Tonight we had our monthly Geekdom Meetup event. This is a group I host that originally started out as the Star Trek Meetup and over the years opened up to be inclusive of all geek-related topics: sci-fi/fantasy, comics, anime, gaming, etc.
We had a variety of discussions on multiple geek levels, but the topic most people enjoyed hearing were about some of my freaky Meetup “fans” stories. These “fans” as I refer to them, are people who seem to attach themselves to my screen name (MistressPrime) and appear to be disconnected from reality. They are the real reason I have henchmen. My henchmen serve as a literal barrier to keep some of my more enthusiastic “fans” out of physical reach from me. They might help in other ways, but that’s their primary function in that job.
Freaky Meetup fan: “Spit-Take”
This was a member who joined a couple of my Meetup groups. The minute he joined he did a search online for me and found my Yahoo IM and immediately made contact with me as soon as I got online that day. I was a little taken aback by this slight intrusion of my privacy, but it wasn’t a difficult leap to locate me based on my ID. At first the conversation seemed normal, discussions about table top RPGs (you non-geeks might recognize that as what has become the generic label of Dungeons & Dragons for all table-top rpgs). The conversation seemed friendly enough, but then it moved into lots of compliments and suggestions that I should come over and play, then how I should come by for dinner… all very friendly, but hinting at more. Then there was talk about his wife (ok), but that he wanted to play when his wife was at work (not ok). Discussions of gaming turned more personal and then I was quick to get out of the conversation. This discussion led me to stay invisible when I still used Yahoo IM, but now I no longer use it.
Fast forward a year down the road. Spit-Take arrives at a Meetup dinner. We were at a British style pub & restaurant expecting a large crowd and I was doing my best to ensure we had enough seating. I was told a few good friends planned to attend and saved a seat for one of them next to me so we could catch up on each other’s news. As Spit-Take walked in he made a bee-line straight for me.
Have you ever seen a little kid who’s just giddy with excitement about going to Disneyland or antsy about opening birthday presents? You know, that silly ants-in-the-pants kind of restless dance they can sometimes do? Ok, so picture that, but a 50 year old balding overweight man doing this giddy dance next to me. He walked over, introduced himself, I introduced myself by my first name, Yvonne. He was over the moon. He’s so excited to meet me and explained to everyone at my table (we occupied several tables that night) that he’s been waiting 6 months to finally meet “MistressPrime”. I knew it had been closer to a year, but I really didn’t want to bring that fact up.
Now, I had already introduced myself by my first name, but for the rest of the night Spit-Take called me MistressPrime. It’s my screen name, not a magickal name, nor my job title. If after I’ve introduced myself to someone by my actual name and they continue to refer to me by my screen name I already know they don’t look at me as a real person. More often than not they’ve already concocted some persona that is loosely based on my name and what they assume it means and who I am. 97% of the time they’re completely wrong.
He continued to speak about me to MY friends, who actually know me, and talk about how much he’s been looking forward to this day.
This was such creepy behavior I made sure he didn’t sit anywhere near me. One of my friends got up and there were two seats between he and I, he was literally bouncing in his seat. It reminded me of a puppy that wants the treat 4 ft in front of him, but hasn’t yet been given permission. Finally he asked if he could take the seat directly next to me and I quickly told him no. It was the seat I was saving for my friend. He couldn’t handle it so he took the seat immediately next to himself, the one another friend was just sitting in. He wanted to be closer to me.
Right about then a guy I had an interest in walked in to join the event. We hadn’t seen one another for several months because he’d been out of town. So we got up and grabbed a tight corner booth for some privacy to chat and catch up a bit while the rest of the Meetup group mingled. He was telling me about some of his recent travels and we were just about to exchange phone numbers when Spit-Take squeezed his big backside into the tight booth, cornering my guy Paul. Spit-Take wanted to impress me and decided he would do so by telling me all about his knowledge of pirates. This was made all the funnier by the mere fact that Paul is a historical re-enactor as a pirate. He’s done all the research and I would venture to say he’s quite the expert on the topic. Spit-Take however, was not. Some of his facts were exceptionally incorrect, while the rest was merely superficial on the topic.
Paul was not happy about Spit-Take pinning him into the corner of this narrow booth and we managed to get Spit-Take to move. While he was off looking for a chair and out of earshot, Paul and I quickly exchanged phone numbers. Spit-Take returned and placed a chair at the end of the booth, blocking both of our abilities to exit the booth without his needing to move. This was my idiotic suggestion. I’m really not sure why I suggested it. I began to feel trapped and was mentally calculating how difficult it was for me to climb over the wall next to our booth without hurting myself.
At this point Paul had enough listening to Spit-Take drone on and one about his apparently lack of historical knowledge and decided to go to the restroom. I took that opportunity to also excuse myself and use the ladies room. While in there Paul sent me a text telling me not to return to the booth. When I did come back everyone was getting ready to leave and all were standing, saying their good-byes, and giving hugs all around. Paul joined me almost immediately after I walked up.
It’s at this moment that Spit-Take springs his surprise upon me. He assumed I lived in a particular city, asked me if that’s where I was driving. He then informed me he had taken the bus to the Meetup and did not believe there to be a bus running at that hour and he assumed I would drive him home. Paul was swift on the uptake there. He put his arm around me like I was his girlfriend and I explained I did not even drive to the Meetup that night and was heading in the opposite direction. Spit-Take seemed disappointed and then a little desperate. He reluctantly began to ask the few members who were left if any of them were heading in his direction. As luck, or misfortune, would have it, all were heading in the exact opposite direction. It was late, everyone had to be at work in the morning, and I’m wondering that if he took the bus, why then did he not leave when he said his last bus came through? I started to get very annoyed that he assumed I would drive him home. I don’t know this man. Why would I, or any other single woman, drive this creepy obsessed stranger whom was twice my size, home alone?
Paul then walked me to his car and let me in on the passenger side. My friends noticed what was happening and I was hoping none of them would say anything. Fortunately, they did not. Paul then drove us down the road to a nearby restaurant parking lot where we sat and chatted for about 45 minute in hopes that Spit-Take caught a bus and was away from where we left him. I wanted to retrieve my vehicle without him learning which car was mine. Luckily, when we returned to the parking lot Spit-Take was gone.
Paul was really awesome that day.
In general, I don’t remove members without cause. And though I found this guy’s actions to be creepy, I didn’t feel it was yet enough to warrant his removal. He attended several Meetup events, eventually bringing his wife. They were burdensome to a few of the Meetup members that were kind enough to drive far out of their way to pick them up and bring them to Meetups. One such nice folks were devoted members who drove into OC from Lake Elsinore. This was approximately a 54 mile drive one way for them. They would go past the Meetup location to pick up Spit-Take and his wife and bring them to the Meetups. Then the same kind souls would drive them home after Meetup and drive all the way back to Lake Elsinore in time to get some sleep and go in to work the next morning. Ugh, it was insane! Very kind, but just insane.
Spit-Take was obnoxious and becoming annoying to my assistant organizer, but had not yet done enough to warrant being booted. Until the day he earned the name Spit-Take.
We were doing our usual round of introductions so all the members could get to know one another. I will often throw a random “getting to know you” question on the end of the basic intro. My assistant organizer is quite the clown sometimes and gave a silly and unexpected answer to the question on his intro.
Spit-Take had just taken a full mouthful drink of soda and over dramatically spit it out all over the floor in front of himself. Not just on the floor, but on the shoes of the guy sitting across from him. A new guy. A really nice new guy at his very first Meetup gathering.
Spit-Take thought he was being funny. He did not bother to apologize for spitting on the new guy or making a mess, and until I handed him a handful of napkins and told him to clean up the mess, he had no intention to do anything about it other than just leave the large puddle of spit and cola lying all over the restaurant floor! It was a testament to Spit-Take’s hygiene.
The new guy went home that night and quit the Meetup without a reason, though I didn’t really think he needed one. I understood. My assistant organizer was chomping at the bit to kick Spit-Take out and I gave the okay. He was gleeful to kick the guy out.
Unfortunately, I had to kick out his wife as well. She actually wasn’t so bad, she knew her sci-fi better than most and I had no issues with her personally. However, we knew that it was unlikely she’d attend without Spit-Take with her so I had to revoke her membership as well.
I never bothered to tell her how creepy her husband was. I explained what he did wrong and how that adversely affected the Meetup group on whole and that his actions upset a member enough for them to never want to return. She seemed to understand, but only a little.
Several months later Spit-Take was in the newspaper! He was working at a local medical facility and had gotten aggressive with his boss and some co-workers to the point that the police had to be called in to subdue and arrest him. He spent some time in jail and when he got out he wanted to return to the Meetup group. He got a direct and plain NO from me. And that was the last we ever heard from him… thankfully.
Igor Spectre formed in 2000, armed with a grip of catchy songs that have been accused of being all-out electric punk, speaker-popping surf insanity, and even ear-bursting, ass shaking rock and roll. Call it what you want. Igor’s inspirations are a mashup of The New York Dolls, The Damned, The Adicts, The Cramps, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and has been called “The most overlooked, most disrespected band in Los Angeles.” They wear the moniker with pride.
I really love these guys and their music! I met them when I was co-host of a goth radio show. They came to the station and played live for us and were simply awesome. They actually have a lot of great songs, but don’t have many of them up on YouTube. Maybe someday.
Igor Spectre – Dandy Boy