(1999/04/29) - For only the second time, I met someone in person on Monday that I initially met on the Internet back in... January (I think). We exchanged a few letters, and then I didn't hear from her for awhile... until a few weeks ago, when after a few more letters, we decided to meet. We met in Shinjuku, and had a good time talking about one thing and another, as two people are wont to do (and is no big deal), but a couple of aspects to the meeting are begging comment.
One is the situation of either meeting someone that you feel you know, who doesn't actually know you very well (or at all), or meeting someone who seems to know you, even though you don't know nearly as much about them. I get this feeling from time to time with some of the people I send the newsletter to, when they'll suddenly ask me about something that I wrote. My first reaction is often "Why do you know that? I didn't tell you!"... and then it sinks in that I wrote about it.... On Monday I felt that in a stronger way, as it was the first time for us to meet. True, we've exchanged letters, but the volume has been heavy on my side with the inclusion of the newsletters, so she knew much more about me than I about her.
It's quite an interesting feeling - a feeling of both wonder and relief. Wonder at how someone you've never met can already know you, and relief at not having to explain yourself. Just at the point where you would usually be feeling either a growing familiarity or a growing discomfort, you realize that the person in front of you already knows... and wouldn't be there if it were a complete mismatch... which leads me to the other thing I want to write about.
I asked her how the reality of me sitting there in front of her compared to the mental picture she had before meeting me, and her answer was perceptive... and enlightening. She said that from reading the newsletter, she had pictured me as being an observer of the places I visit without being a part of them... more of a moody loner than I seemed to be in person.
"Ah... there it is!" thought I. From what some of my e-mail pals write, I get the feeling at times that I'm coming across as being an unhappy loner. Like everyone, I have my good and bad moments, but I'm not fundamentally unhappy.., just frustrated at times, and at those times, I often write about the experience, so....
The sense of not being a part of things... when I go out on one of my expeditions - while I'm standing somewhere and writing about my surroundings, certainly I am not of the place at the moment, not in an active sense in any case. If I were, then I wouldn't have time for writing! In any case, from someone who spent a couple of non-electronic hours with me, I'm not as "lost and alone" as I seem to be sometimes on the electronic screen.
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon