Having read aftermath nodes from previous nodermeets, I used to wonder why
they were generally vague, non-descriptive, full of silly quotes but few other details.
I was planning to write a vibrant, in-depth account of all interesting
events and highlights, but the precise details seem to be obscured in a
general sea of drunken noder-happy. Nonetheless, I'll do my best to give a
general impression of the timeline of my very first nodermeet.
My journey began rather excitingly, as this was also the first time I'd
ever traveled British Rail alone, and the first since it was privatised.
When I bought my tickets, the ticket-master handed them to me, pointed to
the train sitting on the platform and said "Right, on you get!".
Me: "Wot, that train there?"
Ticket-dude: "Yes, quick now!"
So I dash out onto the platform and into the train. The doors shut seconds
afterward and I'm on my way. Note that at this point I have absolutely no
idea where I'm going or what my connections are. Fun.
As I stand gormlessly outside the Swindon Railway Station, a tall dark
stranger with long hair and a black
trenchcoat who'd been eyeing me on the
train suddenly addresses me.
"Excuse me, are you by any chance DTal?"
"Why yes, yes I am!"
"Erm, how did you know it was me?"
"Oh, you looked lost and about the right age."
(on the bus, passing sign saying "WARNING: TANKS")
"You know, this doesn't look like Swindon anymore."
"You know, I think you're right."
(sitting by a fire in comfy chairs in a swanky hotel)
"Well, this could have turned out worse."
(spots clear revealing grinning Dimview)
(flailing head connects with something soft)
"OWWW ow ow ow ow.."
"Oh god sorry sorry which bit did I hit"
"Hey, what are these?"
"I didn't know chickens had balls!"
Ah, see, it's no use; the rest is just a sort of fuzz. I do recall consuming some perfectly excellent food courtesy of TheLady, having a discussion on temporal realities with a famous science fiction author, and imbibing modest quantities of alcohol. I also have some vague memories of being mercilessly tortured by a ninjagirl. Ninjagirls, please; you have power, don't abuse it.
Somewhere between the hours of 3 and 4 in the morning, there was a collective movement bedwards, or in most cases, floorwards. Sleeping bags were laid out in a surprisingly ordered fashion; the only modification to the layout was that sam512 advised me to turn my sleeping bag around, for reasons that would become clear. That they certainly did, in a manner rootbeer277 described the next morning as "epic". Waking at about 9:45, I opened my eyes and looked straight into those of a grinning Dimview, who was obscenely awake, fully dressed, and taking notes! Honestly.
A few things, however, stand out in my mind with excellent clarity. The Debutante
and I reminisced about my first (nuked) writeup. I asserted (and still do)
that E2 is NOT unfriendly to new noders. We, as a group, had a very interesting, emotional, but remarkably sober discussion over what E2 means to each of us personally, what might be wrong with it, and how maybe
to fix it. No one got angry or upset, as far as I know. No voices were raised. The Debutante justified her position as a Content Editor magnificently by capably moderating throughout. I was truly awed
by the general level of discourse, alcohol-induced stupor
notwithstanding. You are all incredibly intelligent people, and so friendly it hurts.
Seriously, you're amazing. I hope you never leave.
The journey back home was both fun and bittersweet. The routes of Andrew Aguecheek,
sam512, and I ran together as far as Stroud, and Sam and I
didn't separate until Birmingham (where he had to stop me from changing my hard drive in the middle of the station, in case it was mistaken for terrorism). For me, the nodermeet didn't really end until
2:45, when the last noder and I parted ways.
This place means a lot to me. Andrew Aguecheek commented at the meet that I seemed "scarily into it", which was itself scary seeing as he'd attended some fifteen nodermeets, and I one. I know I haven't noded much, but I care very deeply about what happens here, and I hate the thought of e2 dying. This event, this wondrous marvelful event, showed me that it isn't dying. It's alive, very much alive.