I had a dream last night. (Yes, this is going to be one of those posts, but bear with me!) I was in a mall and saw a store front with big windows and a revolving door. Pretty unusual for a store to have a door like that. A big purple neon sign proclaimed it "GAMER'S PARADISE" so, naturally, I had to check it out.
In the front to the left was a half-walled area full of cafe-style tables and chairs. It looked like a party or function room and was unoccupied when I came in, but there was a schedule of events displayed on a screen on the wall. Behind there was a series of built-in desks/cubbyholes installed along the wall. Some had individuals seated with their laptops and some had groups of 2, 3 or 4 people with chairs pulled up in front of various computer screens. I noted that each cubby had cables and gear for free high-speed wi-fi or cable access to the internet. Walking further to the back and left I found a cozy area of larger octagonal tables, each with a different featured table-top game and a wall full of "floating" shelves loaded with more games. Now I was getting really excited!
The table-top gaming area was as far as I could go to the left, so I turned and wandered back through the gaming station/desk zone and through a short hall that had restrooms to the right. The space opened up on a room with a big screen TV and a sort of living room arrangement with low tables and squishy sofa/chair seating. There were about 8 or 10 people gathered here watching and discussing some kind of tutorial videos for a new MMO out of Korea. The huge universal remote for the TV was navigating to each section and selecting the English language versions of the tutorial videos, but every now and then the girl holding the remote would accidentally click on the wrong language and everyone would laugh and groan, trying to wrest the remote away from her. They seemed like a very friendly bunch. I watched the videos for a while and took notes so I could install the game at home, later.
Curiosity eventually won out, and I crossed to the far side of the room to a series of sliding panels/doors that revealed a craft area with long tables, a couple sewing machines and a cabinet that I saw was overflowing with fabric and supplies. There were a few adjustable dress dummies against the wall displaying costumes in various states of completion. One had an elaborate Victorian style gown that I instantly fell in love with and another had something made from silver fabric with a cleverly quilted cod-piece. Very Renaissance. There were two women collaborating on a project on one of the tables and a guy using another table. I stood admiring the gown for a bit waiting for someone to question my presence there or offer help. Other than a couple friendly Hey's or a nod of greeting, I was left to explore.
Finally, I approached a girl who was sitting in a quiet corner reading a book with a very familiar cover. (I'd read it too.) She looked up as I approached and smiled as I gave her a little wave of greeting. I had just opened my mouth to ask about how this Gamer's Paradise "worked" and I woke up.
Yes, people, it was nerd-vana. They didn't SELL anything, that I could see. Everything was open and available to use. There was no desk at the front, no membership cards or keycard access points... I was left wondering how a place like this could exist. Membership fees? I'm sure it was user-supported in some way, like PBS. Maybe it had corporate sponsors too? I don't know. All I know is, I really really hope a place like that exists in the real world. If not, it totally should.