Back in 1998 or so, I used to totally idolize people that published stuff online. I’d check their sites everyday for updates and vociferously read every word they published and every once in a while I might exchange some email with them. I was entirely too excited to see those names in my from: list. I remember the first time I actually saw these people in person, and I say “saw” instead of “met” because I was too awestruck to even approach them. By the summer of 2000 I moved to San Francisco, and so I got to meet almost everyone I read and I’m sure I was an annoying person around them, quizzing them on their lives and constantly bringing up obscure facts they mentioned online years before. It’s hard not to when you know almost everything about a stranger’s life.
About three years ago, I started meeting lots of people that were just like me, except the tables were turned. They’d meet me at a conference or a party and ask how my grandmother was doing, if the camera I was holding was the one someone sent me off my wishlist, and if I was still living next to noisy neighbors. I got to learn how awkward it is to meet someone that knows almost every detail of your life, but at the same time they’re a complete stranger to you. A lot of these conversations are unfortunately one-sided.
I’ve gotten used to being on both sides of those situations and I still get a small thrill when I meet someone whose site I’ve read and I’ve emailed before.
Yesterday, I got one of those awestruck, early era feelings for the first time in years. I walked into a hotel lobby, someone said my name, then handshakes and I heard “I’m Jon Armstrong and this is Heather.”
Hmm. Why does that sound familiar? Heather Armstrong? Hmm.
OH MY FUCKING GOD IT’S THE DOOCE.
Dooce! I fought the urge to hit them with shotgun questions about Leta, the Kitchen Makeover, and their dog Chuck. I’m sure my eyes widened when I realized it was them but I remained calm. I dropped my things off, got dinner down the road, and returned to a nice conversation with Jon and Heather and I did indeed eventually get to hear about Leta, the Kitchen and everything else I’ve ever enjoyed them both writing about over the years.