Saturday, October 18, 2008

When Worlds Collide

I'm quiet you know
You make a first impression
I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide

-- Howie Day, "Collide", Stop the World Now

Today is the day... the gathering of a bunch of bloggers from points almost everywhere. I have been looking forward to this day, as the afternoon passes I find myself in a state of mild anxiety.

We all have our social circles. We start out within the context of a family, accumulate friends throughout our years of education, oftentimes developing multiple layers depending on how far we go in our studies. Then come professional relationships and in-laws. Usually these circles have minimal points of intersection, and sometimes it is surreal when they do.

Perhaps the best of example of that in my own life was my wedding in April of 1996. I had just left graduate school four months prior, and several of my classmates were still at the university, which was a four-hour drive away. The friends from undergrad days were mobile enough still to make the trip. Some of my high school friends were still living in or around The Small Town.

So at the wedding and reception, there was this scene where people I had known at all stages of my life were all in one place. It was interesting to make the introductions, and I knew that this level of interconnection would never take place again in my lifetime.

After the reception, I'm told, several of my friends got together and met up for coffee at the 24-hour restaurant near the interstate to talk into the wee hours. They said that of all the people in the group of friends I associated with back in high school, I was probably the only person in that group who could get them all together under one roof because not everyone had the same level of friendliness to one another.

In some sense, I was the social Switzerland of my youth. And in my darker emotional moments, I have wondered if I wouldn't be like the character who killed himself The Big Chill if I were to pass on at a premature age... the one person who wasn't super close to anyone, perhaps too hard to figure out.

So tonight there will be a gathering of as many as 14 people, and that count includes bloggers and spouses. They will be descending upon my world. Not just my metro area, but my world. I work about 1/3 of a mile from the meeting place. The few times I drive to work, I usually park in the cheap lot just a hop skip and a jump from there. I walk past the restaurant on the way to my office, a workplace where the goal is to build a better blogging platform. Blogging sustained my sanity at times, and now it sustains my livelihood.

Some of these bloggers I have followed regularly. Others not so much so, but I know of their general story. With a couple exceptions, I have never seen their faces, but I know very intimate aspects of their lives. It's as if I inhabit a parallel universe with them, and now I must interact with them in this one. Perhaps that is what is so unsettling, yet at the same time, so exciting.

I've been a little neurotic the past few days, and thankfully my workload hasn't been as heavy. The messy state of my house, both inside and out has been bothering me, and although it's a snowball's chance in hell that any visitors to the city might pay me a visit, I can't go to this gathering feeling good about myself with everything at home in such disarray.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I had been neglectful of the upkeep of my yard, and last weekend, I finally got an anonymous hate letter in my mailbox threatening to report me to the county board of health. I took off work half an hour early to get yardwork done before sunset. I also spent about an hour this morning finishing up that work.

My back deck still needs some major work, but I've made peace with that now. Early next week, I will be calling someone to clean out my gutters and remove the zoysia that is creeping out into the street and blocking some storm sewer drains. I will also have them haul out a huge pile of branches and clippings that have been accumulating in my back yard.

I also fretted over what to wear to the occasion. I have work clothes, and clothes to bum around in, but I have been sorely lacking in casual clothes, so I forced myself to head out to Kohl's to buy myself some new shirts.

After I finish this post, I'm going to try to wrap up straightening up in the kitchen, the dining area, and the family room. That should pretty much be about the time I need to head out.

So yeah, it's a lot of prepping for nothing, but it will be worth it all if my mind has less noise to deal with.
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