Today was the last day of dedicated Kinda Funny community events. Starting at 1pm, the coordinators established a dedicated picnic in the park event. This was designed to mirror the picnic in the park event from last year at the Presidio. One final farewell send off event where people can hang out and mingle until they're ready to go.
Prior to today's community event, I was invited to a small brunch get together with a few friends from the group. Some of the newly-dubbed #KindaHunnies were having a ladies' brunch and invited Xyger and I to tag along.
These "secret" activities always wind up leaving me conflicted. I absolutely want to spend time with these dear friends and sometimes that requires getting a bit of personal time away from the rest of the community. But I also hate hiding from or lying to the community. I hate when people ask if I'm doing something and saying "sorry this is a smaller intimate thing" or, in order to keep people from showing up, outright lying to keep too many people from tagging along. We learned last year the hard way when 40 of us showed up to a brunch spot and were let in 10 at a time.
I absolutely want to meet new people and help them experience the community like I did. But I also want some dedicated time with friends I've already made that won't be interrupted. I hope the community members will forgive me. It's a tough balancing act and I look through my Twitter feed and still come across so many people I barely saw or didn't see at all.
Following our brunch, we walked across the street for a quick jaunt on the beach. We immediately realized that something like that would make a perfect activity for a community event next year. Plenty of space, ample parking for those who drive, and something sort of unique to San Francisco for out-of-towners to enjoy.
After the beach, we headed over to the formal community goodbye picnic at Golden Gate Park. There were already about 30 people hanging out together when we showed up, which was awesome. Exactly what I would have hoped for; people who just met one another, fleshing out those relationships, talking about the amazing weekend they've just had and how they'll keep in touch. People had brought water, Oreos, some alledged libations...and everyone was laughing and smiling.
I sat down at a table filled with people I didn't know before this trip. A couple of them I'd met throughout the week (and I was even remembering some of their names - despite the annoying fact that they had gone and changed shirts) but some of them were brand new to me. So as I had been accustomed to doing, I asked about their favorite parts of the show. We talked about what kind of stuff they would have to pull off at Kinda Funny Live 3 to top this show. Ideas like getting The Rock up there (which Greg tweeted out) or building KFL3 as an actual world tour event going through San Francisco, Austin, New York, Canada, England, and Australia (maybe tied to industry events in each of those cities like RTX, Comic-con, etc.).
I popped around some of the other tables to see how people were doing. Ryan and Emily (from the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen Friday) happened to be at a nearby museum and swung by afterwards so I got to have a great closing-out-the-week conversation with them to see how they enjoyed their time (spoilers: they had a ton of fun). As people started peeling away to catch planes and what not, there were hugs and emotional farewells.
Meanwhile, others began putting together another secret meal gathering at a ramen place down the street. This happened to (perhaps unintentional) mirror another event from PlayStation Experience where a group of us snuck away for a secret ramen dinner. At PSX, it was a lot easier to get separate people and spread the word though. Here, just as I alluded to above, we chose to fall back on a lie of "going back to the hotel" while secretly passing along the word through text messages, Twitter, Facebook, or "Hail Hydra"-esque whispered messages during "good-bye" hugs.
Again, I feel bad for the handful of people we were misleading here. Really, I absolutely do. But the opportunity to have a more intimate dinner with the friends I've made in the past winds up being worth its weight in gold when we only get to see each maybe a few times a year. Getting to hang out with someone like Amy Gilroy, who flew in from Ireland winds up being 1000% worth the guilt of the deception because I know she won't be able to make the journey again soon. Or sitting across the table from Kaylie Woomer who, since I first met her virtually over an inter-group dispute on Facebook, has continually astounded me with her passion and fearlessness. Am I selfish to want to keep these moments to myself? Absolutely. And I'm ultimately okay with that because in the long run, I have hope that the people we might have knowingly left out of something like this will decide to partner up for their own thing and build these lasting friends just as we have.
Following our ramen, we said our goodbyes for real this time to those we knew we wouldn't be seeing for awhile and, in the same breath, already started to plan what we'll do the next time we're together. After ultimately deemed the now somewhat chilly, foggy, and windy weather too cold for ice cream as originally planned, a group of us returned to our hotel room and decided we would wrap up our last night together with a quiet night in together. In order to get some writing done, Daddy Trevor as I've been named, decided to give the children some allowance money for food and drinks. And when they returned, we had some rum and cokes, ate some snacks, and just watched a couple movies and visited.
A quiet night in with cherished friends before we would say our fond farewells the following day.