One of the strangest things I had to get used to in running a group of websites is that fact that technology has allowed our team at Genre Nexus to be seamless, even if we're separated by thousands of miles.
Believe it or not, I've never physically met half my staff here at Airlock Alpha, or Rabid Doll or even Inside Blip. I've e-mailed with them, chatted with them, maybe even did conference calls. But actually meeting them in person? That's something that doesn't happen very much.
So when one of my writers or programmers or whatever ends up in the general area where I just happen to be, I will clear my schedule and make time to meet them.
That happened this week with Chad Terry. He's a newer member of the Genre Nexus staff, and before this week I only really knew him by his writing, and the bio that appears at the end of his stories. "Chad Terry is a proud military husband who enjoys a good book, movie or television show. He enjoys all things Stargate, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica among others. He lives at him in Atlantic City, N.J., with his wife and two Schnauzers."
But meeting the real Chad Terry (and his amazing wife) was actually much better than a well-worded bio. He's from West Virginia, he and his wife were high school sweethearts, and he is a Coast Guard husband.
He is a huge fan of the genre, and really wanted to write for Airlock Alpha. He's proud of his work, and proud to be a part of our family here (and we are proud to have him). And having dinner at my favorite little Tampa haunt, Rigatoni's on Kennedy Boulevard, with both he and his wife was a great way for me to spend an evening, and really have a good time getting to know someone so fascinating.
Once we ate our Italian food and garlic knots (mmm, garlic knots), we had to bring the evening to a close. But not before Mr. and Mrs. Terry had a gift for me.
I am not a big fan of gifts. I am not sure why, but gifts make me uncomfortable. I know that people give gifts because they really care about someone, or feel they would like to express how much they care about someone. But gifts just aren't for me.
In fact, my annual birthday dinner celebration is a no-gift affair. The problem is that there were a lot of people who felt uncomfortable going to a birthday celebration empty-handed, so I once relented and welcomed people to bring me a bottle of wine.
That started with a couple bottles one year, and then a few more the next year. Now I practically have to bring an empty wine crate for what everyone brings, everyone trying to outdo each other in who can bring me the most unique wine.
I am not sure if Chad was aware of the wine tradition or not, but he came bearing gifts. And it was a bottle of wine.
But we're not talking about something you might have found on the top shelf of a liquor store. No, this was something he had created himself.
Yes, for the first time in my life, I had in my hands a bottle of wine that someone actually made. I don't think there was anyone who has ever done that for me. I was moved.
Even better, the label on the bottle read "Caprican Mist." Chad had to explain that one to me, with a chuckle, of course. He was joking around with names and had sent the name "Caprican Mist" to the label-maker just to be funny. When he was finalizing his real label, he called the maker and said he would be sending it over.
"Sending it over?" the label maker said? "We already labeled all your wine with your label ... Caprican Mist, right?"
So there it was. Caprican Mist was born. And in my hands was a bottle of this that I could not wait to get home and pop the cork on.
Except for one problem. I'm always trying to carry more than I humanly can when I go from my car to my front door of my condo, and that night was no exception. I had my backpack, a book about Steve Jobs I'm reading (and I'm including here for SEO purposes), some other paperwork materials I was working on, and my bottle of Caprican Mist.
I had a good grip on just about everything, except the Caprican Mist. As I was going to the door, the bottle slipped from my hands, and smashed to the ground. The wonderful wine made just for me splashed all over the sidewalk, the label barely holding together the shards that once formed the bottle.
I almost started to cry. Not just because it was a waste of good wine. But because my clumsiness and laziness (you know, not making more than one trip to the car) caused me destroy a gift that really meant a lot to me.
I won't get to share with you how Caprican Mist tasted. I won't be able to tweet you a picture of the bottle.
But I can write about it, and that's what I'm doing here.
I will miss you Caprican Mist. I never had a chance to know you. And thank you, Chad Terry, for giving me such a sweet and wonderful gift, and for being a part of our family here at Genre Nexus.
I promise if you ever give me anything again, I'm just going to uncork it right on the spot.
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