Friday, December 28, 2007
Virtual Round Table, or how CP became overwhelmed
Lulu and Melinda June can attest to the fact that I'm a strange bird and a difficult person to get to know because I feel shy and awkward around people I'm not well acquainted with. When you combine that with the fact that I am both a freak AND borderline retarded, people often walk away from their first few interactions with me thinking "what the hell was THAT all about?"
It is only due to some sort of miracle that I manage to earn a living in sales. I suppose 42 years of life experience and some decent legal training have taught me a thing or two about sucking it up and just talking to people, but none of it comes naturally. I'm much more comfortable sitting at a keyboard with unfettered access to my "backspace" and "delete" keys. If only I could carry those with me everywhere I go.
All of the foregoing are reasons why, when Lulu first got together with a large group of bloggers about a year ago, I told her I wouldn't want to do that. One or two at a time maybe, but not a whole room. I'd probably freeze or start babbling like a retard when faced with having to talk to that many people.
"No you wouldn't, you'd be fine," she replied.
"Well of course I'd be fine. I'm only slightly retarded, not a complete moron."
"Yes, and your point is. . . ?"
"It's just that I would find it overwhelming to have all these people come to life right in front of me. We know each other on paper and everything seems to work well that way. Why would I want to screw it up by making them deal with me in person?"
"No one is looking to get married here, CP - they just want to talk to us. You're so uptight. Why does everything have to be some sort of religious experience with you?"
Of course, she was right. Which is why this year, when Lu and I were both planning to be in Chicago for the holidays, I agreed to accompany her to a large gathering of bloggers we've gotten to know over the past few years.
It's not that I have anything against meeting bloggers or pen-pals. Dale, Chelene, Beckeye and I have all become semi-regular real life friends and I haven't managed to alienate any of them yet though I am still working on it. And I've had great single face-to-face interactions with Wonderturtle, Hapabukbuk, Write Procrastinator and Deadspot. I just wasn't sure how I'd react to a whole room of them at once.
I was able to lay a few of these concerns to rest after last night's blogger party in Chicago. The experience was definitely overwhelming, but mostly in a good way.
This is going to sound weird, but it was kind of like how I've always imagined it would be to die, go to an afterlife and then meet your cat from childhood in person form. "Hi Tom, I think you remember me - I'm Betty."
I'd say "Betty, is that really you? Wow, it's so great to meet you in person!" And then I'd stand there and feel overwhelmed.
That is how I felt when Lu, Poor George and I walked into a crowded room last night at the Hala Kahiki Lounge in River Grove, Illinois. Within the space of five minutes I shook hands with and looked all of the following writers straight in the eye:
Grant Miller from Grant Miller Media
Chris from Some Guy's Blog
Megan from By and By
Bubs and MizBubs from Sprawling Ramshackle Compound
Splotchy from I, Splotchy
Johnny Yen from Here Comes Johnny Yen Again
Chaylene from Better Living through Bacon
Vikkitikkitavi from Bells On
Bubbles from Anonymous Blogger
Sharon from Tenacious S (though I've known her for 20 years so that meeting wasn't quite as intimidating)
Vikki's sister from Two Minutes in the Box was also there but sadly I did not get a chance to speak with her - either that or she heeded someone's sage advice and avoided me.
I don't have time to say a whole lot more about it right now except that it felt natural and easy for me to talk to all these people, which only enhances my astonishment that we have all been able to come together because of our writing. It's like a virtual Round Table, only maybe even slightly more bitchy.
Which is always a good thing.
Except who gets to be Dorothy Parker here?