This weekend, "Holmes in the Heartland" brought a curious mix of pleasure and regret when it came to my interactions with other Sherlockians. But it demonstrated something to me that I also think was rather illuminating.
The pleasure: Getting to see some long-time friends and remarkable folk again, whom I hadn't seen in a while.
The regret: Not getting to talk more to some of the remarkable newer friends and fresh acquaintances that were at the event.
A much-beloved old friend has the gravity of a planet . . . you can't help but be pulled into their orbit, and you tend to stay there. This happens time and again, and even just one especially good friend, as happened to me at a Vegas convention once in non-Sherlockian life, can make you miss dozens of opportunities to chat up new acquaintances. It's a fine and happy thing while going on, but as things come to a close, I wind up going "Hey, wait a minute . . ." and realizing what I've missed.
But that's life, you can't do everything. Choices always have to be made, and few choices come without a regret or two.
What I realized this weekend though was a commonality about the best Sherlockian friends I have. And if you've wandered the Sherlockian world and made a few fast friends, you may have noticed it too. And that commonality is this: The best Sherlockian friends you'll ever have are those that travel well.
Think about this for a moment. What is one of the best measures of how good a friend someone is?
To me, it has always been "Can I go on an extended trip with this person?" If you can happily spend the long hours that travel involves with someone, if they don't irritate you or make you want to hide after days of traveling together, you've got a great friend there. And who do you find at Sherlockian weekends that aren't in the town where they live?
Sherlockians who travel well.
Sherlockian weekends have always been where I've met a goodly share of the greatest people I've ever known, and the people you meet at those weekends, again and again, are the same gypsy roadshow of Sherlockians who like to get to everything and are always looking to that next big event. The travelers of Sherlockiana. The ones who are comfortable almost anywhere and with the greatest variety of people. And those folks make some really great friends to have.
Still, I'm not saying those who don't travel as much can't be great people. Lord knows I travel a lot less than some. And fresh faces have to start somewhere. Like I said, I really hated not getting to talk as much to everyone I wanted to chat with in St. Louis this weekend -- some really bright lights down there. But I had this really good excuse . . . so I hope they'll forgive me.
So that was one of my takeaways from this weekend. The best friends are ones you can travel with, and Sherlockian events will bring you great travelers to be friends with.
The world just makes sense sometimes, if you let it.