I think one of the most gratifying things about blogging is the unique way in which we connect with other people, especially “strangers.” I hesitate to use that word so I will refer to those people as PWNM. (People/Person We Never Met.) The very idea of writing a post and publishing it to the world amazes me frequently. The idea that anyone with internet capability can read and respond to everything I write here is difficult to fathom. The fact that PWNM read what we write and appreciate it enough to come back and read time and time again is just plain cool. The reality is that many of us develop relationships with those who read and are read by us. Its a wonderful phenomenon that only a blogger can truly comprehend and appreciate. And once in awhile we are afforded the opportunity to actually meet a PWNM in real life. And then the line between blog life and real life disappears to a degree and there opens a door.
I’d never really given a lot of thought to that door, mostly because I’d never actually had the opportunity to meet someone I’d met online. I know tons of people who have met PWNMs online and actually have relationships, some even as in the serious type. It happens frequently and it’s not a big deal for most and has become an accepted mode of bringing people together.
Only very recently have I been presented with not one, but opportunities to meet three of my readers. Unfortunately, the first invitation, I had to turn down due to a conflict in scheduling, if you will. The third is still in the planning stages and I’m crossing my fingers really hard that we can pull it off. The second one was amazingly, a total fluke and I’m convinced that something or Someone bigger than Serendipity was choreographing the show. I’ll try to keep this relatively short, but I want you to see that it easily might not have happened.
The past couple of weeks have been crazy busy for me and my online-time has been probly half of what I’m accustomed to. I’d been having problems off and on with my laptop since the power outage after a late summer storm. It finally crashed and burned and I only got my new hard drive a few days ago and hadn’t had time to re-install programs etc. Then Thursday afternoon I actually found myself with a small block of time to catch up on some of my regular reads. I happened upon this post. There was really no time to think, not that I had to. I’d been reading Out of the Ashes for two years and felt that I knew Michael (M+) quite well enough to meet in person and there was the opportunity staring me in the face. My first (and only) inclination was to go for it. The extent of my reservation was that I knew I’d be tired from a week of getting up at 4:30 and working 10-hour days. But the school where Michael’s son was performing was my old alma mater and only a short drive from my home. All the signs were there and there was no reason not to go. PD had some errands to run and had not been feeling great the past few days. I thought I should mail Michael and tell him of the possibility that I may or may not be able to make it. I didn’t want him to feel “stood up” if I wasn’t able to be there.
PD and I arrived a little before the time we’d agreed upon. It was a warm and beautiful night and there were very few cars in the parking lot, being that the show wasn’t due to start for an hour and a half. We decided to park and get out and walk around until Michael got there. We were starting to walk up to the main door of the school when I saw someone get out of a car about 7 parking spots off to my left. As soon as I saw the street light reflecting on the side of his head *wink* I knew it was Michael.
There was a big hug. There were introductions. (PD, who puts great stock in a firm handshake, was impressed.) Michael’s mother had accompanied him. She came out of the car and was surprised to find that Michael had “found” someone he “knew” there. What a delightful and beautiful lady she is. She is quite petite, even when she’s not standing beside her brawny son. She had some questions about our blogs and how we’d come to “know” each other so well. It was fun seeing her amazement at how we reacted to one another. Michael, I have to tell you that, later on the way home, PD told me that he had the strongest feeling that he’d seen your mother somewhere before. Not “met” her, but “seen” her, which I thought was pretty cool. PD rarely says things like that.
I told Michael that I was surprised at how calm he was in person. It was the first thing I noticed about him. He is almost what you would call soft-spoken but not shy at all. He’s so very genuine and personable. Not at all intimidating and a great conversationalist. Articulate and purposeful in his speech. I felt not one iota of awkwardness or uncomfortability from the first second we spoke. Aside from how laid-back he seemed, he was as I expected him to be.
Early in the meeting, Michael pulled out a camera (I’d forgotten mine due to stupidity and being in a big hurry) and said, “We have to do this.” My immediate thought was, and I said, “Michael, Jeff should be here.” He agreed and commented that he’d just had the same thought. (Seriously, Jeff, we wish you could have been there. It would have been the peanut butter icing on the chocolate cake.) Michael handed the camera to PD, pulled up his shirt sleeve to reveal the famous bicep and here you see the end result. (Keep in mind, I’d been up since 4:30am. Did I mention that???)
PD and Michael talked about their shared appreciation for weaponry (they each collect swords and knives.) We talked about our families. Michael shared some of his summer to clue PD in on his activities with Compassion. He asked about my “addiction.” I reported that I’m down to 9 cigarettes per day and am still down two pounds. When I got up the nerve to ask him if I was what he expected, it seemed that he didn’t even think about it and just said “Yes.” I have yet to find out just what it was that he expected… But according to him, the impression you might have of me from reading my blog is most likely the real me. We talked about so many things and then all of a sudden it was time for us to part. But it became a great memory and a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to see what he writes about me we agreed to get together again sometime.
If there were a rating system for meeting PWNM, I would give it 3.99 stars. The .01 I subtracted ONLY because there was no food involved. Hehe. Next time we’ll go the full 4 stars, whaddya say, Mikey? 🙂
All kidding aside, it was great meeting you and your mom (nice bonus) and I’m anxious to hear how the play went.
*sorry, I couldn’t find a way to make the pic bigger. you’ll just have to lean way in.