The main purpose of my vacation last week was refresh and recharge my batteries. I was becoming increasingly burned out from work/writing/chatting/blogging/the real world, and I needed both some serious alone time with the wife and some serious down time for myself.
The alone time with the wife worked out quite well for me. The down time worked out quite well too, as I decided to meet up with one of my online friends from Indiana, PaisleyPosey.
Now I know what you must be thinking, and you're right, the recommended rule of thumb is not to meet up with someone from the CyberWorld in your real world. Too many complex issues can arise from it, and the results can be disappointing, or worse.
In this case, Paisley and I had been Cyber buddies for the better part of 19 months (that's February '07) and had gotten to know each other extremely well during that time frame. Originally we had first met on a thread in Topix that was about stalkers/abusive ex's. From that initial thread, we began to move on to other threads of common interest and soon became fast friends.
After a few rough patches in the fall, we began corresponding via the e-mail, which soon moved on to communicating by land-line. By the time our one year anniversary of being on Topix rolled around, we had a very solid friendship.
Fast forward to the late spring/early summer. I had decided that this year would be the year that I would take a real vacation. I had also decided that I would take a driving vacation as well. And since I needed a destination, what better place to visit than Indiana.
So with that in mind, and knowing what Paisley did for a living and when her slow months were, I had broached the subject of visiting with her. Suffice to say, she was all for it. So plans were made on my end to schedule time off from work, and plans were made on hers. But as the saying goes, the best laid plans can always go astray, and there was no exception here. She had a wedding to attend to in FL during the early part of the week (which went off without a hitch and she made it back to Indiana well ahead of the inclement weather that hit the area).
So being the resourceful person that I am, I turned what would have been about three days of driving, into six days of an actual vacation. I hit two museums, a zoo and explored the Ohio countryside, before finally hooking up with Paisley and her husband on the 21st.
The next two days, were without a doubt, the best two days I've ever spent visiting someone. I am by nature, a private person, but Paisley and her husband made me and my wife feel like one of the family. She and her husband were the gracious hosts during our stay. Both are very glib, articulate and multi-faceted individuals, and were a blast to get to know more thoroughly.
In person, she is every bit the warm, compassionate, witty and charming individual that you see in the chat rooms on Topix. An excellent conversationalist, we even had a pleasant debate on whether or not you really needed to be saved in order to get to Heaven (she believes, I don't).
In any event, my wife felt extremely comfortable and very much at ease with Paisely. Now normally, my wife can be a bit stand offish when it comes to meeting new people that are connected with me in some particular way. But Paisely was very much able to make my wife feel what I previously mentioned, and to me, that is an excellent sign of being a very good friend.
Additionally, being the knowledgeable host that she was, she was able to give us a couple of suggestions of things to do and places to go, one of which was the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Excellent hands on place to go if you have children, or even if you don't have children.
To sum it up, meeting one of my Cyber World friends, was truly one of the best things I've done to brighten up my year. I wound up developing a better appreciation for my friend, and I would like to think that she did as well with me. And she managed to gain a brand new friend with my wife.
Paisley is one very special individual. If you ever get a chance to meet her in the chat rooms, give her a big fat hello and spend a few minutes chatting with her. Chances are, you'll learn something new and interesting about the world around you.