I got to meet one of my blogging idols yesterday, and I'm delighted to report that the smart and talented Evelyn Rodriguez is every bit as terrific in person as she is on the web, plus way cuter. And yeah, there's kind of an online-datey feel to the whole thing that's sort of trippy: you're surfing and clicking through to a narrower and narrower set of specs when all of a sudden, wham!, you stumble upon what seems like a like-minded soul, or, as I like to call it, someone with whom you share Significant Areas Of Overlap. You eagerly devour statistics, stories and other wares that your Shiny Object has laid out for you to view. Then, if you're me, anyway, you project yourself into a fantasy world where the two of you seamlessly slip from talk of business ethics to sociopolitics to favorite experiences at sleepaway camp (and finally, if your point of entry was nerve.com, into dessert, the sack and a fabulous little Craftsman bungalow in Echo Park that you painstakingly rehab together in perfect harmony).
Meeting an online presence in the flesh yesterday, there was (for me, anyway) that customary, brief loss of equilibrium at first as I adjusted to a real, separate human being who moved and sounded and even looked slightly different than the 2-d version I had in my head, but after a little chit-chat about traffic and turkey dinners, we were off to the races and I couldn't stop talking. (Well, I stopped to let Evelyn talk from time to time, but only because she is very smart and interesting.)
Suffice to say it was a thoroughly energizing and enjoyable meeting, with the bonus-extra goodie of generating new blog entry ideas for (I think) both of us. Not that we couldn't email and post and IM back & forth to create a dialogue (well, no IMing, because it gives me heart palpitations), but there's something about meeting in person that kicks it into a higher gear, I'm a big fan from way back of the epistolery novel, but eventually, you want those see those scribblers meet up and watch the sparks fly. It's why I don't think cities will die off anytime soon (and I'm not alone: go here for lively discussion on urban splendor or the lack thereof). We're social creatures, even us crazy-geeky hermit types, and cities are a great way to keep us in proximity to one another. (According to an interesting article in The New Yorker a ways back, dense, old-style cities, like New York, may also be the most ecologically sound way to collect us, but I can't cite the source because in an insane cleaning frenzy, I pitched that issue. I am an asshole.)
So Evelyn, and any fellow bloggers (or, um, online dates) I might like to meet, here's to the next time fate throws us together geographically. And until then, let the Internet do its magical work.
P.S. Evelyn, even though the other photo had better light, I had to use this one. The starbust-halo effect just seemed like some kind of summit endorsement from on high.