On Saturday, my family and two friends piled into a rental car and headed south. After forgetting the tickets and realizing this fact as the border guard handed back our passports, we drove five hours to Portland with no tickets and the hope that we could reprint them somewhere before the show the next day. (spoiler: we did. It turned out fine. Yay.)
|It's a dalek, you guys. A DALEK!|
We took the bus to the theater on Sunday. It was raining and there was a line that snaked down the sidewalk and around the building. There were also so many really awesome t-shirts. I talked to the people next to us in line a bit and then went hunting for a massive umbrella that was sure to make us many friends with its vastness. This plan did not work out due to the fact that it stopped raining but, before it stopped, I heroically held the umbrella over the carts loaded with TFIOS copies as they ferried the books down the line and received some cheering. Let me just say there was a lot of cheering in that line, despite the precipitation. There was also a lot of people telling other people that their stuff was really awesome, mostly because there was a lot of really awesome stuff and it's easier to be vocal about that in the kind of space that was created there. It was just so comfortable and excited and connected and caring.
The show was fun. John is brilliant and Hank is hilarious and their collective energy was entirely captivating. The signing process went very smoothly and I was only mildly embarrassed when I stumbled over basically telling John that his books mean a lot to me. I had some solid eye contact with Hank and then we were shuffled along which was fine.
|Adorableness does not completely diminish the creep factor.|
And it was just so natural and not forced and we started to play Apples to Apples which lasted only one round before we were moved into the bookstore but was still pretty great. I exchanged info with one of the girls and we went to find seats**.
After the show, I was leaving the washroom when I looked up and recognized justmargaret whose tumblr and youtube I follow and, without even thinking about it, I just walked over and started talking to her. I can't explain the thought process because it doesn't make any sense to me in retrospect. I completely surprised myself with the lack of doubt and total and immediate commitment. I just strode across the bathroom to where she was waiting in line and said something along the lines of hi, I watch your youtube videos and your blog is my favourite part of tumblr and I'm sorry for obnoxiously liking practically everything you post. It was almost like reuniting with a friend who didn't actually know me and the whole thing was so surreal I can't capture it with words.
Proceeding that, I had an extended fangirl moment as I explained the encounter to my friends, blushing in excess, and they looked at me and asked, "Who is Margaret?"***
The last guy I met was named Eli. He came up and gave me a high five after seeing my 'YA SAVES' tshirt and so I followed him when he ran away from me and we started chatting. He'd been at the Maureen Johnson event I went to and actually lives very close to me. It was also kind of strange, in a fantastic way. I made a note on his annotated copy of Paper Towns and it was all very swell.
I left with usernames and this feeling of satisfaction that was hardly even related to being in close proximity with the Green brothers. (I didn't actually get to go up to the signing table in Seattle because the security was really tight and we had to leave early because of the two hour drive home. I didn't mind.) I tried not to fall asleep on the way home and then was so ridiculously tired that I couldn't fall asleep when I got into bed, all of the events of the weekend swirling around in my head.
It's absurd when you meet people in person whose tumblogs or videos you follow avidly. It's strange being forced to wrap your head around the fact that people are just people, whether or not they have an online following. It's weird to hear John talk about his severe social anxiety and how he has to pretend we're not there to be able to function on stage. It's odd to be in a place where there are so many nerds that the very idea of being self conscious doesn't even cross your awareness.
And I mean all that in the very best way.
*which was featured on the vlogbrothers' Nerd Factor
**which ended up being in the front row. Not sure how that happened but it was really cool.
***eventually they figured it out because I had previously told them all to follow her on tumblr.