On my first day working at Sketchy Vets, back before I got my current job, a vet arrived late and heavily pregnant. She was clutching a photo in her hand. It was her 3-D ultrasound pictures. We immediately swarmed the lady, exclaimed over the baby inside her, and responded suitably to her comments about the baby’s lips and ears, and who the baby would resemble. Eventually, I caught her eye as we looked at each other, rather than at the baby picture, for the first time.
“Hi,” I said awkwardly (I don’t know why I bother with that modifier. I do everything awkwardly. If I don’t add an adverb to something I describe myself doing, you can assume the awkwardly) and sticking out my hand with a grin, “I’m Carol. I don’t know your name, but I’ve seen pictures of your insides.”
Last night reminded me of that moment. But times a million.
Blogging is a very personal thing. Whether you are quite private about yourself, or whether you let everything hang out for the world to see, your blog takes on an essential part of your soul. Blogs have an atmosphere, like the smell of someone else’s linens, which reflects something about that person’s personality. Are they tidy, or slap dash? Do they have a sense of humour about themselves? Are they happy, or unhappy? Are they thoughtful, or judgmental?
When you find a blog that you like, you begin to feel like this person is your friend. Even if you never make a comment, you feel like you know this person. You remember key moments in their life, and you have struggled with them through their various tribulations. You have seen their insides.
Last night I met bloggers. I did a totally uncharacteristic thing which was completely alien to my introverted nature, but I actually walked into a bar, openly admitted to two waitresses that I didn’t know who I was looking for, peered into the faces of a lot of strangers, and then approached a couple of women at a table and said (awkwardly), “Excuse me… this might sound odd… but is one of you named Kate?”
Sweet/Salty Kate is a blogger who (whom?) I have followed for a while now. I found her through Hannah’s blog. When she posted that she was coming to Vancouver, and that she wanted to meet random readers who might live out this way, I knew I had to go. Since I know that Hannah knows Kate in real life, I felt fairly certain that she wouldn’t turn into a mass murderer or sell my kidneys over Ebay (on top of the fact that I have been reading her blog and have therefore seen her insides and there was no mention of kidney resale in there.) It was like hearing that a celebrity you like wants to meet random fans and is inviting them to dinner.It’s scary to go, but if you don’t you’ll just kick yourself for the rest of your life, right?
I didn’t go alone. OH, no. I of course had to drag Perfect Husband along.
“I want to do something kind of weird tomorrow night.”
“No, I mean I want to go to a bar to meet a bunch of people I’ve never met.”
“Who are you, and what have you done with my wife?”
Once I explained, he accepted immediately that he would meet me downtown and we would go to this thing. By the time I got downtown, I had worked myself into a real lather. I wouldn’t recognise them, and would look like a fool. I mean, more so than usual (Perfect Husband bet against this happening. I owe him 20 bucks). I would find them and they would be really uncomfortable with a total stranger whose blog they hadn’t even read actually showing up, and would call me a stalker. I would realize what a total loser I am. I mean, more so than usual.
Perfect Husband knew I was nervous. When I met him in Gastown, he handed me a small, black velvet bag and I found a string of natural pearls inside. “I bought a clasp, but it isn’t attached yet,” he said apologetically. Then he told me how awesome he thinks I am, took me to dinner, and then it was time to risk looking like a moron (I mean, more so than usual).
Hi, I’m Carol. You don’t know me, but I’ve seen your insides.
The oddest thing is, Kate looked and sounded just as I expected her to look. How did I know what her voice would sound like? Thankfully, she and the other bloggers had had more experience with meeting fellow bloggers, and didn’t find it nearly so weird. Kgrrl told me that she had also felt really weird the first time she did this. I think the worst part was that we weren’t meeting on equal footing. If two bloggers have been reading each other, they told me, your first conversation could skip right over all that small talk (the stuff I hate) right into “so, how is it going with such-and-such??” Plus, since I only knew East Coast bloggers before, I was meeting most of these other women for the first time, both inside and out. Kristin of Better Now I had looked up since Kate first linked her, and I had peeked at the other people’s blogs. There was Hillary of Two L’s Please, and Gwen… but what could I talk to these people about?
Well, it turned out that Perfect Husband grew up not five minutes from Kate. They started talking about mutual acquaintances. Then Gwen turned out to know Kate from back when they were in Junior High. They had been following each other, but not recognizing each other, for so long. I asked questions about Blog Her, and was amazed and charmed by the little blog business cards that serious bloggers carry. Blog cards. It’s so dorky that you just have to love it. I mean… come on. BLOG CARDS.
That was the craziest thing about last night. Most of these women were slim, sophisticated looking people, beautiful and… totally alien. When you yourself are chunky, left handed, bespectacled and constantly coated in dog hair, you don’t really approach thin, blonde, laughing people. They remind you of the girls who made your life miserable in high school. But here I knew that these women were dorky too. Still cooler than me. Much cooler. They, like, exercise and stuff. But I had something in common with them. We like to open ourselves, and let people in.