Last night, I took the opportunity to spend some time with the Drupal community at a Twin-Cities Drupal Meetup. My trip to Minneapolis for the meetup was on the tail-end of a 1300 mile drive. Those miles covered a drive that looped me south to the state of Missouri and then eventually back north. My activities during the past week ranged from sleeping in the Missouri woods at an old scout cabin with outhouse included...to having conversations in Minnesota with some of Drupal's brightest and most active members. This was a week of contrasts for me and now that I'm back home, I can't help but acknowledge that there was something different about attending a Drupal meetup in comparison to other meetups, workshops, and conferences I've attended in my fields of interest, information technology and atmospheric science.
It didn't dawn on me until during my drive back to South Dakota on what made the evening so unique to me. The people at this Drupal meetup were all happy. I truly can't tell you the last time I've attended something IT related where someone didn't ruin the day or evening for me with their negativity. Seeing the smile on the faces of others is unfortunately something many of us don't get to see often enough. I imagine that not all Drupal events are this pleasant, but it's going to be difficult in the future for me to find an excuse for not spending more time with other Drupal fans.
A number of core Drupal members were present at the meetup in preparation for a formal usability test being conducted by the University of Minnesota. So for the first time, I was able to meet some of Drupal's "greatest" including Dries Buytaert, Angela Byron, Kieran Lal, Greg Knaddison, Karen Stevenso, Nathaniel Catchpole, and Bevan Rudge. All of these people I would liked to have had more time in conversation with, but grateful that at least I was able to meet them in my part of the country. Besides as an extra bonus, I was able to meet Angela's mother, Jeanne Byron, who brought some of her homemade fudge!
To be honest, it was no surprise to me that I enjoyed my time in conversation with the Drupal core members. What did surprise me though was how much I enjoyed having conversations with the "average" Drupal users. The people with names you're not likely to quickly recognize. I was able to hear from other Drupal users discuss their time with Drupal and some of those people included Drew Gorton (Gorton Studios), Tony Yarusso, Chach Sikes and a couple others from the Science Museum of Minnesota, Gabe Ormsby, Hans Lund ( a former Joomla! user). It was very interesting to hear from these people the role Drupal had in their business and websites.
Again, it was well worth the time and gas money to attend the Drupal meetup. Though given the fact that some of the Drupal visitors weren't quite ready for the cold Twin-Cities weather...has anyone ever thought of a Drupal geek cruise over some warm and sunny ocean? Just a thought...