I like to think the two guys I met last weekend are more than glorified pen pals. I admit, though, that the scenario sounds eerily similar: get to know a far-flung person through the written word, eventually meet, then return to respective homes and pick right back up with the writing.
Repeat last three steps as needed.
I’ve had only one pen pal in my life, and she was a Japanese girl named Mayumi. I never made it to Japan, but based on what I knew of her I’m sure she has made a trip to the United States. Whatever the case, we never met and I haven’t heard from her since 1991. I wonder how her budgies are doing.
I can’t help assuming that the Internet has pretty much killed off the traditional pen pal. If it is not extinct, then it surely is on the endangered list. Humans’ insatiable and growing desire for immediate feedback has relegated pen pals to online discussion forums and blog comment areas with international participants. Not to mention free IP telephony (Skype), mobile phones and texting.
More than all that, I’m here to start a series of posts covering my first meeting with my two closest online friends. I can’t imagine getting to know two people over a two-year span this well through mere letter writing. Listed alphabetically, they are Moksha Gren and Simon. Trust me, the three of us wouldn’t be able to sustain the effort of writing and mailing traditional letters for nearly as long as we’ve stayed in touch online.
After about 10 months of planning and waiting, we finally met. Frankly, I doubt pen pals ever have had a better time over a four-day weekend that didn’t include sex nor any distant hope of it.
Not even with the drunken butterfly girl.
Nope, we were perfectly faithful, loyal blogfathers who never so much as entered a Hooters. In fact, we rarely went a half hour without mentioning our families, and those moments were for forays into geekery too deep for even our wives to feign interest.
Simon and I arrived separately at the airport between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Friday morning. My trip — a 1.5-hour jaunt from Dallas Love Field to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, paled next to Simon’s laborious trek from Alberta, Canada, with a three-hour layover in Toronto. That’s not to mention his work-related driving trip prior to that.
The Canadian insisted several times that he was fine after about 30 hours without sleep, but even meeting him for the first time we suspected we weren’t getting the full Simon. We both had spoken with him on the phone, and although glassy eyes don’t come across the lines, we would have noticed the slurred speech.
Moksha, our gracious
(if bumbling) and giddy host along with his wife Moonshot and their daughter Norah, admitted early on that his plans for us didn’t start until 7 p.m. that night. We somehow kept from twiddling our thumbs and picking our noses as we watched the clock tick and the pigs fly.
We ate at a well-loved local microbrewery and then proceeded to one of many memorable firsts for that weekend.
The next installment must wait. I just arrived home late Monday night and my wife’s belated Mother’s Day kept me quite busy. As much as our wives all said it was fine for us to be away for that special day, we will not even entertain the same conflict for future meetings.