I woke up this morning with the strangest feeling of déjà vu. And kind of still smelling like wine, which isn’t surprising given that I got home last night at 2 a.m. and drank rather generously.
I didn’t end up dancing on the table, and no one got to see the fur bikini.
When my friend first told me about this dinner, my first reaction was, “what the hell am I going to wear?!” (I am, in spite of myself, still a GUR-rul, see previous post…). I decided on casual-yet-cute, for those who are wondering (tight black pants, pink printed camisole, and short little sweater).
When I got to the restaurant everyone was at the bar. I hugged those I knew and shook hands with the two I didn’t – yes, my two guildies. I can get a little silly at social gatherings, long before the wine kicks in, and I imagine I kind of exploded onto the scene. We soon moved to the table, us WoW folks naturally gravitating to one end of the long table for 11.
So there we are, sitting at the table, suddenly embodied. My guess is that if we five had met on the street, we never would have ended up at a dinner together. There’s me: mid-30s, pretty bouncy, wry jokes, someone’s professor, definitely some geek going on, but you probably wouldn’t know it by looking at me. There’s Is.: mid-20s, kind of looks like a model, grad student, always comfortable in a crowd, no hint of geek about her. Is.’ sweetie O.: quiet, studious-looking type, late 20s, a consummate observer. And then Mi.: soon-to-be secondary school teacher, scientist, cute and sweet, chatty like me, geek-sophisticate. And B.: looks like your “regular guy” in Colorado terms, but has that wry thing going on, too, keeps you on your toes with clever ribbing that probably surprises a lot of people. Finally, there’s D.: stereotypical gamer, ‘nuff said.
One of my M.S. advisees was stuck at our end of the table, and in spite of the WoW techo-babble, she kept up impressively. The other end of the table had Is’s sister and a few other grad students. I was imagining they were a bit appalled at this strange WoW thing, but they didn’t let it show.
Hanging out with people you know because of WoW is kind of like hanging out with people you work with – you didn’t meet because you have social things in common, you met because you do something together on a regular basis.
So there we are, drinking wine, eating fondue, and managing to talk about things other than WoW about 60% of the time, anyway. I knew Mi. from before and consider him a friend – we chat in game, he’s the one who brought me onto Lethon (the server) and into this guild. B. and I had chatted in game, and totally hit it off in person. We had a few terrible-two moments, actually, not quite ganging up on the others with our jokes and comments. He’s one of those people I get, and who gets me, especially with the side references. I have to confess that D. was frequently over my head. I’m a gamer, but not like he is. /bow Much of his talk was WoW-related.
So we laughed and joked and drank wine. I drank a lot of wine. I didn’t dance on the table, but I did swear like a sailor. Here in Colorado, that’s kind of radical – most people who “cuss” apologize immediately afterwards. We’re not in New Jersey anymore, Toto. I might have had a bit too much fun shocking those poor grad students.
After dinner, the WoW gang and my intrepid advisee moved the party to a bar nearby, and drank more wine (and Jack on the rocks).
Oh, I had so much fun. This was no awkward adjustment to bizarre realizations a la The Guild. Strangely, even though I rarely talk in Vent to these folks, I felt totally comfortable. Of course, I was protected with people I knew pretty well offline, so it was easy for me. But I *like* these folks. B. in particular was just awesome to be around, and I felt a real bond with them all. A little PvP advice (frostshock!), debates about nurture vs. nature, goofy WoW stories, and How Smoking Saved A Life. We’re going out again this week. : )
So what was the déjà vu? Something about turning these ‘toons and guild chats and vent comments into real, live people felt… familiar. Maybe I’ve just imagined what it might be like to meet online friends in person a lot, or maybe these guys really just are familiar. After all, we play, we talk, we hang out. What’s the difference? Not so much, as it turns out.