Friday, August 5, 2011

Flying Without My Wingman

Jason was the one who introduced me to the Gen Con group consisting of Gene and Todd and James. It was Jason who encouraged me to tag along to Gen Con with them all last year. He couldn't come along this year due to work commitments, so I would be navigating the Indianapolis nightlife without my favorite wingman. I wondered how I would handle what the city would throw at me without his flanking bonus.

While the boys headed out to do some gaming last night, I called on my friend Helene, an employee of a large gaming company whom I met last year. She invited me to hang out and do a little bar hopping with her and a number of other industry insiders. I readily accepted, but was a little nervous because I felt so out of my element. I txted Jason telling him that I felt weird flying solo in a strange town. He texted me back: "You don't need me, you've got the TommyMac charm. You got this". 

I met Helene at The Ram for a quick drink and then she brought me around to meet up with her friends and colleagues. Not being a gamer, I was very worried that I wouldn't have much to talk about with these people, but, thankfully, they weren't much for talking shop. They were all very outgoing, witty and very hospitable. I felt like I was part of the group right away.

I didn't talk much at first. I was much more fascinated by the interaction between the personalities involved. I get the impression that the tabletop RPG industry is a rather small one where most everyone knows each other. It has to be very odd mundane to travel from event to event running into the same people all of the time, so I felt that my presence among the group was something of a pleasant novelty. I was someone who hadn't heard their stories. I was someone they'd have to take some time to get to know.

At our final destination for the night I was able to shine a little by showing off the website and doing some impressions. I don't know that I was as big of a hit as I had hoped to be, but I got my share of laughs, got a lot of compliments on the website and, in the end, I think I made some new friends whom I will hopefully be able to hang out with next year.

So, Jason was right. I don't always need backup in unfamiliar social situations. And I figure that it's good for me to occasionally work out of my element. Still, I'm sure it would have been even more fun had my wingman been there.

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