Through my brother I ordered my first computer. Except programming courses in college, I'd only ever worked on computers within very defined applications for whatever industry I was in. I liked my expensive toy, liked playing with it, upgrading it (yeah, hold the geek comments to the end please), and reworking my resume yet again. Heard a radio ad for a local ISP and next thing you know I'm Archie-ing and Veronica-ing all over the place.
Now this ISP was very local to the Tee Dot, and small - the brainchild of two brothers Kludge and Bozak (not their real names). Shortly after launching, the services expanded as the www started and included a telnet chat. Now this chat was just for people on the ISP using their soon-to-be-obsolete software, and a motley crew soon showed up.
Dyslexicon was unusual for a chat...there were no moderators, no rules except maybe don't piss off the regulars. The fact that we were all local meant that there were meetups, Future Bakery for coffee and The Phoenix Club for wild and drunk evenings.
The chat was my lifeline. Here I could get the social interaction I needed without any spousal bullshit (of course he had to create some, it's what he did after all). I got to know some truly fabulous people, from some very disparate backgrounds. For a period of about a year, my friendships deepened and my marriage took a step from rocky into precarious. He was no longer the centre of my universe (never was truth be told) and it pissed him off. And he hated the fact that his campaign of belittling was not succeeding - how could it when there were all these great people who thought I was the cat's pajamas?
That part of the story came to it's obvious end. Sad, but inevitable. To this day he blames the internet chat for the breakup. I tend to look at it as the catalyst rather than the cause. Through Dyslexicon, I was able to meet people who I had nothing in common with other than being early-adopter geeks. They stretched my mind, my viewpoints, my awareness. The incestuous little group became a family of sorts...we drank together, partied together, and in a lot of cases, slept together. We supported each other, teased each other, gossiped about each other.
Of course this couldn't sustain itself - one by one people split off, went their own way. The network has become tenuous in a high-school-reunion kind of way: "oh remember Vauxhall, that drawing hobby ended up being a career", "Mino? I heard he moved to Greece and Birnie is now married". You get the picture. Do I still hang around with anyone from D-Con? Yep. I met Jules there, as well as Hunny Bunny.
And my point is, you ask? With the poker bloggers, I feel like I have stumbled on another Dyselxicon. I know I'm late to the party, but the friendships and camaraderie are very real. I can't wait to meet you all, to drink and laugh and drink and jopke and drink and play poker. Because in the words of the inimitable Joe Speaker:
It's not about the poker, people. It's about the people, people. And the best memories you'll take from the upcoming weekend will not be about raking pots, but about those unplanned, spontaneous moments, of which there will be many.