FINALLY got back from my trip. I've been gone for three weeks, and what a three weeks it has been.
I was invited to a LARP convention in Milwaukee, WI (Midwinter X, to be precise). The people who invited me offered to pay my way and pick me up, but live two hours from me, so I had to stay with them "a few days" until the time of departure. No worries, the event was in mid-January, so I figured I'd head up there on a Wednesday, stay 'til we left Friday, and come back to Kentucky on Sunday.
I was informed, due to financial reasons, that I'd have to come up on the 3rd and spend a fortnight in a small cluster of towns in central Illinois. I packed my things and began my journey.
When I arrived, it was to a two bedroom mobile home with no internet and newly frozen water pipes. There were two couples, a toddler, a pit bull and her 6 puppies, and two hateful but inquisitive cats occupying this cramped, broken-down space. Anyone who knows me well at all knows that while I am a social creature, my need for privacy is legendary. This was already shaping up to be a superb trip.
I was relegated to a small couch on one side of the living room, across from the futon (sleeping quarters of the second couple, parents of the toddler). As it turns out, both couples are swingers, so there are many numerous iterations of relationships between these four individuals, each with it's own high school puppy-love drama. Add to this the fact that one couple has a completely outsider third, who was there as often as I was, and that brings the count up to 5 adults, a child, 7 dogs, and 2 cats before we consider myself, the other couple that came over literally EVERY DAY with their 4 month old child, or the 7 or 8 other people who floated in and out as though they owned the goddamn place themselves. It was day two of thirteen, and already my sanity is wearing thin.
Did I mention their pipes were frozen? I didn't drive myself there, so I had no car, so I had to wait until the members of the house went somewhere (which was rare) to beg showers from complete strangers, or to use the bathroom (Ironically, at the time I was reading the Humanure Handbook on my laptop, and wishing I had the materials to construct a composting toilet. Had I but known, I could've alternately ordered a Shit Box). I would like you to note, dear reader, that the household itself felt no need to cease urination in the toilet-with-the-frozen-drain, though they were kind enough to save their "deuces" for the gas station restroom at the end of the road.
I will never understand how people on government assistance programs get more money for food in a month than I usually earn in two months when I'm employed, and yet still never have REAL food in their house. With two couples in the same house (and a third visiting, and therefore eating, every single day), all on government food assistance, you'd assume they'd have some of the basics, like flour or pasta or rice--staples in any intelligent kitchen. No. All of it was ramen and quick-yet-unfilling junk food. Every. Last. Dime. I had to FIGHT to find 1/4 of milk, not because they used it, but because they never purchased more. WTF, people? So there was nothing to cook. Not that it mattered; there was no water for clean dishes, so the point was really one of principle.
This is the part where I tell you that every single woman I met while I was there was trying her dead-level best to get into my pants. The only two possible exceptions were a pair of sisters--one was happily taken, and the other flirted, but I didn't see her often enough to discern whether she was sincere or not. This last woman was gorgeous, and single, but the rest were all taken and definitely not my type. They, however, didn't really catch onto this, so in addition to the drama caused by the botched swinger vibe, they were all backstabbing each other to try to get into my good graces. The punishment continues.
I had to completely reteach them all how to play this game, and when the event finally came around, I was ready to strangle them all with piano wire. The next two days were spent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with lots of gaming, non-drama, free booze (thanks White Wolf!!), and the most beautiful gamer girls you could ever hope to see. I'm not sure how many of said lovely girls I hung out with on the first evening (I had a bit to drink, apparently, because the security guard asked me to either go to my hotel room or go to prison at around 10 am when I was sleeping on the couch), but when game opened the second day, there were many flirtatious winks cast my way, so apparently I'm still charming when I'm "what-the-fuck-am-I-doing?" drunk. Game was a blast, I made a lot of new friends, and then it was over as quickly as it had begun.
Back to central Illinois to await a ride home. Knowing they were strapped for cash, I offered to stay until Friday because then we could catch another LARP game closer to home, where I knew people who could drive me the rest of the way home. The day before I left, the water thawed. I was so pissed. Then I found out that I didn't REALLY have to come up on the third; my hostess just said that because she was too lazy to pick me up the week of the event, and wanted more time to try to sleep with me. I was quite angry.
Now I'm back home. I couldn't be happier.