Saturday, July 5, 2008

Two weeks out

Ok, so many years ago I swore I would never get involved in a Gay Pride thing again. I got burned pretty badly, and was voted from leader to outcast on my birthday. By an ex-lover and her new girlfriend. But I'm not bitter.

So anyway, as both of you know, I belong to this thing called Maine Gay Net, which is a thing called a list serve, which I really don't understand, but it is kinda fun. It's like a big (135 members, give or take) chain e-mail club. A member can post something, which ends up in everyone's e-mail in box. Others can reply in public for all to see or off list so the conversation is private. It is kind of like a large cocktail party of people in a completely darkened room. But without the groping. We can hear each other in some conversations, but not in all of them, and we can't see each other's faces. Come to think of it, there might be groping going on, but it's dark, so I can't see it.

So this gaynet thing has been going on for something like 15 years. It was founded by the marvelous and fabulous Paula Stockholm, who turned over the reins last year to the marvelous and fabulous Nanci Little, who now serves as our moderator. So there is this group of people, spread far and wide around the globe (Maine, Florida, California, Ohio, Thailand), who check their e-mail on a kind of regular basis and comment back and forth about issues as broad and weird as politics, sex, religion, economics, recipes and home appliance repair - really all kinds of things. Some members have been corresponding and contributing almost daily for nearly 15 years. And to date, we've never all gotten together. We've shared some really intimate and personal details, but we've never met.

Sure, some of us who live in the same area have met, but never have we had a reunion or a large-scale get-together of any kind. Until now. In two weeks, great hordes of gaynet members will descend upon my little island, filling up campgrounds and hotels and restaurants for a weekend of activities.

And I'm the one coordinating it. Goddess help us every one.

Don't get me wrong, I love this thing and am thrilled to be doing it, but it feels a lot like when I did Pride stuff years ago, and that makes me nervous. Of course this is a committee of one (me) so I am not so likely to get voted off as I was before. But you can never tell. I can be fickle.

Aside from my own insecurities, and they are plenty, this is looking to be a pretty cool thing. We're having a coffeehouse kind of open-mic/music/storyteller ice-cream social kind of thing on Friday night, some activities during the day on Saturday, a big potluck picnic and more activities on Sunday. Oh, and an informal breakfast gathering Sunday morning at a local eatery. With very attractive waitstaff. Not that that matters, of course.

I am doing my best to not over-coordinate things. Events and adventures will come about organically as people meet and decide they'd like to go for a hike or bike ride or whatever. I've got some leaders lined up, and L and I will be offering early morning trout adventures, but really we have no huge, set in stone kind of plans. Aside from the coffeehouse and the picnic, everything is really a catch-as-catch-can sort of thing.

So. Here I am. Two weeks out and starting to get nervous. The souvenirs should be arriving at my house either today or Monday. I had to order a minimum of 72, so let's hope we have some people show up to this thing or else I'll have a bunch of stuff left in my living room.

Oh hell. Speaking of my living room, I think I may have a dozen people fighting over who gets the fold-out couch. My yard is going to look like a homeless encampment with tents everywhere, and every cooler I own (and those are nearly as many as my insecurities) is going to be pressed into service for this adventure. So far, I think I have Mike, Jen and her daughter, Darlene and possibly a friend, and maybe Steph and Rena and their dog. Let us hope it does not rain. Other folks in the area are similarly booked. Some friends in Ellsworth are putting up a member who is flying in from Florida for the occasion!

This whole weekend is really, as one friend put it, not unlike the world's largest blind date. My greatest fear is that at just past noon on Saturday, when the potluck picnic is in full gear, we will all agree on one thing: that we were happier having never met any of these people. I think what will probably happen is that we will all be taller, shorter, fatter thinner, older, younger, and infinitely less clever in person than we are on line. Oh, and our voices will not sound anything like we had imagined they would.

This is sort of like meeting your favorite radio personality and realizing that he's that dweeby guy from sophomore algebra with lots of pimples and who never combed his hair. You just never realized his voice made him sound six feet tall and gorgeous. I think it's going to be a lot like that.

But I am looking forward to it. If we like it and decide we want to do it again next year, then I'll ask for committee volunteers and start taking minutes and stuff like that. But for now, we're flying blind and we'll see how it goes.

Oh, in the interest of promotion, here's the website with the flyer and a paypal thing so you can donate to the burger and hot dog fund.

1 comment:

MRMacrum said...

It is things like your "Gaynet" network that makes the Internet such a powerful force now and in the future.

Good luck with the event. Sounds like you definitely did not over plan it. Letting it develope in it's own way seems the logical way to organize it.