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alt.polycon IV



alt.polycon II

alt.polycon III

alt.polycon IV

alt.polycon VI

Ldot, Siobhan and I each arrived in Chicago on a different Air Canada flight; Ldot arrived on Thursday morning, and spent some time doing touristy things. I arrived around eleven o'clock Friday morning, and Siobhan wouldn't show up until late-ish Friday evening.

Unfortunately, because the hotel had been reserved in Siobhan's name, and Ldot was the one who checked in, the hotel was repeatedly confused about who was in our room. (The hotel was *marvelous*, except that they kept calling our room to tell us that they didn't know who it was that was signing the room service bills -- "We have no record of anyone by that name in your room." "Yes, you do! You put it in last time we had this conversation!").

Aside from a brief chat with EveningStar2 and her husband in a hallway, the first people I met were the people setting up the con suite -- Holly, Star, and Alyse (and Evan was studying or sleeping or something upstairs). Ldot and I were among the first people to show up; we saw the sticker sheet when there were very few stickers on it.

Aahz, Stef and I had lunch together -- I'd regretted not talking to them more at the previous cons, and it was kinda kewl to finally spend some time with them. (I also learned the horrible truth about Aahz -- he likes *potatoes* in his clam chowder. *blech*).

By the time of the first panel, something like 30 people had arrived. This was the "introductions" panel. I remember when RJ boomed out "I'm RJ, and I'm shy and retiring!" (and what is it with these people who only use initials, anyway?) In a really impressive moment, after the intros, Holly managed to go around the room and repeat everyone's name (flubbing maybe 3 or 4).

Between the intro panel, and the second panel, a lot more people had arrived. My personal goal in this con was to meet two people in particular whom I had been reading online for several years, and who hadn't attended previous cons. One was Bernadette, who, of course, was the alt.polycon fan fund winner (hence, I knew she'd be there). She'd arrived by the time I got back to the con suite, and I started chatting with her, and immediately thought, "Here she is! Now what do I say?"

The second panel, "Relationship Changes", made me think of a few things. Oddly, a lot of stories exchanged in the panel were about how relationships changed for the worse, whereas I came into the panel expecting a more balanced view of changes. With the poly thing and the T-thing in my life, people often ask me if my relationship with Ldot has changed, and my standard answer is that relationships constantly change. And I think that trying to figure out which parts of the changes were because of poly and which ones were because we were getting older and wiser is a bit of an academic exercise. Ldot and I have gotten into the habit of paraphrasing this quotation (by Lilian Hellman, I think): "People change and forget to tell each other."

Ldot and I had dinner that night with Bernadette, Arthur, Star and my big sis, Andrea. And it was around about then that Jennie, Iain and Chris showed up. This was the first time I'd met Chris, and I really had very little idea what he'd be like (he's an imp, by the way).

Then, there was a trend that I think of as "the haircut look". Envoy gave me "the haircut look" because we hadn't seen each other since polycon II (and my hair was shorter, then), and I gave fairest one "the haircut look", and the next day Aahz gave Siobhan "the haircut look". And boy, we all gave Canadian-Stef "the haircut look".

The Poly Stories from Hell panel was pretty wimpy. More like Poly Stories from Heck. Most of the real PSfH appeared in other panels.

That night, I had a date planned. About 9 months ago, a poly person from polycon III and I had made arrangements to have capuccino together. Zie stood me up :-(

And finally, Siobhan showed up. Zie was going to be flying standby or driving, depending on seat availability, and, to be honest, I was worried about zir driving all night to Chicago. So I was happy when she arrived.


Siobhan and I woke up with barely enough time to make it to the "Commitment Ceremonies" panel (Ldot, our resident morning person, had been up for *hours*. And zie went to the "My Sweetie's Sweetie" panel to talk about us behind our backs :-)

At the "Building/Buying a Poly House" panel, I told the story about how the family bought a former crack-house (hey, it's hard to find a good-sized house in downtown Toronto for a reasonable price). The poly content that I neglected to mention was that when we put in our offer, I'd only seen part of the house, because of trouble we were having with the tenants. I was in Montreal on business, and I had to trust the judgement of my sweeties that we should put the offer in.

It was also in this panel that I started to pay attention to Roger and his family. They'd been in a coupl'a panels, and they consistently had interesting, poignant things to say. Unfortunately, I saw very little of them outside of the panels, so I didn't really get to socialize with them (I know you're out there Roger. You must come to APC VI!)

And it wasn't until the "Communication Skills" panel that I finally met the second person that I went there hoping to meet: heather. I'd been reading her posts for years, and I was pretty sure that she was in Chicago anyway. I was starting to find it odd that I wasn't seeing her anywhere. We didn't really get a good chance to chat again until Sunday brunch, but I was really happy to have met her in person.

At some point in the afternoon, I finally put stickers on my badge.

For dinner that night, Ldot and I went out with the Jennies, Iain, Chris, Bernadette, Arthur, and a number of others (I don't remember if they've been mentioned online, so I'll avoid names) to a Chicago-style pizza place. We agreed to wait about 45 minutes in a crowded restaurant lobby to get a table for 13 (we're not superstitious, fortunately). Snippit of conversation:

"We're not likely to see the zoo here in Chicago."
"I dunno. That lobby probably counts."

Best moment from the evening: Chris and Bernadette arm-wrestling.

It was when we got back to the con suite that Jennie noticed that I had marked two and a half partners on my badge. So I vaguely mentioned my capuccino date (I had since found the errant datee, and arranged a new time -- that night, in fact). After I took off for the date, I'm told that Jennie started going through all the registration index cards to try to figure out who I was meeting. (Yeesh, talk about nosey :-)

In the meantime, I was off having my secretive rendez-vous, which was only interupted about a dozen time by people like Envoy, Anmar and xlnt sticking their faces against the glass wall that separated our table in the restaurant from the indoor swimming pool. Oh well, so much for confidentiality.

Later that night, Canadian-Stef convinced Star and me to play a game of "Settlers" (I'm drawing a blank about who the fourth and fifth person in that game was. Help me out!). Despite the fact that Canadian-Stef kept trying to convince everyone that I was winning and that they should put the bandit in my territory (even though I kept getting almost no cards) she won the game with a huge lead.

Siobhan spent most of the evening sandwiched on the couch with Anmar, Canadian-Stef, and two others. God, you should have seen the stupid grin on Anmar's face.

Later that night, Brian started passing around a laptop for the stream of consciousness post. Most people just added stuff to the end of the post. Not Iain, however. He went through the whole message, adding and modifying as he saw fit.

I went to bed around 3 a.m.


Okay, now here I have to explain something to the con com. *Brunch* is not from 9:30 to 11:30. Brunch is more like 10:30 to 12:30. What you scheduled was *breakfast*. And you're not supposed to serve roast beef for breakfast.

This was easily the best alt.polycon Sunday morning meal I'd had -- I'm told that APC I was comparable, but I wasn't at APC I. Waffles to die for (and I abstained)! I got a chance to talk to Ian H, who I really wanted to talk to, particularly 'cause of his intruiging trip report from alt.polycon I. I find people with highly political outlooks really interesting. Unfortunately, I did the "ohmighodwhatdoIsay?" thing again.

And then, almost before I knew it, the con came to an end. People started disappearing to catch plans or begin long drives. There was no final group hug at the end.

The recently de-lurked Joanna and her roommate (again, I don't recall her being named on the newsgroup) took a bunch of us to a Thai restaurant. It took us a train ride and then a bus ride to get there, but *boy* was the food good. There are some foods (like Indian food and Thai food) that I just love, but almost never know what anything is, so I let other people do the ordering. Aahz, never one to keep his opinions to himself, suggested three or four dishes, and fortunately didn't protest too vehemently when we wanted a dish with eggplant in it.

At the end, I went back up to the con suite; Evan and Alyse were just about to (finally) close the door, when I made them let me in. We chatted briefly about the con, pornography, and the APC-attendee who went down to a wedding reception being held in the hotel -- he got really drunk and was preaching the benefits of polyamory to the wedding guests.

While we were sitting there, a older business traveller wandered into the suite; he'd been in the room across the hall, and wondered what the party was all about. Evan quipped up with Holly's explanation:

"We're a bunch of people from the Internet who decided to get together to meet each other in person."
"Is that AOL? Compuserve?"
"No, the Usenet."
"So what this newsgroup about?"
"Uh, it's just an Internet newsgroup."
"But what's the common point of interest?"

It turns out that even though he was in the room across the hall on Saturday night, we didn't even keep him awake.

The last point of the evening: Canadian-Stef, Siobhan, Ldot, Jennie, Iain and I went to have coffee and desert in the hotel restaurant, and we spent a few hours in the lobby talking about Melbourne and Stef's new wardrobe.

And then it was all over. Sigh. I wanna to go Australia, now.

Copyright © 1999 by B.C. Holmes. Last updated February 14th, 1999.

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