How do I know Kathy? She's in Canada and I'm...well, I'm in the suburbs of Kansas City.
The Internet. We met nearly 8 years ago on a public forum--in a way that must be so familiar to Internet natives: you join a site and before you know it, you meet people who have similar points of view and interests. They have friends. Suddenly you have more Internet friends than you ever thought possible.
Then gradually you deem it safe to meet IRL. Some of your younger friends have done it...as long as you take precautions how dangerous can it be?
But the biggest worries are: will they like me in real life? Online we communicate in bursts. Sometimes one of us has a lengthy post, sometimes we PM each other. What if the conversation flags?
I remember how skittish we were about putting our faces up as avatars on the forum. But little by little as we were assured that it enhanced our relationships, we got bolder and bolder.
Online we have celebrated births and birthdays, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, weddings. We have grieved with one another, comforting as best we can when when one of us experiences illness and death.
It's both amazing and deeply wonderful (and I'm just a boomer, what do I know?) how deeply felt are our loyalties to one another.
I know very few people read this blog (must do something about that!), but I wanted to do my small part for promoting Kathy's book.