Yesterday I wrote about going to a stranger’s house for a house party where I was the weirdo that no one knew. Today I will bore you with the story of a more extreme case of meeting strangers, this time strangers I met online.
A long, long time ago in a jail not too far away I needed a way to connect with others while spending my days alone. This was so long ago that the best option to communicate with others with similar interests(or at least the best one I knew about) were listservs. I joined a few listservs about libraries and books. One particular book-related listserv rules about going off-topic. There were some people on the listserv who enjoyed going off-topic. These people were told they were no longer welcome on the listserv. These people were my favorite people on the listserv, so when they started a splinter group on another listserv, I followed them over. Thus was born the Book Barn and the legend of The Great Ignored(me).
We spent years talking to each other on the Book Barn. They weren’t just people on the Internet. They were my friends. Eventually, a plan was made for some barners to meet in person. The meeting place was a barner’s house in Pittsburgh. I was going to drive up from Maryland. Two others were driving over from Cleveland. Yes, my Internet friends lived in the home cities of terrible football teams. I was able to overlook that.
I will admit that I was a little nervous about driving to a strange city to meet people I had met online. They make Lifetime movies about people who do this. I told my wife that if I got there and the people were really weird I was going to call her from the bathroom and tell her to call me in a few minutes to pretend I had an emergency and had to leave. It didn’t come to that. I’m not saying they weren’t weird. Just that they were no weirder than me. So, I spent the weekend hanging out with people I met online. We had a good time. We toured part of Pittsburgh. No one murdered me.
The Book Barn has gone away, but I’m still friends with several of the barners on Facebook. Maybe some day it will be time to meet up in person again.