Monday, March 25, 2013

PAX East: Serendipity and Media Sluts

I promised an amazing PAX East story, so here it is. On Friday, a guy stopped by our booth to introduce himself. He wore a badge that identified himself as media and introduced himself as John from Frankfort. He wanted to let us know that he worked in video gaming media and that he, too, was representing Kentucky at PAX East. We talked for a while, exchanged cards, and went on our merry way with the promise that he would come back and chat with us later. I went back to yakking about our games to everyone who would listen, selling Girl Scout cookies, and hyping up our awesome company, Frogdice.

On Saturday about midday, John shows back up to chat. I see that media badge, and I start going into my whole speech about how our company is awesome, how we believe in the strength of women in gaming, how we made the decision that I would lead our design because I am our only woman designer. I yakked and yakked and yakked some more. I talked about how 34 years ago I immigrated to Boston, MA and then how we moved to Kentucky. Finally, John looked at me and said, "I'm going to ask you a really personal question. You don't have to answer if you don't want to."

That gave me pause. Was John a pervert? Was I going to have to deck him? Was I going to have to call security? Whatever. He could be the biggest pervert in the world. HE WORE A MEDIA BADGE. I processed that all in about 2 seconds and said, "Oh, sure. Go ahead."

"What's your maiden name?" Huh? That has got to be the weirdest question I've ever gotten from a media person. Maybe he just thought I was Thai and was waiting to hear confirmation by hearing my last name.

So, I told him. The weirdness got worse. His response to my answer? "You don't remember me, do you?"

CRAP! He must be someone important, and I had no idea who he was. He always appeared strangely familiar to me, so I thought that my husband (the President and CEO of our company) must have told me who he was and that John must be an incredibly important person. Doh! I sat for a second trying to figure out how to bullcrap my way into convincing this press guy that I DID remember him when, all of a sudden, I realized that his name might NOT be John.

I asked him again where he grew up in Kentucky, and when he responded, I knew only one person from the area he named. I just hadn't seen that person since 1992, over twenty-one years ago. He had been my very best friend from a six week summer camp that we both attended, but what were the chances that we'd meet again after all this time at PAX East hundreds of miles from home? How likely were the chances that we'd end up in the same industry? Still, it couldn't be anyone else, yet I didn't want to risk looking like an idiot just in case he was just a press guy I should know.

So I asked him his last name, and he turned out to be that friend from camp. Only his name was Ron, not John, and I knew him as Ronnie. (Yep, just drop the -nie from a name, and I'm completely stumped.) Though honestly, how many 4'11" Asian women named Pang could there be from Kentucky? He should have remembered me instantly! (I've got to thank my husband for this argument since he created it.) Ron had gone home on Friday night to look through the cards he received, and that's when he realized who I might be.

We spent the rest of the night just marveling about the serendipitous nature of our reunion AND how much of a media slut I must be to actually answer his creepy and weird questions. I'm still boggling over how far we had to go from home to find each other again.

I already thought of PAX East as one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. This pushed it one step further and gave me back a friend with whom I'd completely lost contact.


Ron Whitaker said...

Good times, good times. I'm that guy, and the fact that we reunited at PAX East was weird to the extreme, but somehow awesome.

Brian Workman said...

In every way awesome!

Diane Carlisle said...

Hah! Awesomeness. Rich, awesomeness. :D

Sounds like you had a great time, and an experience which will remain with you for a lifetime.

Congrats, Pang! And thanks for sharing your trip.

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