So, like last year, it’s time to start making serious preparations for Charity Quizo at the Dark Horse. This also means that, like last year, I just got back from New York Comic Con. Now some of you may be thinking, “why, John is a year older and a year wiser, surely this time his trip to NYCC involved no misadventures whatsoever.”
If you’re reading this I’m not sure WHY you’d be thinking that, because thinking that would indicate that you are barely intelligent enough to parse a sentence, let alone actually play Quizo. While I suppose it is theoretically possible that someone reading this could have amnesia and somehow forget that I am the plaything of an angry trickster god, that seems fairly unlikely. More likely you are just, like me, an incurable optimist.
At the show I ran into a girl I knew ages and ages ago – just randomly saw her on the floor, because at a convention with 100,000 people you’re bound to just walk past folks you know and haven’t seen for years. We made the usual small talk and in the course of this conversation she mentioned that she was going to an afterparty at a bar near my hotel on Saturday night and it’s going to be GREAT and you TOTALLY have to come.
Some of you may recall that my experience with comic convention afterparties isn’t exactly positive in the first place, and this had the “added benefit” of being in Manhattan on a Saturday night. If you’ve never done extensive drinking in Manhattan, let me explain something to you: with very few exceptions, every bar on the island is exactly the same. It is a very long and very skinny room with a bar running along one long wall. Everything is done up in a dark hardwood that is covered in high-gloss lacquer.There aren’t enough lights, it is very crowded, and very loud. They all play the same 80s music, they charge way too much for drinks, and the people there make you think “you know, that Hannibal Lecter fella may have been on to something.”
As I noted in the story of the last comicon afterparty I went to, this is so far from my scene it’s hard to accurately describe the distance. But, I thought, old friend, comic book people, I’ll make an effort.
Late on Saturday night I met her at the bar, and the place turned out to be every other New York bar I’ve ever been in (except one, but that’s another show). Wood, dark, loud, full of people. Lots of people were wearing nametags, which I guess isn’t too weird at a convention party, but there was an odd bit: almost everyone’s nametag also had a Twitter handle on it. I figured this was some kind of 21st century communication thing, or at worst a way for a bunch of people to collect new Twitter feeds to follow.
Somewhere, when I thought this, that angry trickster god had a nice little chuckle, grabbed a handful of popcorn, and peered closer into his scrying mirror.
Now, here is what transpired from my point of view at this party:
I was there for maybe 25 minutes. I spent three of those minutes talking to my friend about comics, and the rest of the time making awkward small talk with other people who I had never met. Because, you know, I’m GREAT with new people. And new places. Yeah, good times.
The other 22 minutes I was there the girl I know was flitting all over the bar with her phone in her hand, running up to people and doing that girl-hello-scream thing. I figured, it’s a big show and she probably has people she knows coming from all over.
At the 25 minute mark my social anxiety got the better of me, I made the (true) excuse that I had to be up early in the morning, thanked my friend for inviting me, and headed back to my hotel.
This is what ACTUALLY happened at the party:
After talking to me for three minutes and then leaving me to make small talk with perfect strangers – which I suppose she may not have known is something that absolutely terrifies me – my old friend pinballed around the bar, running up to people and doing that girl-hello-scream thing and saying hi to them…
I am not making this up.
She would walk up to someone, make the noise, and then, on her phone, fire off a tweet that said “OMG! HI! @soandso”
I say again: I am not making this up.
I learned this after the fact, last night, when I got home and took a look at her twitter feed and the time I was at the bar (and several hours thereafter) is just tweet after tweet of “[internet interjection]! [random greeting word]! @[Twitter handle].”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Twitter. I am a Twitter user, though not a terribly active one (@kozemp, if anyone cares). I think Twitter is great for certain things, especially as a sort of personal news aggregator. While my friends are all pretty universally smart people, not all of THEIR friends are, and Twitter spares me a lot of the idiocy I see on comment threads on my friends’ Facebook statuses. So, overall, I am Twitter-positive.
This, though? Saying hello to people on Twitter that you are literally standing in front of? That is a bridge too goddamn far.
That isn’t the worst part, though.
The worst part is that I started to click on some of the people she was hello-tweeting…
And they were all doing the same thing.
I sat there at my computer, staring at this hideous perversion of social networking, and thought, “I’m living in a bad William Gibson parody.”
Somewhere, in the bowels of the earth, Loki chewed on a pretzel bite and started planning next weekend.
Charity Quizo. Monday, November 14, at the Dark Horse. Doors open at 730. Can’t wait to see you there.