Once more, we straggled out of the hotel, into the grey drizzle of a Sunday morning, and onto a bus, which we promptly filled. One of the Bossman’s mates complained loud and long about the fullness of the bus, specifically that it was ‘full of nerds’; the fact that we were these nerds only making it worse. (The grounds for his complaint: we should have taken the train, which would clearly not be full of nerds, because they were all on the bus). This started a chain of complaining about his complaining, with one of the Bossman’s other mates pointing out he should cheer up, and that when he was a kid, he had always wanted to stand in the bendy section of a bendy-bus when he grew up. The original complainant declared that this was all by the by because he himself had never grown up. I loved it.
The only person not enjoying himself was this poor wee black dude, who was possibly the only local present, and who had not unnaturally decided that first thing on a Sunday was a nice, peaceful time to take all his clothes down the launderette; only to find the bus was crammed full of nerds.
Despite the vast number of beers consumed the night before, I was feeling a bit more like a Proper nerd, so I went to a talk about How You can Help Out In Open Source (A Talk for non-nerds). It was pretty damn cool, actually; a tutorial on how to help make Libre Office a much nicer piece of code, even without being able to code personally, and I was assured that this was a great back-door for getting into coding and many people had done so and all were welcome I took copious notes, resolved to be the mightiest code-clearner-upper the western hemisphere had ever seen, and promptly did nothing about it at all, ever again.
Instead, we went to the cafeteria, which I had not fully realised before was also a Pub, and an astoundingly cheap pub too, stocked full of very tasty Belgian beers. Alas, the queue was so huge that by the time I had taken the Bossman’s money to the front of it, he had finished the last beer he’d sent me up for; so eventually, rather than spend my whole afternoon in the queue while a number of excellent beverages went flat by my empty seat, I bought out half the bar in one go and pretended to be serving a party of ten.
We then sat in happy and companionable silence while he did coding things and I put conference stickers all over my laptop and wrote futuristic space-porn. Thanks to the beers, I was rapidly overcoming my hangups about doing this sort of thing in public, although the Bossman kept assuring me that since I was one of roughly three women in here, I would totally be idolised if anyone found out. That and I was using Libre Office at the time, so that was Alright. Right?
He did drag me off to a talk on open source mobile phone code in the afternoon – praise every god, I was allowed to take a rather fine cherry beer in with me, which never happened at uni, and I sat up the back in a pleasant buzz, listning to how people are spending their free time making a Thing called Replicant that will allow people whose country has been taken over by a Regime to still be able to communicate privately (should said Regime shut down or monitor all the regular Android services).
The Bossman complained afterwards that he felt that talk was rubbish. Just goes to show; as a complete novice, I found it fascinating. However, he was only there for the next part, where someone’s business card was pulled out of a hat and they won some state-of-the-art tech. He had entered me in this, on the grounds that it would be hilarious if I won since I would have less use for it than anyone.
Fortunately, someone else won.
We did have a wee wander, briefly, round the cobbly streeets of the city centre (you know you are in the presence of History when there are cobbly streets), gawking at the monumental facade of, ah, I forget what it was, but apparently it had been bombed flat in WWII, along with most other city centres across Europe (oh thanks, Hitler) and then completely rebuilt to be totally over the top, at least according to the Bossman. One day, I really must get round to checking his stories, it will be embarrassing to discover everything is a Lie. However, round the corner from the faux-history there was a wee shop of Beers of the World, so we bought a massive selection and went back to the hotel to drink them all. So much for tourism.
And lo, it was suddenly far too early and we had to traipse about like anything, before even the Monday morning crush had started. Nothing was open, including any loos anywhere, of which there were none on the tube, the train, the stations of these things, or the coach to the airport. I was mightily relieved to arrive at the airport, three hours later, especially with the Bossman making running water noises in my ear the whole way; where they promptly closed the only ladies’ loo for cleaning.
Ah yes, hello again reality. I had temporarily forgotten your grudge against me.