I met Kelsey yesterday. In person.

I guess that’s kind of a big deal. I mean, as far as blog history goes, she’s pretty significant.

In terms of sheer commenting, I don’t have the stats handy but I suspect that she alone has everyone else combined beat.

In terms of seniority, she’s technically one of my oldest friends now. The first blog comment I can find from her is dated June 21st, 2006. Here’s a little excerpt from that, unedited of course:

i completely agree with everything i understand and i personaly am blone away at what you have to say i believe u r the most profound blog author that i have come across and all i have 2 say is wow 😉

Absolute poetry there. I’m especially partial to the winky face at the end. Just magical.

I vaguely remember how we met way back when. It was back when MSN Spaces were in their infancy, and at the time there was a little side toolbar which linked you to other random blogs. I was in the habit of clicking these from time to time because occasionally I’d come across someone interesting. That’s how I met Vicky, that’s how I met Andrew, and that’s how I met Kelsey. Evidently the title of her blog must have piqued my curiosity, and the content must have been interesting enough for me to comment on something. She commented back, and thus was a friendship formed.

I lost touch with just about everyone else I met in that way over the years. They all stopped commenting years ago. But Kelsey kept on going, and for a while my schedule of blog creation was largely centred around her; when she commented, that meant that the latest blog had achieved its purpose and it was time for a new one. That pattern kept up long enough for Facebook to become popular, and that gave us another mode of communication beyond blog comments. And although she doesn’t comment much anymore, and although we don’t chat as often as I’d like, we managed to stay in touch for seven and a half years without ever meeting face-to-face, and I think that’s pretty remarkable.

And then yesterday, we did. She happened to be in Toronto for an interior design convention, so I hopped on the train and headed back to The Centre of the Universe for the weekend. It was an interesting afternoon – she ended up being with six or so friends, and so we all went to dinner together. It was a little strange at times. Even though I was the local, I felt like the outsider because they were all clearly from a different world than I – a world of funky looking chairs and crazy light fixtures. I have difficulty stacking chairs, much less building and designing them. There wasn’t as much common ground between me and the group as I would have liked. I had to reach for conversation at some points, and probably sounded odd as a result. I felt like I had to make a good impression on everyone else, and that led to me acting disingenuously, and I don’t think that really endeared me to anyone.

Compounding the problem was the fact that the walk to the restaurant took longer than expected (which wasn’t really my fault – walking with a group of seven is decidedly slower than walking alone or in a small group).

And then I made a fool of myself at the Eaton Centre when I attempted to show the group the cool fountain show. We waited for 2-3 minutes with me repeating constantly “This is it. Any second now. Here we go.” AND THEN IT NEVER HAPPENED. I considered jumping from the third floor and ending it all out of shame, but thought better of it when I remembered that a Pickle Barrel dinner was nigh.

And I messed that up too. See, it never came up that Kelsey was a vegetarian before, and in recommending the Pickle Barrel for dinner I assured her that there were some good vegetarian options. I was thinking in particular of a legendary veggie burger that is apparently so delicious that non-vegetarians often consume it and rave.

But stupid Michael, that burger is at Fran’s, not the Pickel Barrel! And you knew that! Stupid, stupid. And then of course I had to look to my left and see her face looking at the menu, and it was the face of a vegetarian who doesn’t like their options but doesn’t want to say anything. Gah.

All of this isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy myself – I did. But it’s one of those things where I’d like a re-do. And we were supposed to meet again today but she ended up being busy. It’s understandable but it’s a shame because I don’t think I was at my best, and unlike other friends who I’d see again in a week or a month, it could well be seven years before we meet again. It would have been nice to meet up in a smaller group, or ideally one-on-one as that would have allowed for a proper catch up, but I understand that circumstances are what they were.

I don’t want to end this on a negative note, so I’ll end it on a different one:

I think what’s really interesting is that in addition to never meeting her face-to-face, I’d never even heard her voice before yesterday. All of our communication has been purely text-and-emoticon based. And just like a character in a book, I’d assigned a certain voice to her that I’d subconsciously read her messages in.

Weirdly enough, her actual voice wasn’t far off. Like, it was eerily close.

Here’s hoping we meet again before I’m 29!