Mystery solved... My co-worker **REDACTED** managed to intercept one of the visitors who have been showing up at our workplace at odd hours and had this individual explain in detail what she was doing. It turns out I was wrong about these folks engaging in a "geocaching" or "waymarking". Our visitors are actually playing a massively multiplayer computer game that actually takes place in the real world, an "Augmented Reality" game (I tend to augment my reality with booze, myself) called Ingress. The game seems to be analogous to a "capture the flag", or maybe "king of the hill", game with two teams of players taking position of a particular area called a "portal" in the game. Well, one of these "portals" happens to be in our goddamn parking lot. Oddly, the game participants that my co-workers have met have seemed to assume that my co-workers were familiar with the game terminology, and confused the hell out of them with their talk of portals. Generally speaking, it's good to eschew jargon when talking to the mundanes, people.
At any rate, the participants don't seem to be aware that our parking lot is private property. Speaking for myself, I generally consider nightfall to be the time when I tell people they need to vamoose. The site is open to the public for a certain time of the year, for a certain number of hours a day. During the daylight hours, I usually approach people on the premises and give them a quick introduction to the site, and to our operations. At night, I'm usually less indulgent- people get a curt, but not rude, "Can I help you?" People who need assistance get it, others get the hint. Suffice it to say, people pulling into the lot late at night are not exactly greeted with open arms. It's usually a "get a hotel room" or "don't even think of trying to cop here". Last Saturday, at about quarter to midnight, when I arrived for the graveyard shift, there was an "Ingress" guy in the lot. Quarter to midnight? Beat it, man! Shouldn't you be out drinking, or meeting a nice girl? Wouldn't that be better than having a large, fierce looking man bark at you in a cold, dark parking lot on a Saturday night?
Here's a trailer for the game:
Here's an example of the gameplay:
This thing being a worldwide, massively multiplayer competitive game, I can envision this situation potentially turning into a weird nerd "turf war", with various team members lying in wait to retake the "portal" in our parking lot from their adversaries. Needless to say, I wrote the oddest memo of my entire worklife to the head of my department, complete with links to show him that I'm not delusional. I think the next step is to contact the moderators and request that they move the "portal" off our property. We have a really cool, really distinctive, destined-to-be-iconic landmark across the street from us, on public property. This landmark would be a perfect "portal", and there's plenty of street parking to boot. My co-worker already sent a complaint to the "Ingress" website, shouting to the ether that participants were on private property at odd hours. He's been the poor fellow who's had the most contact with the players.
I'm a fairly nerdy guy, as any regular reader could ascertain, but, like Dr Kenneth Noisewater, I find certain aspects of "Nerd Culture" to be exasperating- among them an occasional obtuseness towards societal norms which, among other things, can lead one to set foot on private property at a quarter to midnight. I don't need my reality augmented, I'm really just here trying to earn a modest paycheck. The last time my reality was augmented, things weren't pretty. Don't take it personally, Ingress players, like Rebecca Watson explaining to d00dz that they shouldn't make passes at women in enclosed spaces at 4AM, I'm trying to help you avoid getting arrested, or maced, or both.
When you play Ingress, don't transgress.