That time I almost blinded myself: The most epic staring contest of all time

Don’t you hate it when there’s something in your eye and it stings and itches and you can’t seem to get it out and your eyes begin to water?  That happened to me at work the other day and I was pretty much almost crying in my office.  I know you’re not supposed to rub your eyes, but sometimes I can’t help it because they get really itchy.  Damn allergies.  Also for a long while, my eyes would water every morning as I waited for the bus because the air and the weather were so cold that they had that effect, so it would look like I was just crying when really my eyes would just end up physically watering as a reaction to the cold.  Apparently this happened to my sister recently and some guy went up to her and asked if she was okay, because it looked like she was crying.

Anyway, this all made me think of the time when I went to the Bloggers in Sin City conference in Las Vegas a couple years ago.  It was less of a conference, and more of a get together where I got to do a lot of fun Vegas things and meet an awesome bunch of people who love social media as much as I do.  It was the second day of the conference, and we had our own private party welcome mixer at Serendipity 3, across from the Flamingo.  There were lots of appies and drinks.  And also games.  Because of course with a group of strangers, you’re going to have some sort of ice breaker type thing.  I remember we had to pair up and give our partners 8 second hugs.  I’m not a hugger, but the hugs were good.  The hugs are not what almost destroyed me.  What happened after the hugs was.

Serendipity 3

Serendipity 3

We had a staring contest.  I’m sure most of you have had staring contests at some point in your life.  Because it’s a stupid thing that we do because we can.  Mostly as children, but why not as adults?  But this wasn’t just your average staring contest.  It was literally the most intense staring contest, or possibly contest of any kind, that I’ve endured.  There were prizes at stake.  And good prizes too.  There were 68 of us, and with the exception of the organizers, we were all assigned a competitor to begin with.  Each group would have a stare off, and the winner of that pair would then move on to face another worthy opponent, and so on and so forth until one of us would emerge victorious.

Now, I’m not very good at a lot of things, competitively speaking.  I am terrible at sports.  And pretty terrible at video games too.  I can do decently at a few boardgames.  What sucks is that despite my lack of skill, I’m still a fairly competitive person.  I love winning.  Because who doesn’t?  Don’t we all want to be winners?  Since I have zero athletic ability, maybe this was my time to shine.  Staring?  I was good at that.  Hell, I stare all the time.  Sometimes I space out and don’t even realize I’m staring.  And blinking is so overrated.  I could totally do this, no problem.

stare1

I fared quite well against my first few opponents.  My eyes were open far longer than theirs.  Finally, something I was good at.  I kept on going, beating every competitor who dared to stare into my eyes, for I stared back into theirs even harder.  They were simply no match for my supreme staring ability.  And then, there was Larissa.

stare4

I didn’t really peg her for someone who was so competitive.  Nor did I peg her for someone who could or would make me cry.  But she was, and she did.  Maybe I had gotten a little too cocky by this point and had just instilled myself with a false sense of confidence?  Maybe I had strained my eyes a little at this point from all the previous stare offs?  Maybe Larissa was just a superhuman who doesn’t blink like a normal human being?    All these things would eventually lead to my downfall.

stare6

We stared at each other like no one has ever stared before, our eyes piercing into one another’s as if seeing deep into our souls.  Perhaps she enacted some sort of gaze mind control trick, I can’t be too sure.  Minutes passed by and neither of us showed signs of blinking.  We had our game faces on and would not give in without a fight, no matter how painful.  And it was, indeed, painful.  As the minutes added up, my eyes eventually began to sting.  They were not meant to remain open for this long without blinking.  But no pain, no gain, right?  I could push through this.

stare3

And then came the water works.  Tears began to stream down my face.  No, more like pour.  Rivers just pouring out of my eyes.  But still, I did not blink.  People watched in horror at this spectacle.  Larissa yelled at me to blink, partly because she wanted to win, and partly because I think she was genuinely concerned and slightly horrified that I was literally crying right in front of her.  I was a mess.  And so was my face.  I’m pretty sure I lost more tears that day than on any other day of my life.  At one point, I thought I saw Larissa blink but I was mistaken.  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t see clearly at that point anyhow.  But still I stared on, doing everything in my power to keep my eyes open, despite every fibre of my being telling me I needed to blink.  But as more time passed, I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I offered up a single blink.  It looked like I was crying because I lost, but really my tear ducts were just still messed up from my lack of blinking.  Larissa went on to the final round, beating out Kitty and winning the whole damn competition.  I can’t remember what it was exactly that she won.  I think it was a gift card and some cell phone stuff.  Like good tech stuff.  I tried to forget, since I was clearly envious.  The whole ordeal had been a lot harder for me than it had been for her, and yet she reaped the rewards.

stare7

After my defeat, I had to sit for a while.  I know, it wasn’t like it was physically draining activity in terms of strength, but I was still a bit out of it.  And I couldn’t see properly.  Like my vision was really blurred.  I pride myself on having perfect vision and I was worried I may have jeopardized this all for a silly contest.  I made my way to try and find the bathroom, and the staff clearly though I was drunk, because I was out of it and stumbling and my makeup was all messed up.  Little did they know that this was because I couldn’t see properly.  I did my best to wipe away the last of the tears and to salvage my makeup and to gain my vision back.  Luckily, I managed to do so.

I don’t know if it’s possible to permanently damage your vision from excessive eye strain or lack of blinking, but I was so paranoid afterwards, especially when time had passed and my vision was still blurred.  Thankfully, it all went back to normal eventually and I vowed never to jeopardize my eyes like that ever again.  But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly dream of a rematch in which I vowed revenge took back the glory that should have been mine…

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I Am Downtown Shopping Night: Part 2, Pretty Penny Contest

In my last post, I talked about how I went to the I am downtown shopping event at Pacific Centre last Wednesday night.  But I haven’t yet told you about the best part of the night.  After getting our photos taken, sampling cookies and smoothies, and spinning the prize wheel again, we went back upstairs to where the fashion show had been, where they were now holding what they called the Pretty Penny Contest.  There were two mannequins, one male, and one female, and they were both decked out in fabulous outfits.  It was our job to guess how much each outfit was worth.  The person who got the closest to the actual amount, would win $1000 shopping spree at Pacific Centre.  Who wouldn’t want that?!  We knew we had to enter.

pretty penny contest

If there’s a shopping spree to be won, you know I’ll be there.

I’ve never thought myself to be very good at guessing these types of things.  When I would go grocery shopping with my dad, he would sometimes tell me to guess the amount of the groceries and offer to give me ten bucks if I guessed within ten dollars or something.  I often failed.  And watching The Price is Right, I would always think about how much I would suck if I were to compete on that show.  And when it comes to fashion, I am always in awe of how much things cost in certain stores, because I’m the type of person who will always buy stuff on sale.  How was I supposed to know how much these clothes were worth, when clearly, they were far too fancy for my taste?

But a contest is a contest, and I had to try.  A couple people got yelled at for touching the clothes.  Apparently that wasn’t allowed, but there was no sign there to indicate that.  It felt like we were in a museum and we weren’t allowed to touch the art.  We were trying to figure out where the clothes on the male mannequin were from.  This guy who was there was like “I’ll give you a hint, guess where the clothes are from.  You need to guess where the clothes are from.”  So yeah, he was basically hinting at the fact that most of the outfit was from GUESS.  But that didn’t help me, since I don’t shop there.  Especially not for guys clothes.  But I made my guess and submitted my ballot.

You got to enter one ballot for the male, and one for the female and there were two shopping sprees to be won.  They would then read through all the submissions and determine which answers were closest to the exact amounts.  The winners would be announced at 8:45, and you had to be present at that time in order to win.  So we walked around some more and waited for the time to finally arrive.

We lingered by the stage and counted down the minutes until the winners would be announced.  Then we stood off to the side, as security urged everyone to step away from the stage.  This was a serious matter.  As we waited, we noticed this one guy had a piece of paper in his hand with a bunch of calculations.  He had taken this whole thing very seriously.  Apparently he had actually spent time going around the mall to the various stores and finding the actual items, and then adding up and calculating the costs.  Way to take the fun out of a contest.  The rest of us just pulled numbers out of our ass.

contest

That mannequin sure has expensive taste.

They started with the male outfit.  The total cost of his outfit was $618.  I know, that mannequin has really expensive taste.  At first I thought they said the winner was a man.  But I think they were actually saying that the person’s name was Aman.  But whoever he was, was nowhere to be found.  And so they went to the second closest guess.  Which was $622.  I know, only $4 off!  What genius was able to guess so accurately?  Was it the guy who painstakingly calculated everything?  Was it some expert on men’s fashion?  Was it someone with high class and expensive taste?  Nope.  It was me!

contest

I went up to the stage to claim my prize.

That’s right, I won!  I won $1000 shop card.  Well, two $500 shop cards if you want to get technical about it.  But yes.  Biggest prize I’ve ever won ever!  I got to go up to the stage and accept my prize while a photographer took a picture of me next to the mannequin.  I thought we made a great couple.

mannequin

Don’t we make such a great couple?

As I went back to where my friends were, the guy with the calculations stopped me and angrily said “What was your bid?”.  And so I told him.  Apparently he had guessed $630 or something like that.  And apparently the whole time I was up onstage, he was swearing, muttering, and complaining about the whole thing.  He was so angry.  I was actually kind of scared that he might hunt me down and mug me for the gift cards that he thought should be rightfully his.  At the end of it all, he actually went up to the people in charge and complained.  He showed them his calculations and complained about how he’d wasted his time.  I’m not sure how they resolved that but I’m wondering if security might have had to get involved at some point.

winning

I almost felt like a celebrity as I posed onstage while people took photos and congratulated me.

For the women’s outfit, there seemed to be a bit of confusion, because they wrote down the person’s name wrong at first.  I forget what her name was anyway.  But another girl won the shop cards for that one.  I wasn’t paying much attention at that point, since I was still in shock that I had actually won.  And for the men’s outfit!  I know nothing whatsoever about men’s fashion.  But I did estimate random amounts in my head for each piece of clothing he was wearing.  I’m not sure how I arrived at such a close guess.  But I was feeling pretty good about it.  I think maybe I should go on The Price is Right or something.  Why waste such a superb guessing ability?

winner

Pretty Penny Contest winner right here

When I got home that night, I was really excited.  I told my mom about how I won and showed her all the free swag I got in my VIP bag.  She warned me not to lose my gift cards.  At one point she told me to calm down because I was being hyper and I would just respond with “But I won a thousand dollars!”.

I’ve yet to use any of my winnings yet.  I’m not sure what I should do.  I was thinking I would use it towards my Christmas shopping.  It’s Cadillac Fairview, so it works at Pacific Centre and Richmond Centre so I’m pretty much set.  My friend was saying I could just go to the Apple Store and finally get an iPhone.  But that would use up the whole card.  And I’ve been wanting to buy a new laptop, so my dad said I should just get a Mac from the Apple store.  But that would cost even more than the card.  And then he said “Well you don’t need anymore shoes, and you don’t need anymore clothes…”  He’s right.  But then I don’t need an iPhone or a Mac either.  But we shall see.  I’m really glad I went to this event because it was a lot of fun.  I may fail often in life, but at least that night I got to feel like a winner.