Saturday, March 25, 2006

Jim, there’s been a Disturbance


It’s the LBS with two big, round papasan chairs just inside the front door even though its inventory is busting out the walls. It’s the only one in its chain of stores. Buzzing in-n-out for a quick spare tube or brake pad just doesn’t happen: there’s always someone and something to be talked to and about. There’s BS to fling in the midst of business to conduct. There are frames to debate, suppositions to be supposed, and -- on Fridays at closing time -- beer to be had.

It’s a guy-thing, the Friday beer. But, since I tend to happen by now and again at the end of the week AND, since I need to await the reversal of metro traffic patterns, I’ll tip one or at least BS for a bit before hitting the road.

Sometimes the group is just hanging, but last Friday the new service-area addition was in full-swing: Joe was working on his new build, while Joe was installing a new cassette/chain combo and is that wheel outta true??

I’d walked toward the door several times only to get caught up in the latest bicycle rag or in the end-of-day customer who’s getting a new carbon TT rig in lieu of an engagement ring this woman rocks! So, I eventually grab my bag and wave my final goodbyes. From the other room, Joe hollers: see-ya Jeanne.

I hear a different JOE: the Old Bag?!

WHOA. Rift in the space-time continuum.

For an instant, the real me and the online me stood side-by-side. While in the comfort of my own home I know I’m both, but in the real-time space of 3D existence, the two haven’t ever met much less been called-out by someone I don’t know. Like many others, when I started blogging my online persona was an anonymous one. But after enough entries and comments, intersections are established and it’s only a matter of time before direction arrows are posted. People eventually travel the roadway between the stories they read and the person behind them.

JOE came through the doorway: I’m JOE -- I'm TGD!

I KNOW THIS GUY! We’ve never met! Until that moment, I wouldn't have been able to point him out to anyone. He's a fairly new blogger whose entries pack a punch -- what a writer. We chatted about education, women in sport, blogging, racing, babies.

I was once asked by an older-than-me :-] co-worker about blogging and whether or not I consider the bloggers I know to be friends. I wasn’t sure how to answer. We know a bit about each other’s families and work, we share some humor, we have common threads. We’ve had similar experiences. We worry, we encourage, we share advice. We know each other well enough that when we finally meet we smile and say oh man, how are you?! like buddies who haven’t seen each other since last cycling season. If we could, we’d all hang-out after a ride and tell some war stories over a beer.

Isn’t that how it all starts?

- TOB

20 comments:

Shawn Kielty said...

Nice post - Jeanne.

Trée said...

Great post. Sometimes I feel like I know my blogging friends better than I know my own family. Folks tend to share a whole heck of a lot more online. At home, it's like pulling teeth to get information from my teenagers.

Jill said...

I wish those in the blogging world did have more of a chance to meet face to face. Alas, we're spread wide across vast regions - and yet, there is a personal connection that's unique in its own way.

Tim said...

Great post and a good argument to raise the next time someone mentions how e-mail and the Internet are "ruining" communication. Sure, instant-messaging is beating grammar and punctuation to a bloody pulp. But in many ways, all this stuff is making the bike world a smaller place, and that's cool.

George said...

Great post. I have lots of friends online, I've had the pleasure of meeting a few of them and it's always been a fun experience.

shannon said...

TOB--good to meet you face to face on friday (sorry if calling out your blogname was a bit disconcerting--a couple of beers does wonders for my voice-volume); i've liked reading your thoughtful and funny writing, and getting a chance to chat was gravy. See you around...

--Joe #4

annie said...

Well, I am proud to say that I figured out who you were before you posted your real name, but wasn't 100% sure, and then (less proud here, I'm a dork and I know it) when you changed your profile to reflect your real first name I said "HA HA, I KNEW IT!" ....loudly, at work. Yeah, I'm cool. ;-)

Anyway, nearly the same thing happened to me on Thursday when I went into the shop (same one, natch) to drop off my Salsa for its annual spring whatever, and as I walked into the middle of some very involved conversation about farm subsidies (or something), one guy turned to look at me and said "Well, SHE has pictures of COWS on her blog." Which I did. I said "Do I know you, or am I just famous?" and he said I was just famous. Which was the first time that had happened to me, so it was a little disconcerting. There are a lot of nonbloggers who just read, which means there are a lot of people out there who know an awful lot about me while I don't know them from Adam. Maybe I'll just try not to think about that too hard.

X Bunny said...

i haven't met anyone from a blog yet, but i know i will in a couple of weeks and i know he's going to be a cool guy

either that or a total psycho

and i loved your star trek real me/blog me standing side-by-side image--i could see the glimmering lights around you!

Nathan said...

Critical Mass Friday?

Jen said...

check out adam's blog to see some all state pictures, and some random pictures too!

gwadzilla said...

all the links are awesome
that update feature is super cool
but it is so distracting
especially to a scattered brained victim of adult ADD

now let me read some of the old bag's posting...

hold on
what did they say in the comments?

now I want to comment on the comments

gwadzilla said...

it is awkward to step from the electronic world to the real world
it has taken me off guard for people to recognize me
it only happens at cycling events
it is weird when they are a blogger and I am a blogger
I sometimes do not get the title with the blog
as I may lose the connection some time

but yes
this is where it begins
I do consider these electronic people to be real friends
I turn to them for entertainment
I turn to them for advice

so much of the other bloggers efforts act to inspire us
they may inspire our blogs, they may inspire our bikes, they may inspire our lives

Matt said...

I've thought we ought to declare a Twin Cities blogger party this summer and all get together. Only problem is, the recovering drunks will fret about the beer and the vegetarians will cluck about the bratwurst plus I'll feel older than dirt, but it still might be fun.

the old bag said...

Shawn -- Thanks Shawn!

Trée -- yeah, that teenage time frame can be a tough one. The neice and nephew are pretty cool with it all, though...of course, I'm not the mom!

Jill -- well, on the upside it means we know people scattered all over...good for touching base if we happen to be in town!

Tim -- agreed. It's been an interesting social experiment of sorts.

George -- Thanks! Good to hear.

Joe #4 -- TGD, it was fun meeting you and chatting!

Annie -- yeah, I'm finding non-bloggers who just read...what's up with that?! :-]

Xbunny -- thanks...it was almost like that!

Nathan -- I've never done a Mass...this Friday is out for me, but I'll have to think about doing one sometime.

Jen -- cute pics of the BF!

Gwadzilla -- yup, it's a whole new world.

Matt -- hey, that might be worth thinking about. Could be a heckuva lotta fun.

Pete said...

I could feel older than dirt with Matt!

KM said...

I am in the dirt pool too. Actually, Jim and I were planning a blogger night at HC in the not too distant future.

Cheers

the old bag said...

Pete -- I've got you beat in the dirt category.

KM and Matt?? not sure yet....

Nathan said...

KM's pretty old...

;)

the old bag said...

...but is he waaaayy old??

LimesNow said...

I am SO glad you sent me the link! I have sat in the chair and cackled. And now I know my experience is just "how it all starts". I'm no different from anyone else. We've ALL felt a little disjointed doing this!