Thursday, September 22, 2005

To out or not to out, that was the question

I've been wondering whether to write a post about a mini-bloggers meeting in Oxford last Saturday, when I met two other bloggers and one blogger-to-be... then i decided I would do a careful, cautious write-up without mentioning names. Mainly because I wasnt sure if the others wanted their real-world personalities "outed". Well, I wont out them, they can entertain their many fans from the confines of their blog-closets while I babble on about just how MUCH fun it was to spend the day with such funny, clever, interesting, absolutely admirable people! A tip - dont make the usual associations by putting the words "out" and "closet" together, please... we're all married (happily) to persons of the opposite sex :)

Hm, just realised I dont need to keep their blog identities secret. Sometimes the thunderclap of realisation comes waaaaaaaaay after the too-brief lightning flash of clarity. There's physics for you. And philosophy.

The bloggers I was privileged to meet were
Ammani, Shoefiend and another lady whom I shall abbreviate to S. I am all admiration for S - I mean, with a PhD thesis to finish while doing a part-time job and looking after home, husband and baby, she still has the enthusiasm to want to write a blog... phew, just to think about it is tiring!

It was a minor comedy of errors when we met at Oxford station. We chose Oxford mainly because of a restaurant there that has dosas on its menu - as good a reason as any. So the arrangement was to meet at the station around 1.30pm and lunch at 2pm at the dosa place.

Shoefiend arrived way early, waited a bit, then made her way to the restaurant. I arrived next at the station and rang Ammani to find out about the others, to be told that her train was delayed but that Shoefiend was already there. So I rang Shoefiend - and she told me that the restaurant people had just informed her that they closed at 2pm! By that time, S had joined me... and she was taken aback to be told that the restaurant would only re-open at 6pm. Since she had to leave around 7pm, this was not good news.

Anyhow, poor Shoefiend walked back to the station where we all waited for Ammani. Eventually, while walking up into the town centre, we decided to have our lunch at a pub called Yates'. It wasnt bad, the only drawback being that they didnt offer dosas to us discerning customers. Didnt matter, though... I'm not even sure I tasted what I ate, because we were so busy talking. There was so much to jabber about but we did it (wo)manfully.

After we'd sat on the squashy sofas at Yates' for a few hours (enough to leave semi-permanent backside impressions), we decided to have a coffee elsewhere - so Starbucks it was, because everywhere else was crowded. Spent a long time there as well, still talking non-stop.

Since S, Ammani and I had all brought along cameras, the next thing was to take a few photos before it got dark. We wandered down near the Oxford University entrance and managed to take a few photos on the steps opposite. That was as close to culture as we got all day, in a town that's famous for its churches, architecture and history. We just had better things to do.

S had to go back home on the 7.15 train, so we escorted her to the station despite her protests. Then Ammani, Shoefiend and I went back to the town centre and hunted down the dosa restaurant, had dinner there and eventually made our way to the Youth Hostel. Which, by the way, is pretty laidback about its definition of youth, because we saw a few somewhat geriatric-looking folks there. More chatter, sitting in the dining room, and finally we went to bed, to sleep not a wink.

And the next morning, we parted ways.

Oh by the way, the dosas werent bad, but the sambar had celery in it. Celery! The upside to that is that at least I didnt have any close encounters of the disgustingly mushy kind with aubergines...

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