Posted 21 September 2006 - 09:33 AM
I'll tell a little story that might be warming. Angie will remember because I told her about it some time ago in correspondence. Side note: if you ever email with Angie, you'll notice how prolific she is. Let's just say that girl can really type fast --her output is staggering.
I have mixed view about first getting to know someone online before in-the-flesh. I think there is goodness to it, because you get to see the mind first and only. And, it's a safe haven for communicating. As long as both parties are completely honest/authentic, it's a good thing on the whole. But it's no insurance policy. I say that because I met my 2nd wife that way, and after 9 years, the marriage failed anyway. On the other hand, the Internet had a lot to do with who I'm with now, the love of my life, hands-down.
It was kind of funny how it happened with my ex. Back then, it was basically pre-web. At the time, there was a system called The Cleveland Freenet, which was the largest community computing system in the world, it was linked with something called CWRUNet (Case Western Reserve University). I had an account on there. Back then, it was bulletin board style. There were three literature boards. One was called Creative Writing, another called Poetry, a third called Critiques (that's where you critiqued things you saw on the other two boards). She is a writer of poetry, and I was, er, quite a bit more acetic than I am these days. I remember writing a review of one of her poems that started with "Another Hallmark moment by ---." I basically tore her a new one, and did that more than once. Then, I happened to meet her in person at a FreeNet gathering, and realized there was more to her than I thought. That's when I became acutely aware of the differences between online personnae and in-the-flesh. I was pretty sheepish.
Anyway, flash forward to the end of that stormy marriage. It ended, and I moved out. I took a week off work because of the trauma. I had just completed a large business project, and had enjoyed a very honest, straightforward relationship with a lady. We had never met, just email and phone, all pleasant. When I came off sabbatical (well, let's be honest--I cut loose and toured every drinking establishement in the city of Cleveland for about 72 hours; call it aberrant spiritual cleansing) there was an email awaiting me from this lady. She asked where I had been, she felt like she was "missing a friend." I told her what happened, how tore up I was, etc. She said something to the effect of "I've been there, you could write a book about my life, it was such a soap opera. If you need a neutral, safe person to talk to, I am willing to listen." And, it occurred to me that I surely did need that. I poured my heart out to her, and she gave me sage counsel.
During the course of this lengthy email exchange, we of course started sharing personal interests, etc. I told her about Nathaniel Branden, that I had done some work with him, and I had gotten to him because many years ago my life had totally changed because of reading a book called "Atlas Shrugged." She was dumbfounded! She wrote back "You are KIDDING! Atlas Shrugged is my very most favorite, favorite book! I have never talked to anyone that ever knew of it. I have several copies and I have read it at least five times!"
Now that , needless to say, tripped my trigger, and much dialogue ensued!
All I knew of her was that she was a business owner, and a good one. I asked her more about her interests, and as it turned out, she was also a very seasoned dancer (ballet, tap, and even belly dancing). Eventually, I coaxed her into sending me a picture of herself, which she was reluctant to do, for some odd reason. I waited two days or so for this, and finally pictures arrived-- ones of her dancing; tap, ballet. I was thoroughly taken. We decided that we both wanted to have a very high-level, platonic friendship. Very Objectivist-style. You know, art galleries, philosophical conversation, and such. She came out and saw my band play one night, that was the first in-person, it was brief, and cordial--she came with some of her dancer friends.
Then, we decided to get together for dinner, she drove up to my place. I still remember when she got out of the car (it was winter, she looked like a little snow bunny). I was captivated! On with the platonic. We went to a nice Italian place I've frequented for decades. We got out of the car... I was being very careful to not be forward and such, but she just put her arm around me like it was the most natural thing in the world. We dined, she told me her life story (quite the story, lemme tell ya!). We said goodbye and the end of the night, she pecked me on the cheek.
Well, I was in a total daze. I walked into my place and sat with my then-roomate (old friend). I was clearly unsettled in a good way.
After that, we went out a couple more times, and the fire started burning, hard. Lots of email in between, too.
Let's just say that the platonic thing didn't fly, it turned into full bore romance, despite our lofty attempts to confine ourselves to visits to the art gallery, botanical gardens, and such.
Now, we are together, and it's the best thing that ever happened to both of us.
So, you can see how I have kind of mixed feelings, but in the end a happy ending is a happy ending, so I can't really say much derogatory about Internet-started relationships, now, can I?
Visit My Blog!
"There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. the only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick." -- Robert A. Heinlein