When the word came that my niece Cori wanted to celebrate her marriage in Charleston, South Carolina the day after my 50th birthday, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement. In truth, I had mentioned to her last July that Memorial Day Weekend was a great time-giving travelers that additional day of rest-but I never dreamed my birthday would be a part of that equation. Feeling a little sorry for myself, not being around my best friends to help usher in the perceived “big” moment in time, I did the only thing I could think of next: I asked two people I had never met in person; to have lunch with me, on my birthday….and they both said….”Well we’ll see”.
Not that I blame them. Yet I held on to the belief that if the opportunity arose and the time could be ascertained, I might have a chance to meet with them…and I did-though not totally within the confines of my original plans.
Twelve years ago, I was a bored, slightly depressed stay at home mom who found refuge talking with others on the SoapNet Message board-a site dedicated to Network Daytime Dramas. I was relatively new to the internet and I liked the idea of talking to others, sharing ideas around a common theme and having a generally good time while doing so. I became good “friends” with several people and we talked one day about having a meet-up where we could all finally figure out what the other looked like and find out if the persona shown on the message boards was the same, true genuine person in person. Unfortunately that meet up never happened, primarily because life and time conspired against us (SoapNet is no longer in service).
Then came Twitter. Twitter has been my guilty little secret (for the past four and a half years), primarily because it reminded me of my days on the SoapNet message boards. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a social media platform that in its most basic form can be viewed as one long conversation-using only 140 characters to talk (similar to confined texts) between hundreds of people all at once. In my current state I follow 183 people and 176 follow me…however on a daily basis I probably talk with maybe 15 with any regularity. My friends and followers are (mostly) derived from a fan base for the actress Crystal Chappell from the now defunct soap opera, Guiding Light and Days of Our Lives. She began a production company which breached the plane of the internet and began producing her own online-for profit-web soap operas. As we followed her career, we began talking to one another and again, the idea of meeting everyone began to take shape…but I confess, in a different sort of way.
So over the past four and a half years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet four of the women I’m acquainted with through Twitter-mostly while on vacation. Last Friday and Sunday, I added two more. Anne a retired doctor met with me for lunch on Friday and helped acquaint me with her fair city of Charleston, and then again on Sunday, when she agreed to be overwhelmed by my entire family. The other woman, Kathy drove two hours south to hang out with my family and Anne on Sunday, as we all tried to recoup from the wedding and share in the couple’s happiness. My family was very impressed-as was I that these two women would take that time out of their lives, to come and meet and hang out with a bunch of strangers. I introduced them to so many people that I’m sure they left shaking their heads in wonder to whom all those people were…
All in all, we laughed, shared hugs, some stories and became better acquainted. In effect we made our friendship all the more stronger by meeting…and they were able to witness the doll, who shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes at me several times…in effect see what I’ve been writing about all these years. I have been blessed in this life-or some might say lucky-to have had the opportunity to meet so many diverse people in this world. I’m still kind of floating on the high that these two woman brought to my table last weekend. Who knew talking on the internet could result in such good things.