Wayne makes a good point.
Also, I remember when I was starting out, the whole concept that this was a SOCIAL thing was a non sequitur. We're tromping around finding things we don't want muggles to see -- and there are parties? It took several months before we were able to face our first event.... and we've never looked back.
However, and this is not meant as a chide ... there are things that make a newcomer's introduction a little better. E.g. we all like to have our names spelled correctly. Yes, my real name has been misspelled all my life -- thank you Ms Streisand, NOT. But.... Some of us are twistier about spelling in general, but that's a personal burden I wouldn't wish on anyone, and typos still infuriatingly happen. =wince=
Also, there is a sort of tension between newcomer enthusiasm and an older groove. We don't mean it that way. I mean, I was THRILLED the first time I found a lampskirt. Now? Not so much -- though I don't MIND them as much as some. I have a friend who's been caching for some years, but not yet to her 1K. She'll run into a new kind of hide -- for her -- and be quite excited about it, and it's sometimes *hard* not to be all: been there, done that, wore out the t-shirt.
On the other hand, it IS easy to think geocaching is all ONE thing, not many things -- just as, say, a good zinfandel is based upon your first glass ever. There are some who think that park & grabs are a waste of cache container -- that the ONLY cache worth doing is a terrain 3 or up. There are others that think bushwhacking a mile in for an ammo box might not be the best use of their time. Some find nanos the spawn of demon rabbits. Others mock waymarking. There are some in it wholly for the numbers -- others in it for the companionship -- others... who knows. I think we're just beach combers at heart and will take just about any find with a smile.
Thing is -- you can't know if that sucker you just mocked is or is not someone else's 'thang.' No body language to see the tense of the shoulders or the flash of the eyes to suggest a change of subject, please. And the damage is done. Guilty, myself -- and beg forgiveness. But, cranky old soul as I am, I'm big on Nice.
That said -- I've scarcely found a more welcoming and helpful group than the CenTexers. Oh, there are exceptions -- I, for one, can get rather pedantic, I know it ... but do mind I'm a definite weirdo, even in this assortment. =grins=
However, it's HARD being the new person -- especially when there are people here who have been together for YEARS. *We* don't mean to be clannish -- and on the whole aren't -- but CAN come across that way.
But new people also need to have an open mind. Some ideas seem like the niftiest thing since that first cache with a view -- and if people with a few finds seem a little underwhelmed, it MAY mean because we've seen how that doesn't work out. Dumped water out of a few caches this weekend that seemed like ok materials -- but not up to Texas. [Those Gladware cheapie (for some value) containers? NOT recommended -- they may hold up fine in your cabinets, but won't last but a couple months out in the wild, even with lots o' duct tape.] There *are* things beyond being stuck in a rut that come with experience. [Which is to say, don't let us clip your wings, but mind the downdrafts.]
Back to the first point -- it's easy to forget, starting out, that this sport is not new to everybody. If you don't know about the Yahoo group, how could you know there's an established group? If you don't get the weekly "geobot" you might not even pick up on events. The very size of the game -- even the local game -- can be a disadvantage.
So the end plea -- (and forgive me, this whole over-explaining thang is an affliction, like Cedar Fever) -- is that we all be a bit patient with each other. And even a barb (ha ha) can be taken with less than full offense.
And if someone asks for something -- well, it may be there's a GOOD reason. And if the reason's not so good -- well, we's only human, yes?
Please note: message attached
From: "Wayne Lind" <wlind@...
Subject: RE: [CentralTexasGeocachers] Austin's First Meet and Greet
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 06:28:08 -0600
Hotel pics, info and virtual tours. Click here to book a hotel online.