These arrangements were made on relatively short notice, at least for me, and I'm very excited about the visit. I'm excited in part because Glenn is a nice guy who enjoys seeing things and meeting people, so he enriches the time you spend with him. But there's also the excitement (to which I have never become jaded) of having friends from so very far away. I think this is like the "pen pal" schoolchild activity of yore, where boys and girls from around the world would correspond.
It's not just me who feels this way about these international connections. I've discovered that when I say to people I know, "Would you like to come over for dinner on Saturday to meet my friend who is visiting from Australia?" they say, "Why, that would be lovely. Thanks for asking me." Inviting people for dinner is a good thing in general and I am always vowing to do it more -- in fact, Glenn's visit provides me with a great excuse, for having people over and for straightening up my apartment -- but I know that people love the idea of meeting visitors from other countries. Even in the 21st century, with the immediacy and international sociability of the Internet, I believe that people enjoy this sort of thing very much.
I've arranged a couple of dinners for Glenn to meet people, and I'll be dragging him all around town (The Lakes! The Mississippi River! The I-35W Bridge!), and as it happens my shapenote group is going to be doing a sort of demonstration singing at an amazing 19th century church on Sunday (we don't do this sort of thing as a rule, but the church let us use their facilities for free for a big event and we owe them). I'm hoping to provide Glenn with concentrated Minneapolis (and a dash of St. Paul).
Of late I've been spending my Friday evenings at perkk's SciFi Friday gatherings. John lives three blocks from me, and on Fridays he invites people over to watch things like Torchwood and Battlestar Galactica and Dr. Who. The attendees are mostly geeky bears. I always bring a few bottles of wine. In some ways these are Glenn's people, at least as regards gaming and Scifi and stuff, and when I mentioned to the assemblage last week that I would probably not be coming this week because I would be having a guest, everybody asked me if he enjoyed Scifi and why didn't I bring him? (I should point out that he would be the straight guy among a group of mostly gay men, but I seriously doubt that's an overlay that would concern anybody in the slightest here: Gaming and Geekery trump all.) I said that I was pretty certain he liked Scifi, and that he was a gamer. At which point everybody started attacking me with questions I didn't even understand. When I reported this to Glenn, he replied that he was tempted to provide his RPG/computer gaming/sci-fi credentials. Ultimately, though, I decided that it would not be a good idea to take somebody who'd just spent nearly 24 hours in transit and plop them down in a soft chair in a darkened room and expect them to remain alert. Instead Glenn and a couple of friends of mine will be having a quiet little bistro dinner as I catch up with things. (But a part of me is tempted to walk over to John's place with Glenn when we get home from dinner: March, young man, march! Stay awake!)
I not only love the excuse to fill my weekend like this, I love the excuse to take Friday afternoon off work. I am looking forward to this weekend the way I sometimes look forward to vacations.