Warning: Long node ahead. This account is both detailed and rambling; read at your own boredom.
Four months after the fact...
The Boston E2 noder meet, from the perspective of youth, follows:
Groggy. Bed...warm. Mother...shaking. Oh! Today's Boston! I clambered out of bed and busied myself with preparing for the journey up. I glanced at the clock by my bed - 6:30. Two hours till I catch the Amtrak
up to Metropark, NJ. Shit! I can't find my glasses!
I proceeded to spend the next half an hour looking for them, but to no avail. I realized that it is time to go, and managed to grab a bagel on the way out the door. The Amtrak was a 25 minute drive away; I had a few minutes to spend apprehensively pondering exactly what going to Boston with 70 bohemian, young-twentysomethings, likely to be drunk, would entail. Then train 172 was called, and I grabbed by bag and jogged up the stairs.
I had never been on an Amtrak train before. It struck me just how much this thing resembled an airplane, a decision I could not help but think, with a slight garnish of irony, was entirely intentional. The predecessor of the airplane now attempts to emulate it; not a good omen for the train industry in general, I thought to myself. Still, the train ride was remarkably smooth, except for the changing air pressure and noise which resulted when the hatch between the cabs was opened by determined-looking stewards.
In any case, I lowered the food tray and used that to support my book. I managed to get a little bit of reading done on the hour-long trip up (Terry Pratchett's book The Fifth Elephant. Surprisingly little pachydermic activity for the title.)
The ride went quickly, with the aid of Pratchett's sense of humor. The train stopped in Philidelphia and someplace else before arriving in Metropark. The surroundings left me befuddled for a few minutes after exiting the train; dmd had told me he would be waiting "down a flight of stairs in a Dunkin' Donuts." Well, there were stairs all right, but they were outdoors, and they were marked "Parking," not "To Daniel Drucker." I checked the sign - yes, this was Metropark... For some reason, I had expected the stairs to lead to an indoors shop of percolation and stomach-turning amounts of concentrated sugar. Once I saw I had no other real options, I trundled down the stairs, where, to my considerable relief, I saw dmd idly watching the tracks, probably wondering why I hadn't come down yet, seeing as how the train had left a number of minutes ago. I greeted him with the Traveller's Bogged Down Greeting(TM), a semi-shrug, demi-throwing-out-of-arms, along with the ever-applicable slightly tilted-back head, complete with shining eyes and grin.
We trundled over to his car - a well-worn maroon '89 Camry. It was acceptably roomy inside, although dmd bitterly complained about not having enough room to stretch out. Sucks being tall. We quickly went through the cities and through the woods, to Cahla's house we go... dmd put on an MP3 CD of "good driving music" he had burned earlier. I asked him what good driving music entailed; he replied that the beat should synchronize with the flashing of the paint in the middle of the road. I listened to the music currently swelling from the stereo and watched the lines
The beat was, in fact, off by an infitesmal amount, enough to cycle around every 10 miles or so. I would later realize that, ideally, the music must be the driver's own, so that the maximum amount of brainpower is reserved for driving, as opposed to listening to unfamiliar music.
We drove for perhaps a hour, an hour and a half. The forestry we passed, the organic tunnels we drove under, took my breath away. They were a reminder to me of what nature, not true nature, but nature nonetheless, looked like. Beauty. I continued to entertain myself with Terry Pratchett, but only after entertaining dmd with a display of my ultra-uber-superuseless-ninja-talent of being able to solve a Rubik's Cube in under two minutes (Provided that the cube does not fall apart)
The sudden feeling of a distinct absense of motion roused me from my reverie. I looked up, to discover that we were parked in a side-of-the-road parking lot, with nothing present except a few trees, a few picnic tables, and a small field stretching next to the road. dmd got out and began running, weaving through the trees, over and around the picnic tables. I paused a few seconds, then followed him. He really is smart as fuck, but sometimes, the child inside him shows, I think to myself. Presently, I was focused on running, weaving through the trees and catching up to him.
By the time I caught up to him, we were standing in the field. "Race?" he said? I looked at him and grinned, and we both sprinted away from the car. It felt good, but suddenly, I realized I was alone; I looked back and saw dmd rolling in the grass. We both broke out laughing: he had tripped. We gasped our way back to the car, out of breath from running and laughter. We were then off again, after waiting a minute for his GPS unit to get a lock on four satellites. I absorbed myself in my book again, and as it is so often wont to do, time flew.
When I next looked up, dmd was waving a printout of the node with the instructions, guestlist, etc on it, urgently saying that he needed me to read the directions, now that we were within a few miles of the GPS coords that corresponded to cahla's house. I complied, and within a few minutes the GPS box read 2 miles...1.9 miles...1.8...one point..............................five! And then, It Came From The Swamp...The BIG DIG! For ten minutes, we managed to move all of ten feet. One of us joked that "yeah, calah's house is only a few miles away...should be what, six hours before we get there?" I suspect it was me who said that. I was proved wrong, however, and at 3:40-ish we parked in front of calah's house. We got out and stretched; we had been in the car for five hours. Making sure that we did, in fact, ring #17 (WonkoDSane had not yet put up his sign) the door was promptly answered by briiiian.
We introduced ourselves and made small talk for a few minutes. dmd tried to be friendly to the kitties; a mistake, considering he is allergic to cats. After a few minutes, we were drafted by calah to save
our country the party-to-be-in-the-basement, by way of petty theft. Our mission:
Steal milk crates. We were given directions to the nearest supermarketmall, the specifics of which we both promptly forgot. We still managed to spot a likely looking place, and we drove around back. After passing a few trash piles, dmd suddenly slammed on the brakes, got out, and came back in with an old child's car chair. It was proclaimed to be "the throne." No milk crates were hiding behind that particular parking lot, but after going to the loading bays of a supermart, the Grails were found: dozens upon dozens of milk crates. We parked in a location that was not easily seen by the common passerby, hopped out, and scurried around for a few minutes, eventually procuring a total of nine crates. Success
We headed back to Cahla's house, only to be recruited yet again. This time, the request was to pick up herbman from work. We drove over, only getting lost once. Unremarkable drives. Herbman struck me a very nice guy, easy to get along with.
We drove back to calahs and introduced ourselves to the noders who had arrived while we were gone.
I had a "special brownie" - roughly nine cubic centimeters. I felt nothing.
As the night wore on, I met many new people, most of whom I cannot remember the names of. I am sorry, but names, even pseudonyms, have always eluded me.
Friday night...I remembered WonkoDSane as a big guy, friendly, but I suspect he's attended The School of Hard Knocks. Cahla was matriarch of all, weaving the threads of destiny into a highly enjoyable experience for us all. N-Wing was quiet. He was also a few years younger than I expected, but since I was the youngest one at the party, I did not think much of it, except that he's obviously very talented. A man to watch. briiiian was a very laid-back guy. I didn't see him much after Friday afternoon. Meeting both cowofdoom and foxtrotjuliet was eerie; they both physically resemble people I've met before. moxie's name is stuck in my head from her mnemonic action of taping a Moxie-brand soda bottle label to herself. DisgruntledWren played with her switchblade for the duration of the parties on Friday and Sunday; I did my best to maintain a minimum of fifteen feet from the blade.
dmd's flirty tweaking of a drunken kaytay's nose was not met with very much returned enthusiasm. dmd's nuclear hands were of intrest to all; the glowing bathroom was of even more intrest to cahla. After regaining control of my brain after seeing kaytay for the first time, I paused to consider that she has the fine bone structure that made me think that she would not have looked inappropriate sitting in a medieval throne.
I remember getting bored and fetching the Rubik's cube; it proved to be a mildly entertaining party trick. Difficult to teach at all; impossible to teach in less than an hour. dmd filmed me trying to complete it, but a sudden and unwanted disbanding of the cubes put a stop to that.