So, Simon said he was going to be in the U.S. for a month and wanted to see as many people and places as possible while here. And then Simon said he would be traveling to Indianapolis for a couple of days and wanted to meet with DOC folks from the area. And when Simon says he’ll be in town, we members of the Diabetes Online Community do our damnedest to be there, too. And this past Saturday, we were.
Simon arrived in Indy early Saturday morning, after a wild and crazy adventure that can only be described as a remake of the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. And was met by Mike Hoskins, with whom he stayed while in town.
I drove to Indy from Fort Wayne that afternoon and, after checking in at the hotel, headed downtown to Monument Circle to catch up with Simon, Mike and Suzi. It was so awesome getting to meet Simon in person and hang out with him while he took in the sights of downtown Indianapolis. Simon took several photos of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument and I’d snap a photo of him from time to time. At one point, he noticed me doing so and busted out laughing. There’s nothing like capturing pure, spontaneous emotion on camera. That photo is in the gallery below.
Our touristy shenanigans drew to a close as the time for our meetup with the rest of the group quickly approached. We found our way back to our cars and set out for more D-meetup fun at Dave & Busters on the north side of Indy. There we met up with Marie & Bea, who drove to Indy from the Chicago area, and Jeff, Libby Hogan, and Michael & Melissa Schwab who live in the Indy area.
And to the best of my knowledge we all had a great time. There were lots of great conversations, incredibly over-sized portions of delicious foods, and a seemingly endless supply of diet coke, and there were also a few special gifts for Simon.
Mike Hoskins somehow came up with the idea of creating “Wanted” posters for the occasion and sent me the images to be printed, which I did before heading to Indy. The poster reads: Wanted for Excess Musical Lyric Tweets, Simon, International PWD of Mystery. Contact: #DSMA Wed. 9-10P EST. Reward: Diet Coke. Everyone got a kick out of them.
Mike mentioned that Simon also got a kick out of the plush pancreas that Suzi had given Mike this past Christmas, and I just happened to have mine in the car. So, I donated mine to Simon. Because, you know, he needed another non-functioning pancreas. And that’s what friends do. 🙂
And last but not least, there was the DOC t-shirt. When I heard that Simon was going to be visiting and that a meetup was being planned, I decided I wanted us to be able to give him something special to commemorate his trip. So, I had a t-shirt made bearing the DOC logo I created during Diabetes Art Day last September, and presented Simon with it on Saturday. Everyone signed it for him, and he’ll be carrying it to other meetups during the remainder of his time in the U.S. so others can sign it as well. It is, in fact, a gift that keeps on giving.
There was something of a speech that went along with that gift, but Simon may have been the only one who heard it. It was quite simply that we, the DOC, are indeed a global community. As the slogan on the shirt says, we are “Separated by Miles, United by a Cause”. In my mind, Simon embodies that. And I am in awe of the commitment and effort he has put into making that 10,000 mile journey from Australia to the U.S., not once but twice. Just for the opportunity to meet with other people with diabetes. People with whom he had become friends via this wild and crazy thing we call the internet and social media. It’s pretty incredible, really. I’m proud to have been able to give him that shirt and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to do so in person and among other DOC friends.
OK, so that was a bit heavy. And I’m feeling a bit emotional. But, it’s how I feel. The whole meetup was an incredible experience and, honestly, I’m still processing all of it.
The rest of our time at Dave & Buster’s was spent conversing and shooting a few friendly rounds of pool. Who knew that Suzi was such a pool shark? She beat me twice! And Simon, well… he beat us both!
As with all good things, our meetup came to an end. Well before some of us wanted it to. We said our goodbyes and parted ways. Maria, Bea and I were staying in the same hotel, and decided to hang for a bit longer before calling it a night. And the three of us had breakfast together at Denny’s before parting ways Sunday morning. They were off to Chicago-land and I headed for a meetup with my family south of Indy.
In all, it was a fantastic weekend. I enjoyed every minute spent with everyone, and I’m so looking forward to more meetups in the future.
And, if Simon says lets meet in Indy again, I’m there!