Don’t talk to strangers

On my list of things to do in Chicago was to meet Adrienne From The Comments Section Who Doesn’t Have A Blog.  She’s been cracking me up for months now with her witty rejoinders and I’ve been trying to get her to start her own blog but she’s been way too busy doing responsible things like saving her community school which doesn’t leave time for writing about what she ate for lunch and sharing it with the global Internet community.

I called her Friday afternoon to discuss plans for Saturday and had that brief panicky feeling that she’d say, “Who are you and why are you calling me?” but the first thing out of her mouth was, “You have an accent!” which cracks me up when people tell me that because a) I’m Southern and it’s buried in my genetic code; b) I don’t think I have that strong of one; and c) HAVE YOU HEARD PEOPLE FROM CHICAAAHHHGO?

She drove downtown in the morning and met Momologuer and me at the Starbucks in our hotel lobby and we immediately bonded over our love for all things carbohydrate.

She ordered the “lemon loaf” which I thought was interesting because I’d always called it pound cake and I wondered if Midwesterners didn’t eat pound cake or if I had just been calling it by the wrong name every time I ordered it.  I didn’t ask her to expound upon the difference because a) I didn’t want her to think I was weird and didn’t know one pastry from another, and b) I hadn’t had sufficient coffee at that time of the morning and couldn’t put two coherent words together.

Adrienne was so much fun to be with and I instantly felt at ease as we sat back and talked about anything and everything, and when I say everything, I mean it because I think at some point we were actually talking about funerals and really, isn’t that what you always wanted to discuss when you meet a random stranger for the first time?

I think, though, what I enjoyed most about our all too brief time together was listening to her laugh.  You can tell a lot about a person by how they laugh, and Adrienne has a wonderful laugh that’s loud, frequent, and full of joy.  I love to laugh and have someone with whom to laugh, so you can imagine how happy I was to sit and make merry and how sad I was when her parking meter expired and she had to skeddadle and get back to her family in the suburbs.  I came away from our time together feeling so blessed by the friendships I’ve made through this weird little hobby called blogging and renewed in my desire to meet as many of my blogpeeps as I can.

The second “stranger” I met this weekend was not someone from the blog, but an online friendship that I formed over two years ago.  I met Kate on a community message board talking about a tv show that we both enjoyed, and though our interest in spending time obsessing about fictional characters faded after about six months, our relationship continued through Facebook and then Twitter.

We made general “If you’re ever in North Carolina/Chicago…”  sort of plans to get together, but this past weekend I had a specific time and location.  Kate works in theatre (she’s an executive director) and she had secured tickets for us to see a play based on the works of Noel Coward at her theatre in the suburbs of Chicago.  I was a little nervous about going to the play because most of the plays I go to involve poor costuming (I never said I was crafty), whispered cues from the side of the stage  and children pausing their lines mid-speech to wave to their mother and I wasn’t quite sure I’d be cultured enough for the Chicago scene.  Remember, I’m the one that eats at the Pik-N-Pig.

As our train approached the station where she was going to pick us up, I hoped that we would get along as well in person as we did online, and I was beyond thrilled when our personalities clicked immediately (it helped that we first went out to eat and discovered that we shared a love of brown food).  I loved Kate’s energy, her wit, her pet phrase “Oh, My-lanta!”, and her incredible generosity.  I realized I sounded stalkerish when I asked about her sister, her ex-boyfriend, and her penchant for purses (I have a weird habit of remembering the most obscure details which makes me a great Trivial Pursuit teammate but also can make me appear to be in need of a restraining order), but she took it all in stride and didn’t call 911 to have me arrested.  By the end of the evening, we were fast friends and making plans to go to Vegas for her birthday, and we spent most of Sunday texting each other in search of handbags.

So what did I learn at the end of the day?  I learned that just because you haven’t met someone doesn’t mean they’re a stranger, that you never stop making friends, that life is always big enough to accommodate new ones, and that people from Chicago really talk funny.

Have a nice day.

22 responses to “Don’t talk to strangers

  1. The news about your “accent” made me laugh… I have never thought you had one…so that means I must have one too…

    Sounds like you had an awesome time! 🙂

  2. How fun! I totally hear you with an accent so that’s good to know.

    I’ve recently realized that I have a little trifecta of bloggers in the Raleigh/Greensbor area that I’d like to meet. I also have a very good rl friend in Cary so I’m thinking summer.

    But I’m pretty sure NYC is still calling your name.

    Happy Easter!

  3. Coffee Drinker Anonymous

    You had me at “Starbucks in our hotel lobby.”

  4. Oh CPQ _ I loved this! I have made some wonderful “friends” online…I will be meeting one of them (in person) next weekend when she and her family come spend a night with us on their way home from DisneyWorld…

    Sounds like you had a fabulous time!

  5. Did you know that I used to live in the Windy City?
    My parents vowed to move us out of there before we started talking like we had a bean up our noses.

  6. I love bloggy meetings.

    Especially when held over carbohydrates. Hey..when are you coming back, by the way??

  7. What fun! Hope to hear you’re traveling West soon!

  8. Fun, fun, fun! Glad you got to meet up with these lovely ladies!

  9. What a great time! And you got to go to the theatre. Wowsa. That’s like, tripping the mom-o-meter off the scale.

    I’ve said it many a time: we get by with a little help from our friends. And I’m so glad you came out of my computer. But even if you hadn’t, I’d still be so grateful for you, friend.

  10. This is a great story of friendship! And I never imagined you with an accent, I imagine you with a loud, deep voice with a hint of sarcasm. 🙂

  11. That sounds like so much fun! Someday you should VLOG so we can all experience/enjoy your accent!

    You may just want to get out a big ol’ map and stick pins in it with places to do meet n greets!

    Next up: Portland, Orygun! Let me know, I’ll round up some pound cake/lemon loaf!

    I’m just sayin’

  12. Yeah usually death, cremation or burial, and what hymn you want sung at your funeral are usually saved for at least the second or third meeting, but hey…you said it, strangers is a relative term.

    Glad you had fun, and I thought that lemon loaf and pound cake were two different carb-o-licious treats, but now it seems that they are just a take on each other, hmmm…

  13. Why do I think you were on your fourth cup o’ joe while writing this?

    Anyway, for the 3 years I lived in Minnesota (or, rather, Meen-eh-soooda), the other kids used to ask me to read things out loud so they could hear my “southern drawl.” I cannot fathom what their reaction would have been to somebody with a real southern accent.

    Doncha know.

  14. I must admit I was a little surprised by the accent when we talked on the phone . . . I dont know why, you do live in the south after all . . .

    anyways, i cant wait to meet in real life – it’s going to be so fun and we will probably both seem a little stalkerish — oh well 🙂

  15. NEM beat me to the punch on telling you about our “hopes” for our kids’ accents…
    Sounds like you had a great time!

  16. I call it the lemon pound cake when I order it. It’s the only food item I ever order for myself at Starbucks. No one has corrected me, but it could be a regional difference.

    Did you ask the ladies to say, “Da Bears?” I think I embarrassed my husband by coaxing his English client into tossing out an Austin Powers line. Accents are fun!

  17. I’m with Carrie…

    Let’s say it all together, shall we? Next stop – P-O-R-T-L-A-N-D O-R-Y-G-U-N

    …cause us Pacific NWers ain’t got NO weird accents and we’re really good at grammar.

    AND we have carbs.

  18. Guess what? I live way out here in Arizona and I have the same accent you do – deep south. And people are constantly dropping their jaws when I open mine. I can’t go to the pharmacist and ask for my prescription without the pharmacist asking me where I’m from. I haven’t lived in Georgia for 17 years now (I cannot believe that now that I’ve written it!), but I guess my accent has stuck with me like molasses on a biscuit!

    When are you coming to Tucson!

  19. I didn’t think you had an accent but since my drawl is as big the continent, I’m sure you just sounded “normal” to me!!

    This makes me think of our time getting kicked, visiting at the Varsity!

    It really is quite a special time! Glad you had such great meetings!

  20. Oh, you make me sound so fun!!!! Thank you! I had a great time. You are so nice and sweet and southern!!!! And you love to laugh! That is such an important, and often overlooked, quality in a person–I think. Thank you for sharing some of your weekend with me.

    And about the lemon loaf–it used to be called that in the case, then I noticed they changed it to lemon pound cake, but the receipt still shows lemon loaf. I think it’s because they want you to eat it for breakfast and if it’s called cake, you may not indulge. Ha! Yeah, right. How else am I going to keep this 15 lbs. on?????

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