It was my first conversation with my first Atlasphere contact, Theresa Anderson from Orlando. We were laughing about the difficulties we've had interrelating with non-Objectivists, both professionally and socially.
She cited a meeting with a previous boss who laid it out rather bluntly for her: "People don't like you." Then, incidentally, he gave her a raise. The explanation went without saying at the time; her subordinates thought she was tough to work for but her employer needed her desperately.
Some Objectivists have a beautiful skill in socializing with people who have contrasting views of life and morality. I do not have that skill.
I became an Atlasphere member when I realized the logic in narrowing the field of people with similar traits when it comes to forming friendships. I assume we'd all prefer to stumble into someone in the bookstore, both of us holding Ayn Rand works, and strike up a conversation naturally.
But when I started running the statistics on that likelihood, based on the depressingly low count of Objectivists I'd already encountered, and then cross that with the number of times I'm publicly flying some kind of overt Randian signal, I quickly settled into the idea of using electronic means to increase my odds. So now, I proudly believe in the logic of electronic outreach.
I attended last year's OCON in Boston, my first. I tried to attend with no expectations of what I'd like about the classes, lectures, and fellow attendees. I did not attend particularly to gain either friends or enlightenment. What I gained was a little of both.
I'm not the kind of man who'll hang around the hallways between lectures and hit on passing women, nor the type to cruise the lobby and interrupt a circle of people in order to introduce myself. In fact, my most meaningful conversation with was an old lady I met in the elevator.
But before last year's conference, I was talking with my friend Theresa about the value of the Atlasphere, and the importance of maximizing our opportunities to meet people with similar outlooks, and lamenting the few everyday outlets that Objectivists usually have for that.
We put our heads together and decided to organize a dinner for Atlasphere members who planned to attend OCON last year. As we planned the meal, it was difficult to work out details like the menu, seating arrangements, and so on.
When it was all over and the meal had concluded, we both agreed completely that indeed we'd had some interesting conversations at the table, we'd all met interesting new people, everyone got along well, and that we wanted to do it again this year.
So, Theresa and I are co-hosting an Objectivist cocktail party this year. (The idea is that a cocktail party atmosphere will alleviate the stress over details like the menu, seating arrangements, etc.) Our simple goal is to create one more opportunity for like-minded people to get together on common ground.
Theresa is available for any questions on the details of the event, and she can be reached via her Atlasphere profile. The cocktail party will be held on Wednesday night after dinner at the Red Rock Hotel in Vegas, at about 9 p.m.
Casual attire is the order of the day, though I'm sure Theresa will wear a pair of hot heels. I, on the other hand, will be in boots and jeans. Both Theresa and I are very anxious to meet any Ayn Rand admirer in the Las Vegas vicinity during this year's OCON. Indeed, the potential is great.
Gordon Baggett lives in Daytona, Florida and is the owner of the Bahai Honda Sporting Club.