I remember in Italy, when we mentioned we were renting a car and driving from Florence to Rome (cue hysterical laughter) in order to make some day trips along the way, an Italian told us, "Don't follow the lanes. Don't expect to. Just move with the flow."
Best advice we could've ever received.
Imagine my surprise though, when I went out on my usual run of
Two weeks ago I got a message from Ms. Prufrock at Barren Albion wondering if I lived anywhere in the proximity of [place to remain unnamed, story belongs on her blog] and I believe my reaction was "HOLY SHIT, that's 10 minutes away."
And last Thursday night, I let Ms. Prufrock in my front door and despite popular internet legend, she was not an attention-starved 14-year old boy or a 56 year-old male axe-murderer. She was beautiful and sweet and had this lovely little British lilt despite her Pennsylvania roots, and we sat and drank tea in my kitchen and chatted and it was . . . . awesome. It's really quite strange to sit with someone you've never met, and yet you know their whole backstory. It's like you don't know them at all, and know them more than most.
Less than 24 hours after my tea time (Ms. Prufrock promised not to make fun of my gauche American tea-making skillz, which consist of putting a bag in a mug of water and putting it all in the microwave if I promised not to mention that she sat at my kitchen counter and tried to get her no-plan mobile phone to work and . . . did I just say all that out loud?), I loaded my car with goodies and set off for the shore to meet . . . . total strangers. Psychopaths. Internet hoodlums. Well, ok, not entirely true -- I had met Angie and Sarah before, so I knew it would be at least three against seven (if they were still alive), and I more or less trusted Niobe and Julia since I had communicated with them a bit and knew a bit of non-internet information . . . . but you never know. I mean, even if everyone else there -- M., TracyOC, Lani, Molly, Laura -- was legit, what if (gulp) we all just didn't click? And then I saw people unloading Dogfish Head and Victory beer from their coolers and knew, knew right then and there, that we were all going to get along just fine.
And we did.
There was chatter, and eating, and eating yet again, and laughter, and crying, and even crying because you were laughing so hard. (Ok, that was me.) And everyone just fell into their places at the couch or the table or walking down the boardwalk, and conversation was usually chippy and up but occasionally the elephant entered the room, and how nice to know we were at the convention of florescent pink elephants and no one skipped a beat.
It was so nice to finally fit in.
I think what I really liked was the normalcy -- the knitting (though I don't), the photo taking, the game playing. I didn't know what to expect, and while I didn't think there would be seances and chest beating and shrine design sessions, I was pleasantly surprised at how beachy and weekend-y it all turned out.
I know what you're all thinking, I can sense it through the interwebs, and the answer is . . . YES. Yes computer friends, I DID get a picture of Niobe. Right before she threatened to grab my camera and smash it to bits.
Niobe Playing Jacks
I jest. I would never attempt to photograph such a spirit.