I had Saturday, January 30th marked on my calendar for several weeks: we were going to the zoo at 10, a 40th birthday party around 3, a wedding reception at 7, and a “twitter meetup” at some point that evening. See the picture? Proof I don’t make this stuff up. And yes, I have itineraries for Saturdays.
When the temperatures were 20-something accompanied by freezing rain, however, the zoo plans were scrapped. Instead, I spent several hours on the phone or in the yard talking to neighbors about a possible lawsuit we’re filing against the city…but I probably shouldn’t write about that.
As the day progressed, I just didn’t feel like hanging out with a bunch of peeps from lawschool or peeps from our church. So, I skipped them and went to Manuel‘s to wait on these people:
And I wasn’t really sure why. Sure, it’s probably my favorite bar in Atlanta. The place where this happened and where I had my “I made it back alive from war” party in 2003, and where I spent countless Thursday nights after class in lawschool. But I’ve found myself doing more and more ditching of friends IRL to spend time with strangers whom I know from twitter or blogging. I did the same thing last time Dave came into town.
This actually bothered me yesterday enough to give it some thought. I don’t want to become one of those people whose friends are all online. I came up with a few hypotheses:
1) I like visiting with folks who are from out of town and will let me choose the venue.
2) Because most of these people are from out of town, I feel like I should work harder to schedule seeing them (even though there are plenty of folks I know well who live within the 20-something counties that are “metro Atlanta” whom I only see at weddings and funerals).
3) I like beer, and most of my online friends do, too (though a couple have given it up recently).
4) I like getting to know new people who are from different backgrounds, countries, professions, etc.
But more than those 4, I think it’s
5) I’m more honest online than I am in real life and, accordingly, enjoy hanging out with funny, interesting people who know a side of me I often keep concealed.
Which is ironic to normal people who don’t waste spend time reading and writing blogs. For instance, when I told my part-time assistant last year that I was going to Chicago to meet a bunch of blogging friends, she made a scrunched up “who just opened the diaper pail?” face and said something about how people lie when they’re online and put on airs and that I should expect to be disappointed. I tried to argue that I thought it was just the opposite–especially in the “parenting blogging” arena, because everyone’s got kids and is married or was married and has no real incentive to try and engage in puffery, but she wasn’t buying it.
Of course she was wrong.
But back to the “more honest online” bit: I wrote on here before I told anyone IRL about quitting my job, my dad’s cancer diagnosis, our unexpected pregnancy, the gender of the last 2 children, etc. And then there are those stories from childhood involving public excretion.
So why stand up a bunch of folks I’ve known 10 years for avatars I’ve known 10 months?