Making Up the Rules

Internet is still out. Interesting that when I actually have internet access, I forget that I want to look up companies who can install it for me, which is how I come to be sitting in a Panera, covered in flour and chocolate from all the baking I’ve done for Squish’s fall festival to assuage the guilt for missing the event completely. Because I’m going to miss it. I have a date.

Tomorrow, after I teach my toddler class at the zoo, I will make like a cow patty and hit the dusty trail. In about 24 hours, I’ll be turning into sj’s driveway. There’s a balloon there to show me just where to go and everything. Amy will be there. And I am so nervous.

I’ve know sj for four years. We’ve exchanged emails daily for what feels like ever. She knows the ugly things about me. She has known me at my worst. But we have never actually met in person.

I’ve followed Amy’s blog for over a year. I won her book  many months ago, and I’ve been email her for quite some time. She is witty, charming, and her writing is delightful. I heart her dearly. But we’ve never met, either.

I know how to meet people. I’ve met people thousands of times in my life. When I’m leading tour groups, I meet dozens in one place. I know that routine. Exchange names, smile politely, ask about their work/school, move on to the next person: later, rinse, repeat. Easy.

But what about people you haven’t seen face-to-face, but they were there for you when your beloved pet died, when you were hospitalized suddenly, when the job so wished for doesn’t materialize, when a child has a serious health issue? What are the rules? Can you bypass the polite smiles and move right to a giant bear hug?

What if you have so many inside jokes (I imagine sj snickersnorting over “lather, rinse, repeat.” Long story, but let’s just say I’m more careful with my chat windows) that everything is an inside joke? And you love the same music, and you’ve talked books exhaustively, and they know you so well that their reading recommendations are NEVER off, and Eleanor and Park made you both weepy? Can you skip talking about the weather and move to eating food off their plate?

I’ve done it once before, this meeting someone who was once only words on a screen, a few months ago when I meet Emily, and it was wonderful. It worked so well. I think it will work this time, too, and for the same reason. I suspect that Amy and sj are in person exactly as they are online. That’s one thing that draws me to their writing – their raw honesty.

How does this all work? I don’t know. But I’m about to find out, and I’m so excited! sj and Amy, I’ll be seeing you ladies soon! You’ll know me by my Severus Snape t-shirt and my smile!

Gratuitous baby tortoise shot. Because when I can't share pics, I get shaky.

Gratuitous baby tortoise shot. Because when I can’t share pics, I get shaky. On a computer screen, this pic is bigger than life-size. 

 

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7 thoughts on “Making Up the Rules

  1. “I suspect that Amy and sj are in person exactly as they are online.”

    This is what makes me most nervous about potentially meeting internet people someday… because I’m really NOT. My online self is more like the self I wish I could be, closer to what I consider my “true” self… but my in-person self is much more awkward, even among family and friends I’ve known forever.

  2. Enjoy! I did the very same thing myself, just last month—only she was hospitalized. I went to her ranch and took care of her animals while she recovered from surgery. I didn’t actually meet her until the 4th day I was in New Mexico.

  3. This made me smile, and weepy, and smile again. While I read it on the couch, sitting with sj (WITH SJ!!!) the day before you were slated to arrive.

    And here we are on the ACTUAL day you’re slated to arrive, and I couldn’t be more excited.

    I try to be as much myself online as I am in person. And sj (I can attest) is as well. So I think you’ll be happy to see that. And we are going to LOVE you. Well, here’s the thing. We love you already. So it’s not that we’re GOING to love you. We DO love you. And are going to love talking to your actual face even MORE.

    Get here safely, my little sweet potato, can’t wait to give you a huge hug.

  4. I am reading this post a day late, so I suspect y’all are all hanging out at this exact moment. And that makes me so happy because you are all such wonderful ladies. Have a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

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