Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Is Reality Over-rated?

So I was struggling for a topic today and then I read That Chick and as usual I was inspired. Chick's topic was about being afraid of being real. Making the transition between blogger/internet friendships and connections into the real world. I'm similarly terrified of this - I mean what if this connection is all a product of the magical world of web and there is no true chemistry when you meet in person?

A Cautionary Tale.

My husband and I had an "e-relationship" with a performer that we began following in college. We were huge fans of this relatively small-time star/performer Mark Rust. He did the college circuit and played folk music (all original) on guitar and piano and hammer dulcimer in the campus pubs and coffee houses and really gave his audiences a great show of good music, great stories (he could never get through a whole song without interrupting himself with some great related tale), and lots of laughs. We never tried to breach the celebrity zone to meet him during those performance, but preferred to stay part of his anonymous fan group. (We're kind of shy like that...)

Anyway, that all changed with the advent of email systems and shortly after we left college and were planning our wedding, we reached out to Mark via email because we wanted to use one of his songs in our wedding. Thus began our e-relationship. Every once in a while hubby would email Mark - and be like "Hey, what's up?...are you gonna be in our area anytime soon?...we'd love to catch a show. How are you? How's the family? This is what's new with us...."

One day the answer came back that he would be performing at a park within 2 miles of our home. We suggested a meet for dinner. Of course he didn't want to come to our house...I mean really...we could be like wacko stalkers. Then we suggested bringing a picnic to the park. Well, of course, he was setting up a ton of things and was busy, but he was gracious and we tried to make it easygoing. But we totally STRUGGLED for conversation.

It was kind of surprising to us. Because in our little minds he was like this great friend. I mean he had been with us on one of our first dates. We knew all the words to all his songs. We totally got his stories and his sense of humor - we were SYMPATICO!

But what we forgot was the performer factor. That intimacy that people feel when following a really great actor. Thinking we KNOW them because we've seen their act, listened to their talk show stories, read their magazine interviews. None of these things have anything to do with a true relationship of getting to know someone. And yet, we couldn't even have the ease of strangers since we had established a certain intimacy and had expectations for how we could relate.

All in all, it was a disappointing experience. I almost felt like I had lost a good friend. But what I had really lost was the ILLUSION of a friend.

What's the Verdict?

So, my question is this -- is reality over-rated? Would I go back and not have a meeting with Mark to resume my pretend friendship with him?

Would you want to take the chance to meet a best blogging friend knowing it could be awkward? or worse...that you really don't have any true connection at all?

Would I take that chance?

To be honest, I feel that if given the chance to meet That Chick, Shari, Haley, Kim, Nic, or any of the other really amazing people that I've been connecting with on line, I'd give it a shot. I may shake in my boots for a week leading up to meeting you. I may bring a cheat sheet of topics in case my mind goes blank when we meet. Or maybe I'll bring my laptop so we can "chat" if the conversation dies. And there's always alcohol.

So what the hell. Life is short. Friends are scarce.
Chick - I dare you to go for it!


Mrs. Booms said...

Hey, what you read in my blog is pretty much me and I really I don't have much more of a personal governor in person than I do in my blog. I'm really that nuts...

Also? I'm super great at interviewing which is always awkward, so I guarantee that it could be weird for a minute and then I'd make some joke so stupid or wrong, you'd instantly not be intimidated by me ever again. I'd be too stupid to be scary.

Boogaloo Dude said...

I've done it. It wasn't awkward, it was cool.

I hope it's not like what you described when I meet Orlando though.


I've met several people after having become friends with them online. For me, each has been a bit disappointing. I think that part of it is that mannerisms of a person are hidden from us online and so instead of being used to them and even finding them endearing, we are distracted by them in our first encounter.

Either that, or I just make friends with wackos who can't make real life friends.