Halfway through the night, I wandered into a quiet region & started up a conversation with the only woman smiling. She held both eye contact & smile as I approached. Three feet away, I started interviewing. Here's what we said:
"Wow, you smile!"
"Yes." *bigger smile*
"Are you that happy tonight?"
"Yes, actually." *maintains energy*
"What are you happiest about right now?"
*hmmm* "I'm happy all the time."
"Wow. How long has that been working out for you?"
"4 months! That's a very specific number. Did something happen 4 months ago?"
"Yes, I had an amazing experience."
"Really. What was that?"
"It was a seminar. This group called Landmark Education [...]"
Incredibly freaky. I'd never met a Landmark zealot in the wild before. The day after I wrote about them here. Freaky! (Of course, she was the person in the club who seemed most approachable -- so it's not too surprising she had something to sell.)
It gets crazier. She went on to introduce me to three of her friends in the club who are about to do a forum -- and one friend who's deeper into it than she. That's five Gothmarkians!!
The Gothmarkians have their own dark youth spin on the Landmark teachings. Their favorite phrase is, "It's all empty & meaningless." Which technically has the same meaning as the Zanders' "It's all invented!"
The most advanced Gothmarkian dramatically showed me his cellphone start-up message:
EMPTY & MEANINGLESS
"It teaches nihilism, basically," he explained, radiating self-expressive vitality.