Meeting imaginary friend
Somewhere in the morning he asks: "Have you actually met Andrea?"
"No." And, feeling that I need an excuse, I add "but I have stayed myself in the houses of bloggers I never met". He smiles understandingly and I hope that he really understands, even if it looks a bit crazy...
Later during the day, in between work and cleaning the house, I think that indeed it's a bit crazy that sort of crazy that became a lifestyle for me. Somehow, relations with other bloggers need to cross the boundary between online and offline. Somehow, being in a weblog-mediated contact often turns into a need (often an urge ;) to meet to move on slow mediated conversations into real life exchanges, to see how much real person is close to that imaginary friend you construct while reading a weblog, emailing and skyping in between, to confirm that you are indeed as close in the real life as it feels from online. And, blogging seems to create not only this need, but also the trust needed to cross the boundary with a bit intrusive "I'm in the city shall we meet?" or "so, why don't you come here?", to go the extra mile of arranging the logistics and to sound convincing while explaining to others why you actually do those crazy things...
In the evening, when we meet for the first time, I feel strange. I know that feeling from before, meeting someone you feel you know quite good, while realizing that you probably don't really know the person. The appearance, the physical presence is unfamiliar, so my brain resists accepting that I could actually know her, but then small details start kicking in the voice that I know from Skype, personal things that I knew or that fit well with those I knew, references to old blogging themes... And while the conversation develops, my brain is getting more and more convinced this is not a total stranger, we do click in so many ways, starting a conversation from the point where it was left last time, we probably do know quite a bit of each other and those unblogged details that come up now seem to fit that fuzzy picture constructed over time of reading what was in the blog and what was in between the lines
And, symbolically, first of this spring narcissi's stand in the sunlit living room reminding of those last year, the process of discovering my connections with ethnography that, beyond all other things, turned into connection with Andrea and brought her into my house...