Friday, June 27, 2008

Reality used to be a friend of mine

I was thinking on the way home of doing a post on my neurotic apprehensions in meeting our 49£ers in the real world, but have decided to open it up to my first memories of the pre-virtual encounters too. My chronology falls thus:

Circa 1993, Chicago Pizza Pie factory, St. Stephen's Green on the right as you go in, was with my school friend on her graduation night and was introduced to her friend and boyfriend. I misheard the introductions, as SL's name sounded like the female version of his name, and so I didn't know who was who between him and MW. A few cocktails later and that was sorted.

Circa 1994, I confess, I know that I know Goldenbeers this long but don't have a distinct early memery so I'll go for a much later one, circa 2/3 years ago bumping into him in Centra on Exchequer Street and having a lovely passing chat.

Late 1990s-ish, was at a party in MW/SL's and Mossie was there but probably didn't realise the attention she was getting as the new in-law potential. She was Chieftan's "friend", special friend if you will. She was very pretty, interesting and confident.

Early 2000s, another party, night of the famed chocolate dress that was worn only once yet still hangs in my wardrobe, talking shite in the kitchen with a few people, including Conformist No. 2; another person I was hearing many things about. But it was in Toast, a year or two later that I first remember nice conversations with said No. 2.

January 2008, standing outside the old Beweley's on Grafton St in the rain with MW; waiting for another friend to come out from the toilet; expectations of a viewing of Midge's new man and I was fulfilled. Plasmonic was nothing like I expected, but pleasant and polite.

Things now move into the post-virtual world and turn strange...

Late Jan, Jo's in Starbucks for her husband's gig. I'm in town so I head over, late, ring Midge, she says 'wait there & I'll ring Jo to see if she's there'. I panic and run out of the cafe. The shame is too much. She's left already. Thank God.

Early February, plans to meet SL for lunch on a Sunday; at the last minute SL drops that he's bringing Tib along. I'm not ready for these real world meetings. Conversation flowed from sport to work to telly to blog life, but I was mortified the whole time, in a giggly way.

Less than a week later, SL does it to me again, this time with Shan and Idiot, telling me how they're dying to meet me. Panic. Mortification. I think I might have tried to hide behind GB. Idiot approaches first on his way to the toilet; he looks like a young & happy Ryan Tubridy; he passes and the embarrassment is short-lived. Later I meet Shan & he shows me the internet on his phone and I relax into the real world.

Two weeks later and I'm lost in a dark alley somewhere in Bray. I ring Midge along the way for support - she gives it. I enter the house at the end of the lane & meet Jo & Ash. Jo is friendly and motherly and Ash is very quiet (deceptively). It's still a bit surreal but I'm getting a bit more used to it, made easier by having Shan & Idiot as court jesters on the night.

Blog awards night, unaware of the caffeine hell that awaited, I enter the fray of a million virtual people. Not easy. My addiction to society is the only thing that has me there. I get sitting momentarily beside Atreus. He seems very staid and modest, in an admirable sort of way.

A few months later and I'm back where I started, feeling self conscious and ashamed and wanting to hide from non-existent possible attention. It passes and I get to know Daz in a real world way. He's smiley and pretty and dresses too well to be straight, but then I remember he's loved-up in a hetero way. The night goes on and we're NBF, in a house-fire way. But then I'm outed and the world of things I had to say dry up and I'm intimidated and embarrassed and ashamed.

There's only more to come with Ails, Voodoo, Dolly and the unknown future others. If I survive that long.


  1. Aw.

    I suppose having that reaction makes me motherly. Ok...

    Ais is deceptively quiet, isn't she? Yet a passionate soul lurks beneath.

    Idiot, it's ok. You do not look like any sort of Ryan Tubridy.

    I suppose it is interestingly different, meeting people who already know you-sort of.

    I've only had good experiences with people I've met online though, as far as I can think of. I think it's agood way to get to know people, it clears away the period when you don't know them, all that awkward small talk.

    And for the record, I live up a lane, not an alley!

  2. Wonderful! An amazing chronicle of offline online life. I'm gleefully piecing things together in my head now.

    It was really lovely meeting you and conversation did NOT dry up. In fact you became all the more interesting. See you again soon!

  3. It is a's a country lane, and I always get the feeling that there is a little community of faries that live in the lane too, little magical place that you live Jo!

    Milan I am struck with the horrible realisation that if it weren't for me you wouldn't have met all these people, you also wouldn't have been dragged into the blog universe and wouldn't have the angst over your secret identity!

    What will you think when you've met us all, will we all be different and suprising in real life?

  4. I can't wait to meet you all as I have a mental picture of all of you and boy is it mental.ynniodkh

  5. Milan, another wonderful, thought provoking post as usual.

    Can it really be 15 years since the two of us, pie-eyed, slid down the wall at the back of the hall during the graduation that first night we met? Man. I was only looking at the chocolate dress picture today...

    Mine are varied too.

    Of course I've known MW since we were kids and our brothers were together in school.

    GB and I met in college in 92. Still can't seem to shake him.

    Shan in his job many, many years ago although we've only really become friends here.

    Tib one day... Jesus, ten years ago when he came into my job as a work experience kid. Looked like the type who would run the world one day even then.

    The sadly quiet, but for very good reasons, Mossie the same night Milan did. Many mutterings that night of how my brother would do very, very well indeed to hang on to this one :)

    Conformist, briefly in college, then in a job I came to in the early 00's when he was, believe it or not, briefly again, my boss.

    And everyone else pretty much through here and the 4nine£ gatherings. They are experiences I am thoroughly glad to have had and I wouldn't swap them for the world.

    Darren, well we'll tell that story of my awful teasing cruelty to him some day.

    My thoughts did turn the other night to our two LBPs outside the country. Dolly who I've never met, recruited through Shan and who I now write letters to. Someone who I genuinely can't wait to meet and get hideously drunk with :)

    And then there's Voodoolady who none of us know, have ever met, or whose real name we've never been told! To be fair we don't even know where she is right now! That is the cherry on the top of our incredibly mixed cake.

    Here's to Friday.

  6. Milan, the word shame keeps jumping out of your post. What in the world have you posted here that there is to be ashamed of?? Why would you be ashamed of yourself when meeting us?

    Is it the pron?

    Seriously, I think that is a huge misconception. You can take Catholic guilt too far you know.

  7. I sound incredibly mysterious after SL's post.

    Maybe I am really a man, or the alter ego of another poster, who am I???!!

  8. Nice to know that SL quite happily took those jobs for money that I recommended him to do, yet only now thinks I am his buddy!

    Dolly aint all that to be honest she is a pain in the arse really, a bit psycho too, I have seen her in action, attacking her friends or at least I thought they were her friends, they are now dead, buried somewhere in Haga Park in Stockholm.

    The only reason she is coming over to stay in mine is because she held a knife to my throat and told me she was.

    So becarefull what you wish for SL.

    Oh that was an ok post Milan, really myself and Idiot didnt give a damn if we met you or not, stop bigging up your ego!

  9. Jeeze, Shan, you're scary.

    Hahaaa Darren! You've been very convincing. You should have timed your arrival 'home from your travels' to cooincide with the Friday meet up and come in in a dress and one of those hats with corks, then revealed your luscious locks instead!

  10. Jo - alley, lane, is there a differnece?

    Ails - ynniodkh?

    Jo - 90% of my postings I wouldn't post knowing it was for general consumption. Everything about blog world is embarrassing.

    Voodoo - you have me wondering, will we ever learn the true VD.

    Shan - I know you're only saying that, you probably have a shrine to me in your new sunroom.

  11. Wow, Milan, you must think me such a shameful creature!

    Alley/ lane - of course there's a difference!! Lane suggests ruralness, hedges, winding paths etc. Alley has concrete, dealing and late night rape connotations, in my book!

  12. Imagine Baa Baa Black Sheep if the little boy had kived up an 'alley'.

    Bags of wool, eh? I don't think so!