And since the entire purpose of LiveJournal icons is to attract people to your own journal, I succumbed and clicked over to the info of one grammargirl. And she was in Ann Arbor. Freaky! But no, there was something even freakier.
She liked Lorrie Moore. Only my literary idol whose style I emulated in my best story. I had a cow when I discovered nortylak was a fan, when I met her. How bizarre to run across this person so randomly (of course, meeting nortylak was a story just as, if not even more, random). Maybe all the girls I run into online who happen to be in Ann Arbor also like Lorrie Moore. The universe is random and freaktastic to me.
I commented-and-ran, but after some time, I went ahead and friended her. This was when my flist was about a third the size it is now, so I could afford to add people all willy-nilly. She reciprocated and stopped by, and the freakiness increased.
Because she had been at the Terry Pratchett and Neal Stephenson Borders signings too. And a week later, we both ended up seeing They Might Be Giants at Borders...without running into each other.
But she became an LJ friend, and I commented frequently and promptly. Recently, she got a teaching gig in New York, so she's up and leaving this town for the big city. It was my last chance to meet her, just for the hell of it. She was having a going-away gathering at the 8-Ball, underneath the Blind Pig. It was to begin at ten, but I figured I'd be fashionably late and show up around 10:45 or so.
Thus began the task of finding Melanie in a seedy dive bar. I thought it'd be pretty easy to pick her out, and she'd also seen a picture of me, so she should recognize me. I would stand out with the being Indian and having a cow on my shirt.
But...I couldn't find her. I mean, this was a pretty small bar. She'd be hard to miss, and no matter how many times I looked at my prime suspects, they didn't look any more like her.
Oddly enough, sitting at one of the booths was the cute girl who worked at my soon-to-be gone (*sniff*) comic book store.
But even more oddly enough, this blonde woman at the bar and her friend seemed to be looking at me. Could it be that she was stealing glances? I moved around to see whether she was actually looking at me and not someone or something else that happened to be in my direction. She still seemed to be keeping her eye on me. She couldn't be checking me out, though. Cause that doesn't happen to me.
Then she came up to me.
"Do you know someone named Zubin?" she asked.
No, I said. She said I looked like someone who knew Zubin. Did I think Zubin was a strange name? Where did Zubin live? In Ann Arbor. Well, we had some family friends in Pittsburgh, and their son was named Zubin. So I didn't think it was a strange name. Well, there are at least two of them! Anyway, have a good night. You too.
So...no. She wasn't checking you out. No one checks you out, Sunil. Get over yourself.
It had been about twenty minutes, so I decided it wasn't meant to be. I headed toward the exit.
When who should walk in but grammargirl herself. She was tall and skinny, and her hair was short and black (unlike pictures I'd seen), but it was unmistakably her. A cute red headband accentuated her nice haircut. She has a cute Amélie icon, and I thought she had an Amélie look about her.
"You cut your hair," I said as she passed me, but she didn't hear. A second later, she noticed and recognized me. We greeted each other awkwardly, as people who know each other solely from LiveJournal are wont to do.
She went over to a booth full of people I had passed many a time in my futile search for her (she had a perfectly good explanation for being over an hour late to her own party). Her friends. I stood silently as they conversed. Melanie went to get a beer, and I remained, not sure what to do with these people. The whole "I know her from LiveJournal" thing still sounded...weird.
Her friends continued to converse. I noticed the cute girl in the Old 97's shirt point at me with the words "this guy," followed by "maybe you could just ask her." I expected the guy she was talking to to then ask me who I was, but he didn't bother.
Some more of her friends joined us, including a pretty girl who reminded me of someone, or maybe she didn't remind me of anyone, she just looked normal. "I'm Shawnee, by the way," she said, extending her hand. Why, thank you, nice girl, for talking to me rather than about me.
I shook her hand and told her my name before spending a minute or so getting her name correct. It was Chani. Since she was the only other person who would talk to me, we chatted about the Zs on her hands that designated her as a minor. Then she and her friend waved to a guy who had entered who looked familiar.
I went over and asked him if he played trombone. He did, in fact. Yeah, I had seen him play with Bear Mountain Picnic when they opened for Of Montreal. Very cool. He recommended the band playing tonight, Bear vs. Shark. Then a bunch of girls came and greeted him, so I left.
I told Chani he was in fact who I thought he was, and she said she didn't really know him, but they both lived in East Quad, so it had been that kind of "Hey!" wave.
A booth opened up, so Chani and her friend took it. Melanie sat by Chani and instructed her friend to make some room for me. She apologized for being distracted, but this was the last time she'd see some of these people. I understood; it was all right. She asked me what I was doing now that I was done with my Master's, and I told her about my futile job search.
Chani had to go meet some friends at the Necto (and I think I actually ended up having more conversation with her than with Melanie, heh), so she and Melanie exchanged some friendly kisses (so not the extremely hot girl-on-girl action I was anticipating!). She wanted to give Chani her LJ name, so she asked her friend Haley for a pen. It didn't look like it was working out so well over there, and I had noticed a pen on our table, along with some scraps of paper, so I wrote grammargirl on a small scrap (minus the little LJ dude), tapped Melanie on the back, and gave it to her, who gave it to Chani.
After Chani left, Melanie said she'd have to go back to the other table now, and I told her I'd leave her to give her some time with her actual friends. She wished me luck on my job search and told me to keep leaving her comments, and she really didn't mean for us to meet right before she left.
I told her I owed her lots of hugs, so she placed her drink on the table so I could give her a short hug. I intended more, hence the plural, but just having met, not really knowing, you know, whatever. It was nice to meet her, in any case.
And that was the first person I met from LiveJournal. It won't be the last.