Friday, August 26, 2011

When real life meets blogging life

Last week, I met my first blogger "in real life." I've met online friends before, from both the ALI & scrapbooking worlds -- and, when I was in high school, long before the Internet, I had actual penpals that I wrote letters to and met face to face (including one I am still in touch with today) -- but never a blogger.

It's always a slightly unnerving feeling, meeting someone you've never actually met face to face, but who has also been privy to some of your innermost thoughts & feelings, wondering if you're going to live up to the picture in their mind they have of you. And then there's the whole "stranger from the Internet thing," which I still get lectured about by dh from time to time. Fortunately, aside from the occasional awkward pause, the vast majority of my Internet friends have turned out to be just as delightful "in real life" as they have been onscreen.

(And I know dh is not the only skeptical husband out there. The very first Internet friend I met was a woman from a pregnancy e-mail list we both belonged to. I noticed some references in one of her posts that sounded local, & contacted her off list. Not only was she from the same general vicinity as me, she was about the same age as me, AND we both happened to work for the same company, albeit in different locations. I had mentioned a Christmas ornament I had bought for Katie & she expressed an interest in getting one for her stillborn son. So I got her one, & we agreed to meet at a local coffee shop. Dh came with me, & while we were there, she got a cellphone call from HER husband. "No, they're not axe murderers," she said, rolling her eyes at me in conspiratorial fashion while dh looked embarrassed & I stifled a giggle. I haven't seen or heard from her in a long time, but I did have coffee with her again a year or two after our initial meeting, when I was visiting her location on business.)

*** *** ***

If I remember correctly, I found Deathstar through her comments on Pamela's first blog, Coming2Terms. I loved Deathstar's sassy comments & followed her back to her own kickass blog, A Woman My Age. Deathstar writes with honesty and humour about her ongoing struggles to balance parenting after infertility & adoption with home, husband, dog, aging mother, faith (Buddhism) and an acting career.

One of the benefits of working in the heart of downtown Toronto is that I'm close to many of the most popular hotels & tourist spots -- which is great for meetups with friends & relatives who are passing through. Deathstar happened to be planning a visit to Toronto, & I commented that if she needed a break, she should look me up for lunch or coffee.

Much to my delight, she took me up on the invitation. We arranged to meet at a pub close to my office. There was a bit of a comedy of errors -- I was waiting outside on the street while she had arrived early & was already waiting inside, with no cellphone signal. Just as I was asking the waitress on the outside patio if she could check the reservation list to see if my party had already arrived, Deathstar emerged & enveloped me in a huge hug.

We spent the next hour (OK, two hours, lol -- fortunately it was a slow day at the office...!) talking and laughing and wiping away tears, and talking some more and eating fish & chips (if that was a half portion, I'd hate to see the full.) It felt like being with an old friend -- because, of course, we were, even though we had never seen each other before in our lives. (Or maybe we have. As it turns out, Deathstar actually used to work in my office tower, a couple of floors above mine. We've probably been in the same elevator together dozens of times & never even knew it. The world is much smaller than we think it is sometimes.)

There's blogging life, and there's real life. And sometimes they intersect. I'm so glad that, in this case, they did. : )


  1. I met one of my now very dear friends in this same way. My other dear friend whom I worked with at the time was so concerned about this--"What if she tries to put you in her trunk and takes you to West Virginia?" Too funny!c

  2. Yay! for us for hooking up in real life! I left my axe at home.

  3. You know, I still feel badly that the closest I got to meeting you was waving out the window from a hotel in missisauga!

  4. I know that hug!

    it is so wonderful to be able to meet our "friends" from the computer, especially when we've followed and shared their journey for so long.

    meeting deathstar was like that for me too. powerful and inspiring. xoxo

  5. I love such intersections.

    And oh! How I would have loved to have met you both in that pub.

    What fun!

  6. I just read your blog about the movie Julie and Julia. I watched the movie on TV for first time tonight. I noticed that Julia wasn't able to have children. I googled why and ran across your blog. My wife and I tried for several years to become pregnant. It didn't work and then after we had given up, we got pregnant on our own. I remember that moment so clearly even to this day. It was in 1994. I felt as though my life had new meaning. Unfortunately, we had a miscarriage. My wife would have noticed the subtle signs in the movie and would have read your blog with great interest. She was a writter and wrote about her experience on her website. I wished she was still here to have seen the movie with me. I commented to myself how much she would have liked the movie. I wish I could share her writing with you. If I can find them, I'll see about sending them to you. My precious wife died 4 years ago yesterday. I still miss her and the our little girl we lost in 1994, Holly. Thanks for your courage in sharing your feelings and thoughts about living childless not by choice.

  7. I read this out to my husband and we laughed. The first time I was going to meet some friends I'd met on-line (I was actually going to stay with them in the UK - a bit of a leap of faith), my husband asked if they were axe murderers! I still joke with them that they're my favourite axe murderers.

    Another dear, on-line and now IRL friend once described our meetiing on-line as "getting to know each other from the inside out." She's right - we share such intimate details on-line, because of that initial safe anonymity.