With two days self-reminding, I finally made it to my FIRST MeetUp. The Adelaide Bloggers took over the back room at a local restaurant, one which I’ve seen a few thousand times from the passenger-seat of a car and bus. But this was the first time we’d stepped inside the doors, let alone looked in the window.
After conversing with AdelaideMetro to determine the best bus to catch, and interpreting the vicious lines across the pamphlet page, I determined which bus-stop would take me to the destination. With remembrance of an era when bus trips involved angry-waiting for hours on end, I ensured my work day ended dead on 5.00pm.
I walked two blocks forward, then one block back, I found the bus-stop that would take me on my journey. Looking into the distance, and remembering where SWMBO often parks the car, this small recess of my brain said “You could probably walk there in less time than the bus would take to reach you here!” but the three water-fearing brain cells that saw dark clouds ominously looming on the horizon stopped me in my tracks. I waited under the cover of a bike-shop in Pultney street for ticketed dry-passage.
Upon descent from the side-doors of a Spartan tartan sardine-can on wheels, it was 5.17pm, and I was one bus-stop beyond my destination. By 5.20pm I was out-front of a restaurant that had a CLOSED sign on the door.
You what? Closed? Did I have the right night? Oh geez, did Shai give us incorrect instructions? Or had my eyes failed me? No, I was damn sure this was the place. But here I am, far too early, nobody would be here so soon.
So I did what I do best… I walked around the block.
For thirty minutes, I walked the streets of Parkside, Hyde Park, Unley Park, checking out side-streets and alley-ways. This was the best way to find interesting photo-locations. But darkness was arriving so soon, meaning I would have to return during daylight to refind these mysterious parking lots, warehouses, old churches, and interesting corrugated fences.
I arrived back at Vino Ristorante at 5.54pm (I remember because I had to know how long to refind those streets!) to find the CLOSED sign still on the door. Oh look, a phone number. Egad, does my telephone have any power? It does, here is what ensued:
“Good evening, Vinos, How can I help you?”
I see the man who picks up the phone, “Look toward the front door of your restaurant. Yes, that is me. Are you open for business?…”
He looks, he smiles, he hangs up, he rushes over…. and I am in. “What booking?”
Here’s where it gets tricky. “Ah… Shai Coggins? Bloggers of Adelaide? 13 People Who’ve Never Met Before? Hmmm….”
He looks away, then looks back smiling … “I have a table set for 10 people in the back room!”
“That’d be it. Has anyone else arrived?”
“Yes, yes, three…”
And I meet three complete strangers in a dark room on a Friday night, JimBob1, Charlie and Richard, within seconds we are at ease with each other common disorder. We introduce, we discuss telephone wire, photography, my Apple Touch, technical stuff, the river Murray, a momentary lapse in political and social commentary that ends in how oil prices are NOT going to change despite our proxy-PM’s recent outburst. That was interesting, particularly for me. I rarely follow political rhetoric, it holds no interest.
Over the next twenty minutes the remaining crew make their arrival. More introductions, more handshaking, smiles and swapping of real-names and pseudonyms. Thankfully I knew one person, Marcia, another flickr friend from SA Central. Two other flickr faces were revealed, Kate and Steve, their human form not far different to their online masks. Another face appeared, one I only know by online presence, Janette. Unfortunately the table-length prevented mutual discussion, but I figured opportunity would arrive at a later date.
And within minutes our cacophony of laughter, rhetoric, discussion, arguments were heard from Paradise to Penneshaw. We swapped business-cards and blog names, some drank wine, others drinking locally brewed beer.
Melissa knitted a baby beanie! Shai photographed the scene, the faces, the fun, the frivolity. Steve told us he filmed his wife giving birth, apparently with second-by-second blows of contractions and delivery. I even heard Spotrick say “email is so 20th century.” He’s right, but damn, email is still useful for some privacy in our lives!
Discussion was had over the detriments of licking one’s monitor: Who was the last to drag their tongue across the glass? Was it the saliva-coated tongue of a rabid cat? Or the jam-coated lips of a baby? Who knows, and who really wants to know? Amusing nonetheless.
Mention was made of ‘trolls’ on Facebook, persons who simply like to invigorate argument purely to see how you react, revelling when you disagree vehemently! Don’t attack the trolls, it’s their bread-and-butter, that’s all they do it for, they like to counter-punch everything, they live for the reaction.
Nights end came after the ‘strudelling’ was over. Jenny and Jimbob enjoyed their desserts, and suddenly the mass exit began. Weirdly, I decided to call it a night.
What I liked most was JimBob’s unofficial speech of thanks to Shai for organising this mini-club, this meeting of minds to discuss what they don’t mind putting online.
I also enjoyed healthy, honest, and adult discussion on subjects of mutual interest, ranging from photography through to what a double-ended knitting needle is used for. Oh, and for being told about the ‘death star canteen‘!
But the night was not over yet!
We played musical-chair-avoidance at the counter as we paid our meals, watching other dinner-goers stare at us whilst we loudly proclaimed our online presence. I talked with Michael about Redbubble, all the while two old ladies at a nearby table staring at us like we were aliens dropped in from a nearby galaxy. I openly admit to admiring Melissa‘s beautiful face and form, her newborn baby radiance was much apparent, at least to me.
And we all slowly moved toward the door, last to leave being myself, Richard, Bridie and Michael. Discussion changed to Michael‘s study into Linux, followed by writing of notes of each others websites and journals.
And just before the rain resumed into a drizzle, we all walked our separate ways.
Thankfully I had the good sense to use my Apple Touch to keep NOTES on little things throughout the night, enabling me to write out this post. I look forward to next when we all meet. Maybe other bloggers and photographs around Adelaide may choose to join us, who knows…
Were you there? How did I miss you? Did we speak, or were we handshakes only? Did I not link to your name? Are you not mentioned above? Leave a comment, I’ll fix that issue promptly!