This post is an introduction. Dale has beaten me to the punch by writing an entire account of the magical evening we spent together in Toronto before I even managed to post the first of what I hope will be several installments about the experience. I suppose I could dive right in as he has done, forego the introduction and contextualization, but I like context and clarity, so I'll just have to deal with the consequence, which is that it will take me longer to tell my side of the story. Those of you who read me with any regularity probably are used to that tendency from me; it might even by why you read my blog. Anyway. Here's the introduction.
I have had the privilege--the very great privilege--lately of meeting in real life two people I first met virtually in the blogosphere. One wishes to remain anonymous, and so will be known as "Anonymous Blog Friend," and the other is the ever passionate Dale.
Now, maybe there are people out there who are willing to have dinner with any old person they meet in cyberspace, but I'm not one of them. I'm sure that every single person who reads my blog is a lovely human being, and I am most definitely convinced that the authors of each and every blog I read are all the coolest people in the world (that's why I read their blogs), but still, there are matters of trust and protocol that have to be dealt with when you move from reading all about a person's life on the web to asking really invasive questions when you're sitting across a table.
In other words, I didn't just email someone randomly and say, "Hey! I'd like to meet you! Let's arrange it!" No. Preparations for these recent encounters began, oh, last year. I don't remember who emailed whom first, but the fact of the matter is, I had exchanged a few messages with both of these people in private. In fact, both of them had sent me something tangible through the postal system (a gesture I am sorry to say I did not reciprocate, because I am not as nice as they are).
And the other thing is, we all recognized that emailing someone to say, "Hey, I'm going to be in your part of North America in a few weeks"only entitles you to so much. It's perfectly acceptable to ask someone you've never met if they'd like to meet you in some public space and have a meal with you; but if you ask, right off the bat, if you can spend a few nights sleeping in the spare bedroom of someone you've never seen in real life, chances are good that person will remember that s/he has to attend a family reunion in Uzbekistan the weekend you plan to be in town. (I admit, I felt comfortable enough with my Anonymous Blog Friend that I did offer to let her stay in my guest room should she ever venture out this way again, but she gave me time to make that decision on my own, as good friends should.)
Mercifully the people I met were thoroughly gracious and had lovely manners, so everything went really well. And both blog friends have given me leave to blog about our meetings within certain restrictions, which I completely plan to respect because hey, these people were enough fun that I want to hang out with them again. So if you're interested in reading a few posts on what happened When Holly Met Dale and When Holly Met Anonymous Blog Friend, well, you now have that to look forward to.