In December 2012, I was able to achieve a dream I’d held since I was a kid. I went to see Distant Worlds for the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy. A Facebook group was made for the event and I happily chatted with people who shared my thrill for the series. One person decided to hold a pre-party at his apartment, located a 15 minute drive away from the theater. I was more than happy to go since I didn’t have many local friends who enjoyed the series.
I may have fangirled a little bit. Whenever I mention Final Fantasy and someone happens to know what I’m talking about, I get really excited. How many of the games have they played? What’s their favorite? Can we be besties???? (I swear I never say these things out loud. I don’t want to scare them away.)
My only problem was parking. The lot wasn’t very big and I didn’t want to have to mess with additional transportation. Going anywhere was going to be a problem. A 15 minute drive would be a very long walk.
Without a second thought, I went to the event page on Facebook and asked
the strangers if anyone going to the event would give me and my friends a ride. As a result, many other people also asked for rides. That wasn’t very helpful.
Then a man, who I am going to call J, responded to me. He told me he was flying in from Florida for the performance and staying at the hotel across from the theater. Along with his room, he got a free parking spot for a car he wouldn’t have there.
You see where I’m going with this: I can hear the victory theme!
I explained to J that I had two other people coming with me and only one free spot in the car. If he was willing to give me his parking spot, I was more than happy to drive him to the party.
While I didn’t think so at the time, it’s important to note that the only human beings who knew my plans to pick up J (aka, a Final Fantasy fan I met online a day before) and go to the party (at another fan-who-I-had-just-met-online’s apartment with a bunch of other strangers from around the country and world).
I’ve never met a malicious Final Fantasy fan in my life. Next you’re going to tell me that anime/manga fans are all secretly serial killers, too. They are just kind people, interested in art, music and culture (with a special love for Japanese culture).
The day went just as planned, with the exception of J’s plane. It got in a little later than expected, which met we missed the first part of the pre-party. Everyone was meeting at a Japanese restaurant before going to the apartment. By the time J arrived, they had all left. It wasn’t a huge hurdle. My friends, J and I just went to the restaurant on our own.
I met J outside the hotel. The only parking available to non-hotel patrons was a good walk away. One of my friends stayed with my car and the other came with me to meet him. As we walked back to my car, we talked about Final Fantasy and discovered we had common interests in books and movies. It was probably the nerdiest 5 minutes of my life up to that point (the nerdiest point in my life was the concert itself).
We ate and then went to the other guy’s apartment. I have never had so much fun in my life. There were debates about favorite Final Fantasy titles, discussions about character development, and, of course, music.
Soon, it was time to go to the concert. I screamed like the craziest 12-year-old Biber fan who just heard they got back stage passes when Nobuo Uematsu came out to hold a special per-performance in the lobby. It was magical.
Did you just get chills?
I won’t bore you with the nerdy details. The only thing that would have made the night better is if I could have gotten a hug from Uematsu-san or just touched him. I don’t obsess over very many celebrities. There are only two people I can’t help but squeal for. Uemastu-san is one and Richelle Mead is the other. A composer and an author: just the kind of people every 20-something looks up to.
Back to the story, after the concert, we were all on a nerdy high. A bunch of us from the pre-party decided to kick it at a local bar. When that was done, I drove myself and my friends back to my apartment safe and sound.
The funniest part of this story is D’s reaction when I told him a week or so later that I had picked up a stranger and drove him to another stranger’s apartment filled with more strangers. I think his eyes glazed over a bit with images of me being kidnapped, raped or killed.
In my opinion, someone looking to do any of those things probably wouldn’t choose to meet me in a public spot or even agree to tag along without knowing the gender and age of the other passengers. The guy didn’t even know what kind of car I drove. I suppose there is still a chance he could have been a mad man with a gun and death wish, but I’ve probably already walked past that guy at the mall a few times.
Now, I want your opinions. Do you think this plan was unwise? Would you pick up a stranger to get a good parking spot for the concert of your dreams? You’re opinion might save my life because, as of writing this, I’d have no problem doing it all over again.