After much humming and hah-ing, and checking of schedules, we decided on Tuesday afternoon, 1 pm, at A Certain Cafe In Town.
I never ordinarily go to That Certain Cafe because I don't like it, but agreed anyway because I really like Birdie.
I arrived a couple of minutes early, and Birdie wasn't there yet, but while looking around the Cafe, I saw a child I recognised.
And a split second later, I saw her mother.
And then the mother noticed me, and we stared at one another with our mouths hanging open for several long seconds before the OMGs! began.
See, I have 'known' The Divine Miss M for YEARS -- on-line. We'd never met in real life, before, and actually live hundreds of kilometres apart.
Neither of us could get over meeting like that, in a place I never go to, a place she decided to eat in just on the spur of the moment.
And you know what was really weird? I felt like we really already knew each other.
Some people just don't 'get' on-line friendships, how you can be friends through a screen and a keyboard. They argue that a person can present themselves entirely differently through a strictly on-line persona, and I guess they're right.
Because I think that most of the time, we eventually pick up on a false vibe. You just 'click' with some people, and you sometimes don't with others, just like in real life; and every now and again, you will 'meet' someone on-line who just.. isn't.... quite right. Hard to put your finger on why, it's just a feeling.
Experts tell us that words comprise only about 7% of communication between people, and that's why it's so easy to misunderstand someone on-line, why we have to be so careful in the way we present ourselves and our opinions.
But after a while, you start to realise that there's a lot to learn by reading between the lines, or looking for what is UNsaid; by allowing for context and also previous experience of this persons' words and thoughts, you can build a picture of who they are.
And for me, The Divine Miss M was EXACTLY the same IRL. Even her voice seemed familiar, though I'd never heard it before. She was just the way I had pictured her. And so were her little girl and her husband.
So how do you feel about meeting an on-line friend?
I certainly wouldn't advocate throwing caution to the wind and giving out your street address to someone you'd only just met, but when you've 'known' someone for years, do you trust your own judgement when it comes to net relationships?