By Marcie Everhart
While Suki So Chic goes to the gloriously sexy, island paradise of Aruba and Kathy So Glamorous to the historic, cobblestone streets of Boston for their vacations, I go to … a regional gathering at the Doubletree Inn by the Houston airport for American Mensa. What is American Mensa?! – you ask. Well … uhm …
It’s a high-IQ society which sounds super pretentious but honestly, we’re just a bunch of video gamers, science geeks, comic-book fans, history buffs, computer nerds, then throw in a few polyamorists, nudists, and argumentative types, oh and more than a few sweet, gentle-spoken atheists, boom, there you have it. Mensa in a nutshell. And we looooove to get together occasionally, throw back some Scotch, hug a lot, and hear people like Wil Wheaton speak (actor from Star Trek: Next Generation for those not-in-the-know, like frankly – me. I’m strictly old-school, original series with my first crush being Captain Kirk. I find … his pauses … strangely … sexual.) #idigress
I’ve been to quite a few Annual Gatherings of this group (national events that draw 2000-2500 of my most awkward brainiac brethren from all over the world, and I do mean brethren as women are far outnumbered by men in this organization), but I’d never done a Regional Gathering. I decide to investigate the annual RG hosted by the Houston chapter each Memorial Day. This year is a pirate theme. You’re supposed to wear your pirate costume. Well, hell. I’m in.
I do not pre-register or pre-book my hotel room. It’s the Doubletree by the airport. We Mensans are notorious for never committing til the last minute anyway. We just show up and hope for the best. We’re not jerks, per se; we had to work through our overwhelming desire to NOT go to something we really wanted to go to, because we’re a little anti-social and a lot introverted. I mean, holy-crap-on-a-cracker, people can be exhausting, amIright?
BTW, I just went to my closet and pulled a few things to pack for my pirate get-up. I had to purchase NOTHING new. I can’t figure out what this says about me. People are going to be coming up to me and talking in pirate jargon. I just know it. Sigh. I promise myself I will not punch anybody in the face this weekend.
So, it’s an airport hotel. Just how big of a problem could this be? I mean, just how often do the planes take off from George Bush Intercontinental Airport? Every. Three. Minutes. A little longer at night.
People stood in the parking lot staring at the sky with puzzled expressions as if they were asking the cosmos “How did I get here?” They had their phones out, taking the selfie to post online with looming airplanes over their shoulder – “heyyy, here I am at the Doubletree-Airport hotel! #awesome! “ One guy tried to take a video to show his wife how close to the runway we were. He said he thought one had hit the building the day before it was so loud. Oh, boy.
Winston Churchill’s great-grandson beckoned us to hie ourselves into his meeting room from the hallway. It was the first speaker meeting on the schhhedule so we incredibly bright Mensans were lost, milling about, wondering where we could get a paper map of the room layout. He was easy to spot – the one in a suit and tie with the Britty accent. And hella-hella CHIN. I mean, this damn chin! Love. This chin made the whole damn trip worthwhile. You do not see a determined, never-surrender chin like this every day. And dimples.
Right off the bat, he has to mention the TARDIS phone booth in the hallway near his door. Do we know who that belongs to? Everyone around me answers “Who?” I write on my notebook: OMG. Stahp. (I’ve never seen a single episode of Dr. Who, but I have a friend who keeps me up-to-date on these vital matters.)
He’s got a BATTLE-stance, too, ya’ll!!! – when he’s talking. He proposed to his wife in the Cabinet War Room, lol. I’m utterly charmed.
I attend six speaker meetings. In the past I’ve noticed that this is a generational thing – baby boomers love speaker meetings, drifting from one to the next. Gen X’ers drink all night and lay out at the pool all day, they’d never step foot in official programming, while the young ‘uns can barely tear themselves away from games to eat. I don’t know where the partiers are hanging out for this one.
Anyway. This is Sam speaking on the history of kilts and tartan.
He’s wearing a Prince Charlie jacket (considered black-tie) and a utilitarian kilt, but this is the cool thing I learned from Sam. You’ve heard of that tartan plaid pattern called “blackwatch”? It’s the dark green and blue one you see everywhere. Well, the Brits at some point outlawed the wearing of tartan plaid unless you served in their military. There were six companies of Highland soldiers (3 from Clan Campbell) serving the crown who were collectively known as The Black Watch. Game of Thrones, anybody?
Update on plane situation: This is incredible. Building SHOOK.
This sweet Jewish lady named Lynn spoke on how one man, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, brought a dead language out of use for 2000 years (Hebrew) back into modern use …
Another great speaker meeting explained the many limitations of the ancestry.com DNA tests everyone is doing. This is the upshot: It’s pretty loosey-goosey, ya’ll.
I finally found the partiers! – in the suite rented for the Scotch Tasting. Twenty-two of us squeezed around the table. We did 1-ounce samples of six different kinds of Scotch from the Highlands, Lowlands, Islands, Speyside, and Isley. That’s six ounces of Scotch in 45 minutes, for those of you into math. This was serious business with eye droppers and shortbread cookies and a map of Scotland. I took many notes, none of which made it out of that room with me. Woooooohoo! Let’s get this Pirate Night started!
This is half of my costume I packed. I forgot to put on the other half. I forgot I had the other half. Wooooohooo! Scotch!
The key note speaker was a wonderful lady from Galveston Island sharing her knowledge of Jean Lafitte (who had an entire colony on Galveston for a while) and some of her other favorite real-life pirates, including the wild, free, ruthless lady ones. Here she explains how Anne Bonny escaped a hanging by claiming she was pregnant. Lol.
And here’s the guys leading the pirate-song singing. Had no idea there were so many pirate songs to be sung.
What Day Is This?
Weary of all this intellectual stimulation (and a tad hungover), I decide to sunbathe in my sizzling black bikini (okay, it’s really a dowdy tankini, but TWO pieces!) and finish the bestselling novel I dragged with me. As the airplanes barely cleared the palm trees edging the pool, I noticed everyone around me not even pausing in their conversations or looking up from their phones. Obviously, I was in a creepy Hitchcock movie or Twilight episode where I was the only person who could see or hear the planes. I lasted 15 minutes outside.
I suddenly remember I’m part of a fashion blog and no one cares about what speaker meetings I went to! They’ll want to know what was I wearing?! Do I scout out the place for cute arranged scenes of chairs and art? Nope – for ledges and tables where I can set the camera on timer to shoot. I managed to shoot pictures of only ONE outfit. And in hindsight, it could have just as easily been my pirate outfit. Lol.
I’m trying so hard to show you guys the awesome sleeves on this Worthington top snagged at JC Penney on a sales rack for $10. They have folds sewn in to create three tiers, elastic cuffs and ties at the hems. It makes me think of a flamenco dancer.
The Real-Real Behind the Scenes
The loud, metallic foil pants of my Lady Pirate Captain outfit were featured in the very first post we did on this blog a year and a half ago. I had went Easter-dress shopping but ended up with these Golden Easter Egg pants instead. I have no idea why I haven’t been wearing these a lot. They’re very rock-n-roll and look beautiful with a cream lace top.
A Little Background Music