Meeting Mitch Again After 11 Years

After work, I headed over to First Draft (formerly Villains) to meet up with my friend Mitch. What’s weird is that Mitch and I have known one another for maybe 15+ years now… and today would mark only the fourth time we’ve met in person.

Mitch and I were both members of a now-defunct forum called Back in the day, it was one of two major forums for people working with Flash. WH was one of the first places on the Internet that I called “home,” and there are a lot of folks I still talk to, now and again, from that era.

I know Mitch as “shuteye,” and pretty much everyone from those forum days went by an online nickname. If you ever get more than two of us together and listen to us talk about other online people we know… it will sound like a ridiculous conversation.

There was a big get-together in Chicago in 2002, that I hosted for some reason. That’s the first time I met Mitch. We did another Chicago get-together a year later, and he came by for that, too.

The following year several of us went up to attend Dustin and Sherie’s wedding (we knew Dustin through the WH forum as well).

I think that may have been the last time Mitch and I hung out together. Over 11 years ago! Craziness.

We sank a few beers, and talked a lot about technology – both old and new. We talked about the early days of Flash (and realized we both picked up Flash when it was still Macromedia Flash).

It was Justin that first showed me Flash in 1999 (Gabocorp blew my mind), and inspired me to buy a $99 student copy of Macromedia Flash so I could animate my poems.

Around the same time, Mitch was teaching classes… and had a break between classes from 1-5PM. Instead of going home, he spent that time noodling around with Flash.

In the heady days of Flash, there were two main forums: Were-Here and FlashKit. I remarked how amazing the confluence of events that led us both to learn Flash, and to find one another online. And to continue to talk, all these many years later.

We touched on a lot of topics: autonomous cars, the allure of lottery and the cold truth of Math, online friends, the pace of technology, whirlyball, smoking and quitting smoking. We talked about our pets dying (sadly, his cat Garcia passed away while he was in Chicago for work). We also talked about how fun it would be to have another get-together with all the online folks we know.

It is amazing to realize how much time has gone by. And despite the years, despite the nature of our relationship being primarily online… hanging out and talking with Mitch was as easy as talking with a childhood friend.

I think back to a night in 2003, when everyone crashed at my place and we all literally sat on my kitchen floor in the wee hours of the night, after returning from the bars.

I remember laughing harder than I have in my life, and being incredibly happy – surrounded by all these wonderful, talented, online yahoos.

It’s great that Chicago is a good hub for people to meet up again. 11+ years between drinks is a long while, but it’s nice to know we can all pick up easily, once we meet up again across a table.

Were-Here Visit, Part 1
Were-Here Visit, Part II
TwelveStone Chicago Boozification, Part 1
TwelveStone Chicago Boozification, Part 2
TwelveStone Chicago Boozification, Part 3
Dustin and Sherie: Wedding in Belgium
How Many Imaginary Internet Friends Have You Met?
Friends for Eight Years, Meeting for the First Time
Meeting Scotty and Laura

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