Defining Events

March 3, 2010

I know a thing or two about planning events.

My first ever event was a surprise going-away party for a dear friend in Houston.  I was 22 or 23 and heavily involved in the backstage/tech side of community theatre.  Jesse was moving away to pursue his craft in New York and I wanted to do something extraordinary for his send off.

The big idea hit me as I read an email he had sent to multiple “worlds” without utilizing BCC  (Remember, this was years and years ago, before everyone learned to ALWAYS use the BCC feature).  Before me was a list of everyone in his address book:  friends from theater, work, university, and miscellaneous.  The potential for surprise overwhelmed me with delight and I instantly hit Reply All (another feature that we ALL avoid today, yes?).  I deleted Jesse’s email address and began craftily recruiting strangers to hide in various corners of my house and jump out screaming in unison.

It went off beautifully.

I lured Jesse to my den of iniquity with some promise of free food or Linklater paraphernalia (starving artists…Texas…you get it) and there he stood, genuinely shocked by oodles of love from a room full of friends who shouldn’t know each other.

I was hooked.

Meeting new people is easy for me.  Now.  Almost clinically introverted as a wee lass, I forced myself into community theater to break the shackles of shyness.  It worked.  Ask anyone who has slapped me with a “sacred dollar bet” or seen my famous Leprechaun dance.

My next favorite event began a week before the first Christmas after my divorce, which was literally the most amicable divorce since the invention of divorce.  I promise to not write divorce again.  Divorce.

I was a new Craigslist addict and, on a whim, posted the following:

“Is there anyone else with no family in town and no interest in leaving for lesser cities to be with family?  Let’s play pool!”

And the 2004 Christmas Pool Tournament was born.  I found 60 people who were new to town, newly single, didn’t celebrate Christmas, or were grad students who couldn’t afford to go home.  Some of my in-real-life friends liked the idea so much, they bailed early on their families and came to play.  I booked some tables at Dave and Buster’s Gold Coast (shut up, it was the only place open on Christmas Day), picked up some prizes, sketched out a billiards bracket system, and had one helluva time.  A Romanian dude met a Romanian gal and made a love connection.  So many people mentioned that they just didn’t know how to meet people easily, and that I had helped them.

I helped.

In December 2005, a friend was recovering from brain tumor removal.  Her boyfriend asked if I would take a crack at putting together a fundraiser.  The result was epic.  Thanks to my fantastic friends, we snagged a celebrity MC (the fabulous Q101 on-air personality Jen Jameson), a venue, a caterer, a videographer, numerous raffle items, three live bands, media presence, and Secretary of State Jesse White even stopped by.  They are the super-stars, I just coordinated, and together we raised a lot of needed funds for our friend.

I helped.

I didn’t realize so many years had passed until I tapped out the above time line.  The last five years have been occupied with great love, long work hours, and personal challenges.  Something has been missing.


2009 brought Twitter onto my radar and I slowly dipped my toe back into the social pool.  And it feels like I just came home.  It was I who needed the help.

I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the energy boost from meeting new people and making introductions.  This blog is a direct result of meeting Alicia Kan and feeding off of her encouragement (if you haven’t basked in her glow, I highly recommend it).  Chanthana’s and Hooshna’s enthusiasm for pho led to the creation of the Phonatics, a group of slurpers who teaches newbies like Bethany and Padraic the intricacies of enjoying this mouth-watering Vietnamese staple.  Sami just makes me smile as soon as I see his name pop up on my Gchat.

Speaking of Sami, he hosted a stellar tweetup last week and I had the pleasure of meeting Kerri at her first ever tweetup in her new city.  (A transplant from Austin, I was lucky enough to be the first person she saw and I’m keeping her.  She’s mine!)  She mentioned her line of work and I just knew that she had to meet Tom.

I helped.

They say we should do what we love.  I love meeting people but more importantly, I love knowing people.  Knowing people lets me help people.  As it turns out, these events have become the defining events in my timeline.

Something’s percolating.  Stay tuned.


11 Responses to “Defining Events”

  1. i heart this felicia! thank you for introducing me around at the prespringtweet up and for being generally awesome to know. your tweets brighten my timeline and knowing you IRL has been a treat to say the least. And, even though I’ve been busy, I’m still thinking of sponsoring one of those Flitter events… help me out?

  2. chanthana Says:

    You certainly have a gift for connecting people! I think it’s the combination of your energy, genuine spirit, and the fact you don’t expect anything in return. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that you are a pretty girl 🙂 Looking forward to more social events with you. It’s nice to see people come together for something fun that you planned!

  3. feliciacago Says:

    Thanks Chanthana!

  4. Erin Says:

    You just did it again. You helped. I’ll tell you how later. But publicly, thank you.

  5. javilabbe Says:

    Miss Felicia, you were one of my first tweeps ever. You definitley have a Knack for the socializing. It stands to reason that you feel drawn to your calling.

    “Do what you love, and if you love life doing it, then love what you do.” ~javilabbe

  6. Tony Says:

    Felicia! I believe we met about a month after this post? I remember meeting you IRL at Sami’s Wit Rooftop tweet-up and my Twitter experience and life was changed for the better. Thank you!

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