I have something of a conundrum. I'm sure many of you know that the MIT Mystery Hunt is this weekend; some of you may even be attending (or solving remotely, or wanting to but can't, or are intentionally giving it a miss). I've had a year to decide whether I wanted to attend again, and I still haven't made up my mind one way or the other. I have compelling reasons to go and compelling reasons not to. I'm genuinely stuck. Maybe some of you could help me resolve it. I should note that I can make my decision literally at the final hour, as the MIT campus is not a long drive for me.
Here are things making me want to go:
- It's the greatest face-to-face gathering of puzzle solvers I can reasonably attend.
- Working with the likes of Mike Sylvia and Joe DeVincentis is just awe-inspiring.
- It could lead to the potential of helping to run the Hunt next year, an amazing outlet and opportunity (not to mention that I felt I underperformed last time and wouldn't mind a chance to remedy that). Being a gameshow host last year was a dream come true.
- The weather is actually looking favorable. When it snows up there, it is a torment (not to mention all the shoveling I was forced to stay up to do after I got home after my first Hunt, when I was already far beyond sleep-deprived - that situation actually got even worse, but that would be unfair to hold against the Hunt).
- I'll generally take any excuse for visiting the MIT campus. I love the place. I visited often (usually the arcade) during my two years living in Boston; the Hunt isn't the only competition I've participated in there; my most beloved relative as a child, my great-uncle Karl Gelpke, called it his alma mater and his endearment of the place easily passed down to me. Honoring his memory was one of the main reasons I wanted to do the Hunt in the first place - it was the closest to his wish of my attending MIT that I will likely ever come at this point, but I'd like to think that under the circumstances he'd be happy [I can hear his voice all these years later - "Oh, that's WONderful, Adam!"].
- I just feel like I belong there. I'm a puzzler. I live in New England. I feel like I shouldn't even be debating it, but I know better. ["You are carrying a flagon. This is the Flagon Spilling Room. You spill your flagon..."]
- I may be able to bring a friend along this time, which would make the whole experience FAR more enjoyable. (He is a lot less likely to be spontaneously available like myself, however - the sooner I can get that squared away, the better.)
- Not going would be the "what if" I'd potentially regret.
- I sort of have a crush on someone likely to be there (not that I'll have any opportunity to see them - see below).
Here are things making me want to not go:
- It's grueling. It's non-stop, and people eventually get pissy (and smelly).
- I have not completely physically recovered. My ear is much better, but my face is still half frozen, and my eye - although no longer dependent on drops - still can't quite close all the way and still requires attention and care. I can't afford to "nod off" like I did once two years ago - that could actually become a serious issue. If I need to crash, I need to bring eye patches and have a zero-traffic area to properly lie down in.
- I was hoping that if I were to attend the Hunt again that I'd be able to spring for proper lodgings in the area, eliminating the need to deal with parking nightmares (which I had in spades both years) and/or trips home. As I'm still unemployed, this didn't happen.
- Not everyone on my team is someone I'd want to be in the presence of. One is an outright bully. One is a petty thief. One is just a dumbass. And one just really weirds me out. But it's the bully that concerns me most.
- I'd probably weird out everyone else - I weird myself out in the mirror, and watching me laugh from the front or right side is just grotesque.
- I can't put my finger on it, but I'm wondering if certain members of my team actively want me to not stay with them for a reason not covered here. To say I haven't been kept in the loop would be an understatement. Needless to say, the whole process of finding a new team at the final hour would be a whole 'nother problem beyond actually physically being there.
- I may well have been spoiled by our previous victory; not only is there no guarantee we'll win, but there's also the shift in the social dynamic: I remember visiting the other teams and meeting people face-to-face for the first time (especially Derek Kisman, the other resident of the intersection of the videogame and puzzle realms) as the best part, and on a solving year that potential is greatly reduced. Two in particular I'd like to meet again are probably not going to attend, one likely never again (which is a particular shame, as I was three feet away more than once but too chickenshit to introduce myself and may never get the chance again...)
- Wedding theme?! Really? Yuck. I know the theme doesn't relate too much to the puzzles, but still... if I was leaning ever-so-slightly towards going - and it was hard to tell - I'm certainly not now.
- I'm in no position - physically or financially - to follow through on a crush (not to mention that I tend to forget how old I really am compared to college students...). I'm not even sure why I mentioned it in the first place - a sense of
catharsiscompleteness, I suppose. It is 2 AM. (I am certainly in the right sort of sleep cycle for the Hunt, at least...)
I reserve the right to edit this list as I come up with more elements.
I'm really on the fence here. What do you think? Private responses (my email address is on my user info page) are just as welcome as public ones. Comments about your own personal desire to attend (or lack thereof, or possession of the opposite) are also welcome. - ZM