The First Cup
Bill stands in front of a large group of strangers. They are sitting in a semi-circle on folding chairs. Each one holds a Styrofoam cup of what looks like coffee. Bill fidgets imperceptibly as he tries to make eye contact with a few of the strangers.
Bill (to the group): Hi, I’m Bill!
Group (to Bill): Hi, Bill!
Bill: Hey, everybody. I really suck at this… this introduction thing… so yeah, um, anyway… I’m really bad at it.
Bill strokes his beard, trying to think of what to say.
Bill (continuing): So… I’m bad at this. A friend tells me that I come off arrogant when it’s me and a roomful of strangers. That I just need to introduce myself first and not wait for others to come to me. So that’s what I do now… introduce myself first so I don’t look like an asshole.
Group Leader (to Bill): Don’t worry about a thing, Bill. No one in the group will think you’re arrogant.
Bill (to the Group Leader): Are you sure? Cause you’re the one who told me that.
The Group Leader looks angry, like a hungry dinosaur.
Group Leader (to Bill): I’m sure, Bill. Go on.
Bill: Okay then. Like I said, I suck at this…
Random Group Member: Suck at what exactly, Bill?
Bill: I think we established that…
Bill squints to read the Random Group Member’s nametag.
Bill (continuing):…Steven. I suck at introductions. And large groups of strangers. And interruptions.
Steven looks awkwardly at the Styrofoam cup of coffee in his hands.
Bill (continuing): Also, I’m probably not going to remember any of your names.
Another Group Member: We’re wearing nametags.
Bill: Yeah, well I’m bad at that too.
Group Leader: Bill, maybe if we focused on why we’re all here.
Bill (thinking out loud): Nametags… Interruptions… Strangers…Assholes… Oh yeah, Nano Poblano.
The group cheers.
Bill: Lemme start over. Hi, I’m Bill, and this is my third Nano Poblano. I guess I’m here for the same reasons all the rest of you are. To write and post… something… every day in November. And to be accountable to the group. And to get to know everyone better. I hope no one is too offended if I stare at your nametags. I really suck at remembering names.
Steven: You said that, Bill.
Bill (staring over his glasses at Steven): Yeah, um, Steven…
Group Leader (interrupting): Okay, great! That’s about all the time we have for group today. I know each of you has something exciting for us again tomorrow. Bill, thank you for introducing yourself to the group this year. I know how hard that can be for some people…
Steven (under his breath): Some assholes.
Group Leader: …some INTROVERTS to navigate in a group setting. Alright then, same time tomorrow everyone! Remember to toss your cups in the trash on your way out.
Steven: You mean the recycle?
Group Leader: No… STEVEN.
Bill (under his breath): No… STEVEN.
Group Leader (to Bill): Bill…?
Group Leader: Don’t be an asshole.
* * * * * *
Every November, a group of strangers gathers in an often scary place known as the internet. Where, every year, strangers become more than just bloggers or friends. These strangers become family. To you, this was my introduction. My way of saying, “Hi, my name is Bill”. Some of what you just read is true. Except that I don’t know any bloggers named Steven. The rest… pretty much. And I’ll be around for the entire 30 days, coffee in hand, my nametag on, ready to say hi.
Welcome to Nano Poblano 2017.