I'm on the left, and Teri C. is on the right.
To me, summer has been about having fun. This week I had great fun meeting an online friend who I met through the Everyday Matters Yahoo group and Flickr. Teri, who spends part of the year in Arizona, part here in Wisconsin, is a gregarious person who fills notebooks with delightful pen and ink drawings, enhanced with watercolor washes. Her pages are filled with images of the parts of her life that bring her joy. We emailed each other and decided to meet for lunch in Delafield. She reported her granddaughters were alarmed. They had wisely been cautioned against online acquaintances, and were worried she might be doing something rash in meeting me. Still, we found each other easily and talked as old friends for the best part of the afternoon. We even sat and sketched, though my conversations with her were better than my drawing of a church across the street. She took me on my first sketch crawl!
Despite dire newspaper warnings about meeting people in person whom you met online, I have had all good experiences. Since about 1997 when I started being active in online book discussions, I've met people in San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Louisville, Nashville and Charlotte. We've always met in public places, and I've always announced my plans to my husband, who apparently has never worried much about me. Twice he has joined me for these meetings, and they have always gone well. Once, the in the Charlotte NC airport, and online friend came to meet us on a layover. Though we had never laid eyes upon one another before we knew much about one another, our families, lives, likes and dislikes. After she left a puzzled onlooker asked me about our conversation. It was clear that we knew each other, but had never met. I explained, saying it was like being pen pals, old friends meeting for the first time. One online book buddy ended up moving to within a half hour of where I live, and we have gone from being virtual friends to actual ones. Each of the people I have met in person after having met online as been as charming in person as I knew they would be. We already knew lots about each other, have seen each other interact with other people. And who couldn't like person who loves to read or create art? It's a wonderful world where we have the chance to meet people who share our enthusiasms and interests.