Some people noticed, and some people know bits of the story, but as everyone is going to hear now, I missed Let's Play Live because of a very stupid and disappointing reason.
The first thing you should note is that Florida is hot. VERY hot at 95 F (that's 35 C for those who use it) the Friday of the show. And that Friday, April 28th, was also the hottest day that month (look it up, it's true!). We had a pre-meet up for the community at Hollywood Drive-In Mini Golf, and it was fantastic! A lot of people came out, people interacted, the group grew, and I had a lot of fun. Awesome! But the Sun was still there blazing down on us and it was hot as all hell whenever we couldn't find some shade on a hole or there weren't any mist fans nearby.
To make matters worse, I was wearing jeans, a black shirt, and boots. Why? Because I wanted to look nice, thought I would be able to stand the heat, and there was now way I was getting out of this kitchen. I was going to stick it out and see this show. The meet up ended and I went over to the venue (Hard Rock Live) to help some people out there, and while it's probably only 1/4 mile away and within the same area, it's still a pain when you're in heels. Literally!
A bit later, I got a message to meet the group at Fat Tuesdays and made my way over... to the wrong one. Apparently there are two Fat Tuesdays at City Walk, I didn't know that. So I walked all the way back over to the area where we had our mini-golf meet, then back to Hard Rock because I was told it was actually over there. It still hadn't found it, all this time not having had any water since I had been at City Walk.
By this point I said screw it. A line had already began to form outside the Hard Rock, it was hot, I was tired, and my feet were hurting. I got my VIP badge and found some other friends and sat down. After sitting down a while, I realized how dehydrated I was; shaking, and pretty sure I was experiencing heat exhaustion. This is where a big shout out goes to Joe who was kind enough to get me a frozen rum runner-like drink, and five glasses of water (even if I only drank 3 and a half of them). Then it was time for more campaigning for the group. This part was fun; walking around, talking to people in line, finding out where they were from, giving them our RT Florida cards, and telling them about the group. This is easily one of my favorite parts about big events, interacting with the community, but it still meant more time on my feet and in the Sun.
We were finally let into the venue, and access to a bar where I ordered a double Tito's and soda. I should also point out that I had only had a slice of pizza to eat that morning too. See where I'm going with the stupid news disappointing reason?
More community interacting before the show while we were directed in our seats and I got to talk with old friends, make new ones, and inform people about our local community. Which came with more drinks. Fast forward to the show starting and I was excited, but also very drunk. The last I saw of the show was everyone being introduced on stage, them announcing Overwatch as the first game, then I ran for the bathroom and threw up, twice.
I guess I freaked the bathroom attendant out because as I came out of the stall, health services was there with a wheelchair. I was still disoriented from being drunk, but felt much better since I had thrown most of it up. Anyone who knows me, knows that have a knack for recovering from things like this, so long I'm not at a place I know I can pass out and be safe, then it's #RIPToria.
I called a friend who sent someone down to the bathroom because I had no idea what was happening. Another shout out to Christy for dealing with me, making sure I was safe, and backing up everything I was saying to the health service officer (more on that in a bit). They wheeled me out of the venue, transferred me to another wheelchair with a security officer, where he was supposed to escort me to the bus loop to get picked up. Well, the security had no clue what was going on or why I was being made to leave, thinking himself that I was a in a lot better condition than he was told (back to that sobering up super power I mentioned earlier). We changed course and made our way to the Health Services center. Cliff notes here are basically that the guy got the story, ask me to stand up to see if I was okay, and said I was fine to go back if I could get in. Christy and I walked walked back to the Hard Rock where I tried to get back in, and we found out there was a no reentry policy.
Christy went back inside because technically she was supposed to be helping out with the merch booth, and I stayed outside to try and find a way in with the people who work there. The ticket taker scanned my ticket, but there was nothing she could do so called her manager who said the same thing. Then enter the Hard Rock event planner and there was nothing they could do. It was just policy. Fine, I got it. They were following rules so I dropped it. Intermission happened then, people were coming outside to the designated area and I was lucky enough to spot Will in his orange RTFL shirt. I called him to the edge of the barricade and told him what happened. Apparently word got around that I left and I tried to clear it up a bit and let him know I was okay so he could tell everyone else. I also gave him my VIP badge so someone could get use out of it, even if I couldn't. That's right, I spent $300, got escorted (not kicked) out and wasn't allowed back into the venue to finish watching the show or go to the VIP meet and greet. I also understand that people were just doing their jobs, but that still doesn't make it an unfortunate situation that put me out.
Anyway, I came with a group of people, so rather than take a $40 Uber ride home, I sat in front of the Hard Rock, reassured a few people who texted me, and talked on the phone with Cody for an hour until the show ended and people began to leave. I met my group at the end, we hung out at the Hard Rock Cafe, and went to IHOP for some late night food.
Overall, it was a fucked up situation and I'm more disappointed in myself that it happened. But I put it past me, looked on the bright side (I now have a heck of a story to tell), and moved on. I still had a ticket to Let's Play Live Tampa on Sunday, managed to work my way into the VIP meet and greet, made some more friends, and had a great time.
That was probably the most crazy weekend of my life thus far.