The Facebook friends are the ones I worry about. The ones that might have a nine under their jacket and who may have spent hundreds of hours in preparation for this very moment. To silence the Jesster. But, alas. I am delusional. Or am I?
When you finally meet a Facebook friend or Blogger friend in person, there is a measure of awkward intimacy... kinda like waking up next to a stranger. Or, so I hear. There really is this weird thing where you get to know these people over time, but never face to face. Sometimes it ends in shame, like the time I woke up next to the clown. And other times, with a happy ending. Uh...let me rephrase. I mean to say, sometimes it ends in an even more solid friendship, one with the foundation of the pen-palish aspects of the internet, but with the well rounded features of a hand shake or hug.
In LA, I got to meet several such people (not to mention, a very special someone with size 17 shoes and a bright red nose. But that is another story entirely). Lots of these folks I ran into and then spent time with were complete strangers to my face. I knew them by their comments. And that is actually not a bad way to meet and get to know someone. It is like speed dating, but opposite. Long dating. And not dating, but you get the point. You get used to the kind of response a person would probably have to any given thing. And then you meet them in person and you know them enough. Enough to hang out.
My artist friends who I met through blogs or otherwise online, are a ruckus crew. I really enjoyed them. The writers, as well, although, since they are all in the business of telling lies, I was more dubious. My dubiosity proved almost always unwarranted. Good folks, all in all. But, I tell you what. I love how writers do their thing. Online, you can NOT shut them up for anything on earth. They will just comment until the sun comes up. Except ...when you ask them something in person. I witnessed the silent stammers of many typically loquacious wordsmiths, when asked to suddenly give an answer or response on video. Classic! And I am the same way. I am solid if you let me write about it... actually, write about it and then go and revise what I have written for an hour or two. Then I can sound like a cross between Mohatma Ghandi and Phil Jackson. But, on the spot, I sound like a cross between Chief Wiggum and Sarah Palin. You come looking to me for a sound byte after a few mohitos and a day's worth of lectures, and I will provide you with enough lorus ipsum to fill a brochure.
One other minor point about those internet friends is this. Many times the most confident, hilarious bloggers or FBers are in fact, shy little cutie pies who, without their cloak of invisibility, just about blow away in a gentle breeze. So your job is to confirm their awesomeness. Unless they are carrying a nine and a full clip, in which case, you have got to drop them before they drop you. And, take it from me. Carrying a big sketch book is great for dropping assassin bloggers.