Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Flight

On my flight from Phoenix to Orlando, I had to change planes in Houston. Before my plane arrived in Houston, there had been a storm and air traffic was backed up. We ended up circling the airport for about 40 minutes before we were cleared to land. I only had an hour layover (now 20 minutes), so that meant I really needed to move once we landed, especially since we didn't land anywhere near the gate where my next flight left. I got to the gate just in time, and was then told that my seat was changed because I was late!!!

Once on the plane, we pulled away from the gate, and then sat on the runway for 2 hours - with very little air circulation or air conditioning. Across the aisle from me was a young man (about 20-24 yrs old) who looked like he was going to pass out. He called the flight attendent over and asked if she could give him any food - peanuts, pretzels, anything. She rolled her eyes at him and said she would look but didn't think they had anything spare to give him. I pulled a granola bar out of my purse and gave it to him.

As he was eating it, he told me that his flight was also late landing, and he didn't have a chance to buy anything in the airport to eat. As he was finishing the granola bar, the flight attendent arrived with a small bag of chips. She saw the granola bar, commented that "Oh, you have food, you don't need these" and started to walk away. He asked her for them anyway, which she reluctantly gave him.

Several hours later, after we were finally in the air, Continental served their "snack". This consisted of a small sandwich, a bag of chips, and a "fun size" Twix bar. As the flight attended passed out the snacks, she looked at the guy, yanked the bag of chips off his snack and said "You already got chips, no chips for you!"

I just about died laughing. As soon as she walked away, I made eye contact with the guy, and we both - in our best soup nazi voices - wagged our fingers at each other and said "No chips for you!"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mensa World Gathering 2006

I just got back from spending 5 days at the Mensa World Gathering in Orlando. According to the press, over 2000 people from over 38 countries attended. I'm not really sure how to describe the experience.

I spent most of my time with the Gen-X SIG, some of whom are part of my core group of friends in Phoenix, some were people that I met at previous gatherings, and a number were new people that I just met. The Gen-X events were well attended and a lot of fun - even when the Disney cops made us disperse to the hospitality room. In fact, the hospitality room was a great place to really get to know individuals better. A group of 6 of us spent the entire night in hospitality talking until the mid-hours of the morning (I went to bed at 9:45 am).

One person in the group of 6 that stayed up all night (and in the group of 3 that stayed up until 3:30 the following night) was a guy named John. He was cute, fun, witty, nice, smart (I guess that one's a given at a Mensa event) and just so adorable I wanted to take him home with me! We exchanged emails, so hopefully we will remain in touch.

Another of those in the group was Shawn, from the reality TV show Beauty and the Geek. Shawn gave a presentation the previous day on what it was like to be on the show. His presentation was fun, light, and very funny. In addition to having a "cute geekiness" to him, it turned out that he was a very fun, witty, funny, and genuinely nice guy. (I know guys hate to be called "nice" but Shawn really is - and in a good way.)

In addition to all the good memories, I also had too many encounters with creepy lecherous men who lacked social skills - they stood too close when they talked, they stared at inappropriate places on your body, they opened conversations with off-color jokes, and they tried to ignore the "hug dots".

Hug dots come in three colors:

  • green indicates that the wearer is willing to be hugged by anyone - friend, foe, pedophile, letch, leper, etc;
  • yellow tells potential huggers to ask the wearer for permission before touching;
  • red means "hands off!"

As far as I know, Mensa is the only organization that implements these hug dots, for a membership that obviously can't read social signals on their own. This makes me question the whole premise of Mensans being the top 2% of the population in intelligence. Obviously the tests used to determine Mensa eligibility do not include all 7 of Gardner's Multiple Intelligences. I think it probably only measures three of them:

  • Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
  • Linguistic Intelligence
  • Spatial Intelligence

It leaves the other 4 intelligences out:

  • Musical Intelligence
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence
  • Interpersonal Intelligence

It seems like there should be a test that requires Mensans to score at least in the 50th percentile for interpersonal intelligence - although it seems like too many are in the bottom 2%.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence was something else that was lacking in some members. The Gen-X group hosted a dodgeball tournament. Two people were injured - one enough to require a wheelchair for the duration of the gathering (and probably the next month or so). I feel sorry for him when he gets home and back to work. Imagine having to explain to your friends and coworkers that you are in a wheelchair because a bunch of nerds and geeks kicked your @ss in dodgeball!