Look at all these beautiful faces. I'm about a month in, and things are going swell. 15 out of a potential 176 ( it's a moving target since I get the odd new follower so this may well turn into some Sisyphean task but what isn't, you know?). That's not too bad going. I mean, it's not super efficient but whatever, give me a break.
Only 3 have been total strangers so far. I think that's where the real guts of the experiment is. Of the rest, some are very dear friends, some are people I've met just once or twice. All of them have been delightful. Honestly, not one boring chat. I suppose the very nature of trying to meet strangers from the internet for no reason other than to say hello and have a chat gives the whole meeting an unusual frisson.
The weirdness is a shame. I feel like I'm already building up to some grand conclusion in my head and it makes me a little sad. The fact that framing this whole thing as a project is the only way to make meeting people seem slightly less weird. If you've just met someone once, or if you only know of them through twitter, then asking them to go for a drink seems inherently odd (unless you have some kind of ulterior romantic motive). The immediate reaction from the somebody who isn't really your friend is, 'Why?' As though the act of just sitting and talking and being with other humans isn't enough. We're all so proactive trying to build lives and careers and I don't have time and who is that guy again? We lose track of why we're doing the very... I'm getting ahead of myself.
Of the fifteen so far, seven of them were from outside Glasgow, where I live. Two of them live in Hong Kong so I got lucky that they were home visiting because I don't have Hong Kong ticket money. I do have Edinburgh money though, and I took the first trip solely for the purpose of meet and tweet. Sadly, I chose the absolute worst day to travel. Rugby. My train from Glasgow to Edinburgh was the busiest train I've ever been on in my life. I spent the 45 minute journey belly to belly with a man twice my age, breathing into one another's mouths. It was so awkward I even tried to feign sleep. I don't think he bought it.
It's not all been easy going. Two weeks after starting, I wrote the following in my notes:
I hate this. I've created my own albatross. I don't have time for this. Will everyone will respect me less if I just quit (pro tip: NOBODY CARES) but I care, or I should care. Just keep going. It's a subquest. A way to farm xp. Increase your charm.
This was after I'd created a spreadsheet (five columns - twitter ID, date contacted, date chased, possible date, date met) and contacted about ten people who never got back to me. I didn't give up. I used a videogame analogy to convince myself not to stress about it. Also, what the hell am I even giving up? It's just meeting people. It's easy and it's brilliant and I encourage everyone to do the same.
I'll do an update after the next fifteen. Special thanks to the following:
@bennywebb, @jendavies, @cporteus, @raphski, @_insomnius_, @tightlinebar, @alabamaslim, @ukaser, @hot_piping, @guyphenix, @gavininglis, @keyeri, @verdandiweaves, @scottama, @billyrmagician