Saturday, 30 July 2011

When bloggers meet

L to R:  Justine, Tina, me
The blogging world is a treacherous place.  At first it seems as though you're in a boundless playground where you can pick and choose your friends and where you can decide at your leisure whether you like someone or not.  The only way this is going to half-way work of course is if you project your true self, warts and all.  The temptation in this anonymous and anarchic medium is to fulfill your dream of being seen by others as you want them to see you, with no warts.  As I navigate curiously from one blog to another by clicking on the "next blog" button at the tops of our blogspot screens I often wonder how many Wizards of Oz there are out there, hiding behind the curtain.

Years back when we first started putting ourselves on the internet by creating a blog on which to express ourselves, there was a new innocence in the air - we even wondered if we all got friendly on the internet with translation gadgets to break down the language barriers, whether - hey, why not? - there would be less world conflict?  Well, we learned.  People weren't always what they seemed, just like in the real world.

I've been thinking along these lines for a couple of years now, and as one of many lapband bloggers, was slightly wary of this possible dichotomy.  When I knew that Tina, a blogger with a lapband, was coming to the UK for a holiday it was totally natural to see if it might be possible to meet up, and an added delight when another local bandit blogger, Justine, joined in. 

We met up at Starbucks at a shopping mall in North Bristol, Cribbs Causeway (located, as you can see, under the escalator!) and chatted for over two hours.  I'm sure we all had our escape tactics in case anything went wrong, but I think we knew each other's blogs well enough to realise straight away that - oh relief - we were pretty much as we portrayed ourselves on our blogs.

Of course they wouldn't have guessed that I talk a lot (in writing brief and to the point, that's me), and at the end of a post you don't know that I'm hoarse, but alas they know it now. 

So because I prefer to be seen as I really am, I'll tell you that all through childhood and growing up years my family would listen to me indulgently for a while, then finally beg me to shut up, ("Why can't she ever stop TALKING?" my older sister would say in exasperation), but as from some years ago I have tended to confine my chatterbox instincts to the written variety.  I suppose that way if I'm being boring I won't know about it. 

That I talked myself hoarse at Starbucks the other day (er, did I let anyone get a word in edgeways??) is a tribute to these two ultra nice people, who are as straightforward as they are on their blogs, and with whom I felt instantly at home.  Their weightloss is an inspiration to me, as is their attitude towards it - a relief to have achieved it to enable them to get on with the lives they want to lead.  They were good listeners, as we each in turn gave our opinions on weight issues, and we talked about plenty of other things as well. 

It was - well, lovely, and I was truly sad to say goodbye.  Please can you come back to the UK soon Tina, and Justine, I'd love to meet up again sometime. 


From my Eavesdroppings blog
No. 148.  Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours...


A London couple have just moved to the south west of the country and being in a new town, want to make friendly approaches to the neighbours on either side of them. The ones to the left were particularly kind on moving day, providing cups of tea when the kettle couldn’t be found, offering advice, taking in parcels for them when they were out, and so on. The ones on the right are a quiet older couple in their seventies who keep to themselves, though they were perfectly friendly when the London couple popped round briefly to introduce themselves a week later. The new arrivals were grateful to learn from them the all-important information on the days rubbish is collected.

A few days later, London lady buys two boxes of chocolates to give to them for Christmas. A large box for those on the left, tagged “Thank you so much for your help when we moved in, would you like to come over for tea next Tuesday?”, and a small token one for those on the right, whose tag reads “It was a pleasure to meet you, and we much appreciated the advice about rubbish”.

On her return from Christmas shopping one day, she learns from her husband that he’s delivered the chocolates for her, and had a nice chat with both neighbours, who were delighted. The following day there's a knock on the door…

Neighbour, Right (70): What a wonderful big box of chocolates! This is so kind of you – yes we’d be delighted to come to tea next Tuesday.

London Lady (62): (In a very faint voice) Oh – er, that’s wonderful, look forward to it…

The couple are wondering whether it is yet safe to come out of their front door.


Photo Finish -
from Lonicera's non-digital photo archive

Province of Salta, Argentina

A Bristol Opera Company production of
La Traviata in the 1990s.


Bristol - reflections on a building

St Ives, Cornwall
(A little doorway for Zanna!)


At the Roman Baths, in Bath.  I took this
picture of one of the statues because it so
reminded me of Charles Laughton.



Joyful said...

How wonderful that you had a chance to meet up with not one, but two blogging friends! I envy you...but I'll catch up, lol. It's especially nice when the people you meet are like you hope they'll be. Hugs. xx

Sandy Lee said...

I know exactly how you feel. My first encounter was with someone from our clinic (Gilly) but it was awesome. Didn't want the time to end. Yesterday I met a friend who inspired me to be banded. She doesn't blog but we overtalked each other for hours. Her daughter had to intervene (she wanted to get us back to the baby shower talk--too funny). Sometimes we need that time with others who just know what we are going through. Either through our blog or through personal contact. It is scary but oh so fun. I will get to England, not sure when but even if it is years, I will know I will have a couple of friends to talk non-stop with when I get there. I am just so glad you all had a grand time.

Lonicera said...

Thanks Joyful, it was great, and I'd love to meet up with all the bloggers whom I've got to know. I'd be permanently hoarse!

Sandy Lee - yes, that's what it was like! It's so reassuring to find that you're not alone in this process.

(I had lunch with some people the other day, and one of them asked me why I just didn't eat less. I rest my case).


Debi said...

I am so glad that you got to meet some of our blogging friends! I met Tina in Oregon last year and wished that we could have spent more time as well...

Hopefully some day I will get back to England, and if so, I would love to meet up with you too!!

And as usual, your photos are beautiful!!

Lonicera said...

Thanks Debi - maybe we should name Tina as the roving blogger ambassador! And I'm so glad you like the pictures.

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