Monday, April 06, 2009

Tim Tams & Cyberfriends

Strange weekend. It's Monday afternoon and I'm feeling unexpectedly down. Don't know why. Probably just the comedown after the high of a totally cool weekend.

I spent the weekend with a complete stranger I know pretty well. Not sure I really ever expected to meet them in the flesh. Our cyber-paths crossed and although she lived in another part of the world, suddenly she was here and we spent the weekend drinking and laughing and talking so much talk. She has a totally infectious energy about her, at times a hyper-activity. It made me smile. She's like, I don't know, like some exotic creation, a force of charm. We've chatted online, written emails, commented on each other's blogs, but it was strange to actually meet.

I met her outside the local train station. I had been going to ask if hug or handshake was preferable to get through any awkwardness, but as soon as we spotted each other there was no need to ask. We just hugged like the friends we are. Smiles and so good to finally meet you. But kind of a nervousness too. We'd been so relaxed online - what was this going to be like? We already know each other so although meeting for the first time, there wasn't really much getting-to-know-you talk to be made.

Right now, because I'm a moody fucker, I'm feeling a familiar melancholy and wondering if a friendship starts online, should it stay online? Are you risking a perfect little thing by meeting in real life?

I don't know the answer to that. I'm not sure. On one hand I think if it's a perfect friendship online, leave it that way. Maybe they have personal habits that will annoy you. Maybe they have a laugh that grates. Maybe they just won't be as perfect in real life as they are online.

Can't say any of the above applies in this case. I was charmed and captivated and drank in the energy and had a great time. The Dreaded One was tired after work on Saturday night so my cyberfriend and I went out for a few hours of dancing and drinking and oh man, what an all round totally fucking enjoyable night. Sooo many laughs. As nights out go, it couldn't have been much better. Outside the club for some fresh air, we saw the funniest fight between two grown men you could possibly imagine seeing. One guy throws his jacket down in blind rage and starts shouting at his ill-suited mate, "Come on then! Let's finish this now! Let's get it over with now!"

The other guy walks away, so the enraged guy starts flapping his arms about as he kind of boings up and down on the spot in a fit of retarded star jumps. Seriously. It was hilarious. Onlookers everywhere start laughing. But this guy is serious. He wants to sort this thing out now.

They move off down the street but have our attention, interrupting more of our getting-to-know-you chat (there is quite a lot to be had after all). So we decide to cruise past to find out what the fight is about. They're just by that dandelion fountain (El Alamein fountain?), and when we get there there's a crowd of amused onlookers sitting on the edge of the fountain. People across the road have also stopped to watch, because this guy's doing this ridiculous jumping tantrum again. We take our seats and share smiles with those around us. We take photos and some video footage. They scream at each other with faces so close they could kiss. I've already made my prediction that not a single punch will be thrown, and I'm right. You can just tell. All threat and bluster and very real anger, but they won't hit each other. More jumping. A finger poke. It's the best street theatre.

Police arrive and it just gets funnier. They move apart. They call it quits. They come back in for more, and on it goes. One guy phones someone and tries to hand the phone to one of the cops. What is this? He's called someone to prove to the cop that the other guy started it? The cop doesn't want to take the phone. The guy tries to make the cop take the phone. But the cop really really doesn't want to take the phone. The really cranky guy has so much pent-up rage that there is blood; he's bitten his tongue and there is blood. But we crack up each time he does his jumping tanty. Which he does at totally random moments. Fucking hilarious. Up and down... flapflapflapboing boing boing. Or... FLAPFLAPFLAPBOINGBOINGBOING!!!

Oh yeah - adding to the surreal vibe of it all, a busker with a life-sized reindeer head with antlers and (I think) glowing red eyes has stopped right next to the fight to watch what's going on. Reindeer doesn't look very impressed by what's going on before his glowing red eyes. He's just all, "Hrrrmph. Whatevs."

We go back to the club and we dance and meet friends, then make our way home. My friend is amazed at the mess Kings Cross is at 4am on a Sunday, and I am too. Been ages since I was there. She takes photos of the street carnage, and we wander in awe.

We get a cab. The cabbie is a cheerful motormouth and I'm already starting to be amused. I make secret chatterbox gestures with my hands. The guy finally shuts up when his phone rings.

"Hello? Yes? I'm sorry, I can't talk now - I have customers in my car. I'll call you back later."

Silence for a few moments. Then I lean forward a little and ask, "So who was that?"

Like I've got a right to know. But I've dead panned it and my new real life cyberfriend doubles over in silent laughter at the arrogance of the question, at the deadpan conversational tone. And I start to laugh silently too.

"Oh just another cab driver," the cabbie replies earnestly, like it's perfectly normal for me to want to know who it was, like I'm perfectly entitled to know.

"Oh right. What did they want?"

My friend has lost it completely by now. I don't know if I'm conveying it here, but there and then it was the funniest thing ever. We're trying not to look at each other or make any noise, but we are totally losing it with suppressed laughter.

"He just wanted to chat about things," the cabbie says with a shrug.

Silence.

"Why don't you call him back? See what he wants. We don't mind."

Somehow I've managed to keep the laughter at bay and I just sound like the most sincere fucker you could hope to talk to. Like, you know, call him back, it might be important.

It's exquisite, forbidden laughter. We don't make any noise... not very much noise, but we are pissing ourselves. My stomach is hurting and I am sweating with the effort of keeping it in. It's all just too funny.

Anyway. Anyway.

So anyway. Yesterday, lunch and wine and laughs as The Dreaded One, cyber friend and I head out to lunch. Talk long into the night. Everything about her is endearing and charming and just generally pretty damned lovely. Mannerisms that could be potentially annoying just aren't. She's just this incredibly unique creation that I feel like I could hang out with forever. She just feels like a really good friend whose company I enjoy and who I care about a lot. It's a nice, stable feeling, because in the end it's been over a year now of getting to know each other, just not in real life.

But is it all just the novelty of someone new?

She's gone now, and I'm feeling that melancholy. I can still hear her voice. I keep expecting her to come bouncing into the room (she does bounce). I miss her but I'm glad she's heading out somewhere with friends to cause trouble. I think the melancholy is just the getting back to reality after a pretty cool weekend. A very fucking nice weekend indeed.

And I'm just left wondering, with no answer, is it better to leave it all online? If that's the nature of the thing, should that be the nature of the thing?

I'm wondering this as I sit by myself smiling at the weekend just gone and eating more Tim Tams than I should.

Update: I wrote this a couple of hours ago during which the new friend texted me to say what a great time she had. I think that answers my question, actually. If shit is meant to be it's meant to be. A reasonably excellent time was had. It was real life and it was good and I appreciate every fun moment I had. So much fun. I love this kind of stuff.

15 comments:

Thaydra said...

Sounds as though this was one of those friends that you were meant to actually meet face to face. You can't have good times quite that exquisite over the internet!

Dina said...

I worried a lot about meeting online friends, but I had such positive experiences in Australia. No one disappointed me.

I think the weirdest thing is the transition of going back to being online friends.

It's like you've said good-bye and miss them terribly. But in a way, that's silly because you still talk to them on a regular basis.

Ben said...

Yeah, that really does sound like a good weekend! I really don't seem to do stuff like that anymore, but I know exactly those sorts of nights - stuff you feel just can't express enough how great it was when you try to tell others. Glad you had a good time. I'm quite jealous :)

Pure Gin! said...

wow, what fun. I love nights that just turn out like that.

meva said...

That's the kind of weekend I'd love to happen if I met up with cyberfriends. I'm just terribly afraid that it would be a weekend of awkward silences and wanting to escape.

xx

Y said...

I think it's a good thing. Most of the (few) people I've met up with in the past, I'm still good friends with now. I think meeting up kind of cements the friendship, especially when you're both genuine people in real life (which I know you are), not just some online persona.

Lee said...

I think you're right, Thaydra (hello, btw, will pop over to yours shortly). Over time little things that we had in common became apparent, but you still worry that a face to face encounter might not live up to expectation. Or hope, rather than expectation. Not so in this case.

Hey Dina. Glad you had (another) good Australian experience. and yeah, we'll probably be in contact on a regular basis when she's gone. But she's in the country for at least another year (different city but not too far away), so hopefully we'll enjoy face to face silliness again.

Ben, it was such a good weekend. Music, dancing, drinking, laughing, reindeer heads with glowing eyes... what more could you ask for?

Me too, Gin. It was like the whole night was custom designed to amuse me. So many other little moments of amusingnessness happened too.

Are you back, Meva? Will check soon. And no, there weren't very many awkward silences over the weekend. Although the silent laughing in the cab could have been awkward if either of us had snorted.

You're probably right, Y. I think in this case it's just that, I dunno. I dunno. She was flat words on a screen for so long and suddenly here she was and it was just so much fun. Happy it went that way.

Lee said...

Also, in re-reading I did kind of gush in this post in parts. It's tempting to tone it down, but fuck it. Outwardly I don't appear to be an enthusiastic person but when I like stuff, I really like stuff. Past few days were really sweet and could quite easily have never happened.

Kathryn said...

That was a fantastic week. Thanks for everything.

Anonymous said...

I know that melancholy...........I know that exact feeling

I think if you are who you are online and so are they and you meet up then the only things that can make it bad are the things that usually make yr relationships bad

I wouldn't trade a single second of the time I've spent with online friends turned real just because I made it messy later.

Just as i wouldn't trade any of the good times I've had with face to face friends just because I made a mess of it later

Good things are hard to find - don't let happy afterglow make u doubt yourself. Not all good things end.......not that i should assume that that's what brought on your melancholy but I know when I get that melancholy that's what it is. Oh and don't ever stop gushing...yr ability to gush about stuff rocks.

Lee said...

Agreed, Kat. Was pretty fantastic. Like a hamburger when you have all these mouth-watering expectations and it could all go to shit but thank God the hamburger guy has remembered to put the beetroot on and it turns out to be the best hamburger ever. It's a nice feeling, that one. You're a good hamburger.

Another anonymous comment. What is going on?

For the record - I love gushing. I like those rare opportunities when I can give in and just go on and on about how much an album/movie/line of dialogue/human has affected me. I love it.

Boopy said...

That wasn't supposed to be anonymous i was just having a moment of internet dyslexia

Lee said...

I thought it might have been you, Ssim Poob.

I have brilliant people in my life. Thank you for being one of them. Catch up soon please?

Boopy said...

I'd love to promise we'll catch up soon but you know me and my rosters and our joyous dance and my assignments thrown in which take me forever coz i seem to have lost brain cells somewhere

hopefully soon though

I start 12hr shifts in i think 6-8wks then I will be a free woman - well, freeer......or maybe only mildly indentured instead of an unpaid slave

PS if you could please find my lost brain cells that might help

Lee said...

I sent some of my brain cells out to find your lost brain cells... but they got lost.