Friday, February 28, 2014

January 2012 Meetup

Today's meetup post comes to us from member Joy Yamaguchi. She attended this meetup on January 8th, 2012
January 2012 Meetup

CalNerdCon has taught me so much about friendship, Internet relationships, the power of Nerdfighteria, and much more, but I think by far the most important lesson I've gotten from it is that if you can get a large group to stand in a circle on the Santa Monica promenade then people will think something important and exciting is going on, even if there really, really isn’t. 

The January 2012 meetup was supposed to be a normal CNC hangout... we were going to go to the park, chill, and bask in the wonderful IRL company of our normally only internet friends. But the day we scheduled it was the same day as a meetup by Brett the Intern, Ray (iamraynbow) —now his fiancĂ©—and Meghan Tonjes in Santa Monica. So rather than choosing between the two we decided on the better route: both. 

I got there with my friends at the beginning of the afternoon and was really not sure what to expect. We traveled separately from the rest of CNC, who still met up beforehand, and they hadn’t arrived yet but Brett, Meghan, Ray, and some others were there. It started with the usual hanging out and joking that every gathering of good people has but as the rest of CNC and more and more people arrived for the meetup we found ourselves in a circle on the boardwalk (which usually has street performers that people circle around).

I honestly don't know how it started but someone placed an object in the center of the circle, possibly chapstick, or a small human-like iPod speaker, and one-by-one people began placing a strange assortment of items into the circle. My Little Ponies, a shirt, single shoes, scarves, car keys, even iPhones... no one held back and soon we had created a shrine. To what? No one knew… We began to encourage people walking by to look, and even join in, simply by our presence and enthusiasm for this... nothing.
And, in reverse, we took everything back out again and it became a usual meetup of singing (I think Meghan performed with her divine voice and also no CNC meetup is complete without several ukuleles and sing-alongs), hugs, and friendship making.
That meetup is memorable for other little reasons too of course. I remember distinctly a conversation with Ray about the words “merry,” “marry,” and “Mary” which all sound the same when us Americans say them but his Irish accent made it all distinctive and so much better. It was a lot of laughs.

I also recall I spent quite a lot of time fretting about talking with the boy who I had met at the first ever CNC meetup who, less than a month after that, went on to be my boyfriend for over a year. We’re just friends now but that maybe that speaks to the power of healthy Nerdfighteria based relationships…
In retrospect it may seem like there is no reason why this was such a wonderful and prominent meetup in my mind but it makes me think of a quote from Esther Earl from her book This Star Won't Go Out:
       “Just be happy, and if you can’t be happy, do things that make you happy. Or do nothing with the         people that make you happy.” 

And that's it. We did nothing in the traditional sense of the word. We had no final goal, no specific activity, no end product or result... but we did this "nothing" together. That’s what I love about CNC. I may have moved away and I may not know everyone who goes to meetups now but I'll always have ties to this wonderful, ever changing community of people who support, love, and exist together. So I know when we’re together, virtually or IRL, it’ll be fantastic, even if we do “nothing.”

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