Steak â€˜n Shake because there were some mockers in the group who had never heard of one and thought the food must be awful. Surprise! It isnâ€™t.
After lunch, Michael and Harmony headed back to Ohio, I headed back to Lafayette, and everyone else headed to the airport. That was pretty much that â€“ no one had any delayed flights on the way home or anything.
Here is a picture of us, widely accepted to be the best picture from the meet-up:
Back Row, l to r: Brian, Me, Andelyn, Harmony, Michael
Front Row: Angela
When I told people that I was meeting some â€œInternet friendsâ€ for the weekend, they all pretty much reacted the same way: gritted teeth with dropped lower lip, concerned eyes, and a verbalization that indicated â€œThis is not a good idea. Everyone on the Internet wants to kidnap people and sell them into slavery or harvest their organs or sometimes both.â€ I tried to explain that to my Internet friends I was an Internet friend and they (the person I was talking to) knew I was a real person and hadnâ€™t taken their organs, but it never made a difference. â€œBe careful,â€ I heard from more than one person. I wasnâ€™t really sure how to do that, but I assured them I would try. It turns out I didnâ€™t need to worry. They were all great people (which I already mostly knew) and we had a great time just hanging out and talking and playing games. I had met Angela last summer in Florida but everyone else was a new meet for me. I talk to Brian on the phone a couple of times a week normally, but it was good to finally meet him in person. Heâ€™s one of my best friends and you really ought to meet your best friends some time, I think. Andy is sweet (if distracted â€“ and Iâ€™m not sure by what!) and Michael and Harmony didnâ€™t stab me, nor did the universe implode when we shook hands (for those not in the know, I say those things because weâ€™ve found ourselves on opposite sides of many an issue many a time, and Iâ€™m alluding to whatâ€™s hypothesized will happen when matter and antimatter are mixed), and we had a great time together.
I have now survived several meetings with Internet People. This goes in my â€œAccomplishmentsâ€ column â€“ I take my victories where I can get them.
Well met, friends!