Look, I’m kind of a geek. I always have been. I went to a college well-known for its nerd factor. My mother’s only consolation to this was that my chances of marrying a future lawyer, doctor, or engineer were much higher because mostly, that’s all anyone goes there to study.
Soon after starting college, I met Mark, a future engineer and Class A Nerd. He and his friends introduced me into realms of nerdom that I never knew existed. Like the XKCD comic series.
(Side note: Mark actually insisted on using this XKCD comic to tell his family we were expecting Smudge.)
(Other side note: I do find these comics amusing about 30% of the time, when I can actually understand what the joke is.)
Well, about six months ago Mark excitedly told me the following story. The creator of XKCD had slipped about 32 puzzles into his latest book. The solutions to the puzzles formed an encrypted string which, decrypted, yielded a time, a date, and a set of GPS coordinates. The coordinates were for a spot in San Francisco’s Central Park, the date June 26th. He had me mark it in my calendar and I forgot about it till, oh, Friday the 25th.
So, after the church BBQ and depressing USA loss, we loaded up the car and headed into SanFran with NO idea what would await us (if anything!) in Central Park. We arrived and parked with 14 minutes to spare. Since I’m too slow, Mark took Menininho and rushed ahead, which I tried to hustle my preggo self. With two minutes left, I heard Mark calling to me from up a hill.
“Hurry! There’s only 2 minutes left! If I’m going to make it in time, I’ll have to climb down this cliff quickly. I’ll take the baby and you take the stroller and keep walking along the trial and meet up with us when you can.”
And I did. I let my husband grab our child and climb down a cliff to join the small crowd below. And as I pushed the stroller through the park (uphill, I might add) while I heard them screaming a count down that ended in “Happy New Year!” (the heck?!) And I braved some shrew/mole creature that popped out of a hole and tried to eat me.
But Mark was so happy! He was among his people (including the guy in front of us, who’d flown in from New York for the event). People who flew kites and passed out homemade brownies to everyone in line and wore video games shirts and, yes it’s true, acted out mock fight scenes in slow motion.
I know you’re wondering what the event was. The creator of XKCD flew out to sign autographs and pass out booklets of never-before-published comics. Although we were towards the front of the line, it took an hour to get to him because he spent so much time chatting with each person in line (of which there were over 100 in total). Really nice guy! He loved the story of Mark using his comic to announce our pregnancy and even signed Mark’s thesis project (that’s how big of a fan Mark is).