A couple of weeks ago, I attended Ignite Boulder 16. I’ve been going for quite some time. I think this was my 11th Ignite. Crazy. It’s always a good time. But, since it’s held on Thursdays, I now weigh attending to missing a support group meeting. I really treasure my support group. But, I also love catching up with old friends and making new ones at Ignite.
In the days approaching Thursday, I was asked by a friend if I wanted a ride back with he and his wife. They just moved to the area and they know I don’t own a car. I usually take the express bus back and forth from downtown. It was a generous offer which I gratefully accepted. The night before, I received a twitter DM from his wife, who I hadn’t even talked with in person if I wanted a ride up there. Again, a very nice offer. She was going up early, since she was a volunteer. How could I say no? But, I didn’t want her to get lost finding my house. So, we worked out that she could pick me up at my work, which is very close to their house. I stored my bike in the back room.
The ride up was very nice. Through our interactions on twitter, I knew my friends wife was very nice. And in meeting her face to face, I was not at all disappointed. The conversation up to Boulder was great. My friend is one lucky man to have her. We stopped at the local Kinko’s before getting to the Boulder Theater. Which gave her the opportunity to refine her sales pitch for Pod Camp Denver. I missed it last year. So, hearing more about it was great. I think I’m sold.
We parted ways once we got to the theater so she could get her work done. It was one of the earliest times I’ve ever gotten there. Finding a seat was super easy. And as I saw people I knew, I played with them on twitter by saying I was hiding from them. It was nice seeing so many friends including Mel Sidwell and Sarah Gjestvang. One of the most unexpected people I ran into was the woman I sat next to at the last Ignite at Chautauqua. She actually approached me. Am I that memorable? As we were leaving at the end of the night, our eyes met once again and we waved at each other. I’ll have to remember to look for her next time. Over the last couple of years, I’ve made it my mission to meet at least one new person at each Ignite. It’s usually somebody I know from Twitter but haven’t met in the real world before. I think I met three or four new people at this Ignite. A minute or two after checking in via Foursquare, Raman Sinha found me and introduced me to his lovely girlfriend, Kristi. Raman and I have a mutual love of bikes. It’s always nice seeing him. While waiting at my seat, Mel Sidwell saw me and gave me a stress squishy in the shape of a buffalo. She works for the Leeds School of Business. That buffalo is still sitting on my nightstand just in view of a very jealous dog who can’t get past the baby gate into my bedroom. While talking with Mel, Sarah found me. Sarah has been a huge supporter of me. And whenever I feel down, I know she can cheer me up. I saw Andrew Hyde talking to someone in front of me. I posted on twitter that I was thankful that he didn’t see me. He then checked his phone. I was worried that he saw me joking about it. He walked off, but came back a few minutes later to say hi. Andrew has been amazingly supportive. Terry Cabeen came up as Sarah and I were talking. There’s something you should know about Terry. He’s a really nice guy. But, he loves to hug. So, if you ever get the privelege, be prepared for that. In the middle of the presentations, I saw Erin Olman say something about Ignite on twitter. . Turned out she saw me before everything started, but I was talking to someone else. She said that she was sitting two rows in front of me. That, turned into a game of trying to find her. I would send her something. And then watch for someone looking at their phone. At the end of the night, I held back near the bar to check my email and let the crowd disperse. While standing there, Erin came by to introduce herself. She always thinks she sees me downtown on my bike. She works downtown. We talked about maybe having lunch downtown sometime. That would be great. She’s awesome. I then saw a lady from behind who I thought might be Aimee Giese. While approaching her, I saw Terry saying hi to her and as he passed me, I asked if it was her. He cheered me on in meeting her. But, before I could do so, Elaine Ellis tapped me on the shoulder to say hi. She was on her way out. But, wanted to say hi. Elaine is great. I wish I had a chance to speak with her longer. I waited a second until Amy was done speaking with someone and then tapped her on the shoulder. She immediately recognized me, which is very strange feeling. Her face changed to excitement when I got her attention. She gave me a big hug. Amy has been over the top great about my gender stuff. We didn’t talk long (I was a little nervous). She asked how I was doing and seemed like she was ready for a longer conversation. I wasn’t prepared for that. So, I told her I had to go. It was so nice meeting her.
I can’t wait for the videos of this Ignite get posted to Youtube. There was one in particular that caught my attention. And I want to post it here. What’s really bugging me right now is that I can’t remember too much about it. I knew there was something about it that I found particularly inspiring. So, I want to relive that as soon as possible.
Upon leaving the theater, I found my ride (Terry and Kia) and we made our way to the after party. I have never been to the after party before. Terry told me that my ride home depended on them going to this so they could support their friend Clare, who just started working as the social media manager for the bar where the after party was being held. Before going there, there was a second location almost across the street that had a post Ignite gathering. There was chips, salsa, various kinds of dips and carrots available. There was also a bar tab in case anyone wanted a drink. I didn’t feel like drinking alcohol. So, I just had a coke. We sat with a bunch of people I had never met before. And although I don’t remember their names, it was nice just absorbing the atmosphere. Ef Rodriguez came up to say hello and get a hug. And I said hi to Jeremy Tanner as well.
We ended up staying there almost an hour before heading to Centro. The place was packed. I went to the bathroom and then tried to find a corner to hang out. I’m not exactly the biggest social butterfly. From where I was sitting, I saw two people I knew talking. And after a few minutes, one of them came and sat at my booth. This person knows about my gender problem and has been more supportive than I ever expected. They asked me how I was. And that turned into a great conversation. It was the best conversation I’ve had in awhile. It made the night totally worth it. Thank you, friend.
While sitting there, Terry found me and then the out of the blue, this mysterious Clare person was in front of me. It turns out that we follow each other on Twitter. It was Clare! She even acted as waitress and got me a Coke. That was something she clearly didn’t need to do. As her position with Centro is social media manager, I am so glad the place was packed. So happy for her.
We left shortly after that. I even asked someone if I could give them a hug. I think Terry is wearing off on me. On the way to the car, Terry and Kia debated what to call me. It’s exactly what Kia asked me when I first got in her car. I told her my male name worked for now. I don’t pass. And it’s a little difficult to talk about outside of the internet. They settled on Becks. Which I approve of. It’s a good mid point name. It’s close to Becca. But, not exactly giving anything away. During the entire car ride home, I was thinking about the conversation I had at Centro and the support I’ve gotten from my friends. Overall, it was an amazing night. I feel loved.