I have been desperate for Dean to feel Harley’s kicks. I can feel her moving, growing and generally doing her thing inside me and it’s so magical every time… except when she’s throwing her 3am dance parties. It makes the whole thing feel that much more real (and sometimes alien) and I want to share it with Dean. With her kicks getting stronger and more predictable, I tried to get his hand in the right spot at the right time to feel her movements. This weekend, I thought I had managed, but I think the movements were a bit too far under the surface as Dean said he couldn’t feel anything but gurgling that could have just been my stomach rumbling (it wasn’t).
That tiny disappointment, combined with a series of work disappointments was making me feel a bit down going in to the rAge weekend. For those who don’t know, rAge is a massive gaming expo that takes place each year in Joburg where tons of gaming media, distributors, community and fans gather in the ridiculously hot and sweaty Dome and get to play games, buy merch and generally have a rad time. I was feeling a bit down about it, mostly because there were a few people I had considered friends who had turned out to be lying to me. I was feeling like maybe I was wrong all along, and like the possible stomach gurgling, maybe my connections with people weren’t magical but were simply imagined. Thankfully, I was proved wrong.
Over the course of the rAge weekend, I got to hang out with people I already knew, as well as finally meet a bunch of cool people I only knew from online. First up, a bit of shameless self promotion – I got to see Sam of Tech Girl fame and we did a podcast about rAge where we chatted to a booth babe, were aghast at guys from the attraction academy and also talked to some cool game developers from South Africa and overseas. You can listen to it over here. The Attraction Academy guys were without a doubt the worst part of the expo, preying on men who might be struggling to make connections with women, and essentially promising that they can get guys laid if they follow particular techniques. It just played into that same icky feeling I was getting about fake or imagined connections with people.
But then I got to do some socializing with people who I probably never would have met otherwise. These were guys who read the words we write over on Lazygamer.net, people who I’ve played games with online and chatted to in comment sections, on twitter and over Facebook or PSN. I obviously like them and feel connected to them, but I sort of figured that many of those feelings of friendship and camaraderie were probably imagined and only on my side. Well, hey weren’t. In person, we had just as much to talk about, just as much to laugh about, and were just as comfy chatting and having fun. It made me want to get back into playing games online with other humans, and reignited my love of people and forging new connections.
I particularly want to give a huge shout out to Ronin/Craig; he had asked for the little kicker’s name so that his old lady could do some embroidery for Harley. It was such a sweet gesture and I was really moved. Then, I got the gifts when we met in person and I was blown away! So a huge thank you to everyone for being generous with their time, gaming advice, and well wishes. Sure, there will always be people who let me down, and Dean might not get to feel Harley’s kicks until she’s actually in his arms and kicking him without me as a buffer, but that doesn’t make the real connections any less real. There really are some incredible people in the world who I’m happy to count as my friends, even if we rarely if ever get to meet in person; those connections and friendships aren’t imagined or faked. So huge shout outs to the people who connect with me in real or virtual life – you could have just been misinterpreted rumblings, but I know you’re not, and I’m grateful for the magical feeling that you give me.