Tuesday, April 8, 2008

In Real Life

This weekend, it seized me—the urge to use "irl" in speech. Out loud. This urge, I mainly suppressed. But suppression was hard when it was all so truly real! Like the moment when Swifty described Jamaica Plain as "the place where Pantone goes to throw up." Or the time when my tiny yarn octopus, on a red dollhouse chair, met Frederica for the first time. Frederica is pink. She's an octopus, too.

More importantly, I got to meet nickd for the second time and Erin for the first—yes, in real life—and it was very surreal, and also incredible. Not 12 hours ago we were sitting in this very common room, surrounded by cupcake crumbs, drinking tea, fresh from the comic book shop. Erin and nickd, as I explained relentlessly throughout the entire weekend, are my "internet friends." That's such a shabby way to describe such wonderful people, though, you know? Or maybe it's not.

The thing is, I've known nickd since I was 15 or 16. I remember when he visited Ann Arbor to see Phil, when I was still in high school, and he brought bumper stickers for his blog. The words and images exchanged back then are like books to me, now—full of timeless ideas that I keep coming back to, and I'm sure they're responsible for everything from my latent love for Little Nemo's Adventures in Slumberland to the fact that I'm writing here, this very moment.

And Erin has boots, and her boots have speech bubbles. I could have known her forever.

We were walking away from my dorm this brisk afternoon—past the poetry shop, toward the gates—and I said something about how seeing my internet friends in real life emphatically affirmed everything I believe in. The two of them, with cameras slung around their necks, and stopping in comic book shops and scraping through baskets of pinbacked buttons, put into three dimensions the quietude of adventure. It wasn't nostalgia. It's just that this life I lead in two dimensions—beautiful pictures, kind and thoughtful words, a shared history of typing and trading—is so much bolder in three.

Slowly, it was staggering. I am sad to see them leave.

No comments: