I’m not good with new situations. One of my personal fears is rollercoasters: big metal moving machines that go really fast around corners and upside down and stuff. That scares me. So, you might be able to imagine how I reacted to being at Insomnia 60 yesterday.

As you might have figured out by now, the online community that I’m a part of has has a lot of people go to Insomnia events over the course of the last few years. And yesterday was the first time I’d been. It was also the first time I’d met anybody from the community. It’s the furthest that I’ve been from my house of my own accord (normally I’m reluctant to go even to the next town over). So, yesterday had a few new situations.

I slept poorly the night before, from fear. I was afraid of going since about two nights prior. I was afraid. Of people that I’ve known for over a year and a half. Of people I’ve talked to for literally thousands of hours (yes, I keep track). Of people I’ve seen on webcam, talked to on Teamspeak and made things as rediculous as a full scale gameshow with. As long as I was on this side of a keyboard, mouse, monitor, microphone and headset, I was fine. I was fine on webcam, because at any moment’s notice, I could close the tab, walk away or just cover my camera. But that’s not really something you can do in person. (Funnily enough, people either see it as rude or get concerned for you if you just walk away without warning.)

But, I got there. I made it to Birmingham and then i60. And it’s one of the best days I’ve had for a long time. All in all, I met the better part of 20 people. I mean, I already knew them, thousands of hours of conversations, etc… But I actually met them. These are real people. With legs and stuff (you don’t really see legs over webcam, strangely). We walked around the Expo hall, played tabletop games. I played a piano and bought a Companion Cube plush (<3) and stopped being as scared. Because, in the end, these people are my friends. They aren’t strangers. (Well, I didn’t really know Nosdad, and I don’t think I’d ever met Ruari before, but they’re beside the point :-) ). A few of us even had a really silly idea which we decided to carry out in the space of about 45 minutes. Amazingly, it’s not completely terrible, even if it’s still got some work to go into it.

Anyway, if you’re reading this, I’d like to say thank you.

All of you, whether you were there only for yesterday, or for several days. Thank you. You’ve somehow managed to convince a skinny, reclusive, ginger, fearful mess of a person to come out of his shell somewhat. Thank you for being so friendly and welcoming. Thank you all for being great hug-givers, and for memories that are going to last for a long time. And if I didn’t see you, well - there’s always the next time :-)

And, until next time, o/