half-past time

There was a time several years ago, here in Huntsville, when many of the names that appear now in my daily life had yet to appear in my life for the first time. It began, as these things are wont to do, with a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere over the coast of Thailand; two years later, it ended with me taking a web design job in a farm of fresh grey cubicles.

Two cubes down, there was someone about my age. Her name was Kat and she said, "I'm a wondergeek."

"What's a wondergeek?" I asked. She showed me the answer: her roommates. Powerpuff Girls, even: Heather the brunette, Jessica the blonde, Kat the long-haired redhead.

Somewhere along the way, she came to our house for the first time, and Jeff laughed and I laughed and she laughed and I began to suspect that there was something potentially okay about these Huntsville folk after all.

Names led to names, and to more names, indeed; a year later we were coaxed into working dragon*con tech staff for the first time. I began to forget that a year after we'd moved to Huntsville, knowing no one and feeling adrift, I'd begged Jeff if we could move anywhere but this miserable, friendless here.

Except that one day I looked at our phone and realized I'd begun taping little lists of phone numbers to all the handsets of our phones, because we'd begun to acquire a nest of friends faster than I could memorize their ever-changing phone numbers.

There were concerts. Shakespeare. Obscure shopping trips. Atlanta quests. Introductions. (Sean who?) Engagements. (Nice job on that one, Sean.) Weddings, even. (The kazoos were a stroke of pure genius.)

One by one, the wondergeeks began to slip away. For Jeff and I, this town is our post-collegiate destination; we arrived here planning on staying a while. For them, this was the college town: not a destination, but a launching point. Heather landed in DC, ending up married to someone we accidentally introduced her to. (The rest of the credit has to go to her. Or the shirt.) Jess landed in Pennsylvania, working on her master's degree. Kat stayed longer, but we knew it wouldn't be forever; when she and Sean announced that they were moving, we greeted the news with no surprise whatsoever.

There's a time for meeting, and a time for moving, and the hands on the watch said it was half-past time for the latter.

We'll miss you guys out in Phoenix - but I look at all the people in my life now whose paths might never have crossed with mine if Kat and I hadn't decided that we liked taking our lunch breaks together - and I can say without question, without prevarication, that my life's richer for your having been in it.

Never say I didn't tell you. :)

Good luck in Phoenix.

Two years ago today: "Don't fear the weasel." In which I relate the descending quality of jokes to chlorophyll-hating plants, dinosaurs, or cockroaches. Why am I pointing you to this? I don't know. It's really late, and for some reason, even my own words started sounding funny. Yeah, that's the ticket.

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Sorry I missed the party. It had to be good if Amy suddenly thinks my pasteurization jokes are funny enough to recount. Kat, Sean ... take care of yourselves. Now I have an excuse to stay in Phoenix instead of just changing planes there. Fear the airport carpet.

Andy and I are already thinking about a Phoenix invasion, prolly sometime next winter when it's 30-below-zero and I'm about to committ hari-kari from winter blues. Just wait until the first snowstorm hits - I'll find a cheap plane ticket to warmth.

So, does that make our house the Geek Winter Retreat?

No, the Treehouse already bears that designation, dear Kat. But hey, now that you guys are somewhat close by, feel free to stop by Colorado anytime! (Sean, can we say Troma party?!?!) :)