Monday, May 12, 2008

Blogger incognito

Yesterday, C and I walked to the Front Porch Cafe for a Mother's Day breakfast. As we walked along down Main Street, we passed a driveway with a sign that indicated a yard sale. I peered up the driveway to check out the sale and saw a nice looking couple walking down the driveway toward the sidewalk. The man gave me a big smile and said "Do I know you?"

People often remember me from court because I'm one of the few attorneys in the county without a receding hairline (oh, I hope they don't read this). But this friendly man looked far too content to be either an attorney or a criminal--so I was at a loss.

I smiled and said, "My name is Beth."

"Oh, yes, I read your blog and recognized you."

We laughed and had a fascinating few moments of acquaintance time. He is a historian with family roots in Dixfield and while he lives in another part of the state, he spends much time at our Historical Society. His companion is researching spool factories. Did you know spools were made entirely of white birch?

Don't you just love the human brain? There are no limits to journeys fueled by curiosity.

So, to new friend Peter--it was very nice to meet you and please stop in for tea sometime and tell me stories of the past.


Jayne said...

Oh geez. That would cause my tummy to lurch for some reason. Are you feeling a bit like Valerie Plame? :c) Isn't it funny how when you can put yourself out there to the extent you want to, it's OK, but it feels suddenly scary when someone says they "know" you by your blog? OK, I have goosebumps now...

Beth said...

Jayne, well maybe it could have been weird but it wasn't in this instance-he was really nice and actually had e-mailed me several months ago and told me he enjoyed reading my posts. So, while it was a surprise to be recognized, it was a pleasant one.

TheElementary said...

It's such small world- so he was from your neighbourhood but still, that's an example of how tiny the world is since you hadn't met him before and yet bumped into him!
I bet you felt just a bit famous after that ;)
A charming story. And it's good to know you have readers that don't comment- silent readers, so to speak :)

beckie said...

Beth, it is amazing the small world we live in. I sometimes wonder who reads our blogs, but like you I have felt no intended harm. And it is very tricky to share but not too much. What did C say? Was he impressed with your notoriety?:)

Beth said...

The Elementary, yes it's a small world and I think it is interesting that through blogging we find people with similar interests and broaden our friendship base.

Beckie, C enjoyed meeting him too. They were a very interesting couple with inquisitive minds, I'm glad that we got to meet them.

Thomas F. Ryan said...

Nice story about meeting one of your readers, Beth. I’m sure that will be happening more often as you continue to spin your stories.

I was used to that happening back in Newburyport, where I owned and operated a small newspaper. It was not unusual for everyone to know me, even though I didn’t know them. It was nice being read, but at the same time it was so intense in Newburyport I needed a break from it. That’s where the mountains came in.

Atticus and I started hiking three years ago and one of the advantages was the way the forest swallowed us whole and left us anonymous. Then I started posting trail reports and eventually started blogging. By the end of the first year there was no more being faceless, especially with my distinctive little hiking partner. People recognize him from the start, even more so now these days.

But the first time someone recognized us on the trail I felt a little violated. The fellow was enthusiastic and shouted, “Oooh, that’s Atticus! You must be Tom!” And he went on and on.

I’m not sure why I did it, I guess I just wanted to be nameless a little longer, but I said, “What did you call him?”


“No, his name is Sparky.”

“You’re not Tom…Tom and Atticus?” He was crestfallen.

“No. Mike and Sparky.”

He then went on to tell me more than I thought anyone could possibly know about Tom and Atticus.

The first time it happens, there’s a tendency to feel great that someone…anyone! reading what we have to write, but it’s also strange and reveals how small the world is and made even smaller by the written word and the Internet.

Ruth said...

I don't worry about remaining anonymous any more. Having readers in my community keeps me honest. Are you that lady in the picture?

Beth said...

Tom, great story--give Sparky a pat for me.

Ruth, yes that's me pretending to be mysterious.

Kathiesbirds said...

Well, Beth, how awesome to meet a blogging friend! Perhaps someday I will stroll down your street and we can have tea and a chat and maybe a walk in the woods! You'll recognize me, I'll be the one in a green hat with binoculars looking up in the trees! BTW, love the photo!

Kathiesbirds said...

Beth, since reading this post and with encoragement from my younger brother who got me into Blogging, I have come out from behind the birds to show my face to the world. Hope you like it!