It’s happened just enough times to feel like a “thing”. Just enough times to be both still surprising but also …. something else.
It’s a novelty really.
I’m away from home. At an event of any sort. Someone walks up to me, a stranger. And says they know me from reading the blog. (I’m always in my hometown, guys – not like in some other state. I’m not that well read.)
Whenever this happens, it feels like I’m being secretly recorded for an episode of Punked or Candid Camera – two shows that by their mere mention age me instantly. (Just like the initials DVR. I used those initials in a conversation the other day. I had no idea what the letters stood for when I employed the DVR back then and I have no idea what they stand for now. As well as cassette tape. I mean, I didn’t use an actual cassette tape – what am I? A relic? I used the word cassette tape.)
When this anomaly actually occurs, I don’t entirely know what to say.
I immediately deflect. I say thank you.
I do feel legitimately grateful. And – surprised. Humbled. Sort of silly. A little out of my element.
Actually, I hear their words.
I immediately forget them.
Not because I’m struck on the head by a blunt object but because I can barely believe them. They just don’t seem real. They seem like they are about – someone else I guess.
How could the words be true about me?
I know who I am.
I know I type out words late at night when my children are asleep and I am not. When the dog is lying across the door to be certain I don’t go anywhere without him. When I’ve had a bad day. When I’m both hopeful and doubtful that anyone is reading these typed out messages to the world via my magical screen.
I am not inspiring.
I’m a Classic Mess.
I eat cinnamon rolls alone at 6 p.m.
I keep my face down and I avert my eyes on trips to the store when I just don’t know how to handle small talk.
Except when I don’t.
And then I stare with an intensity just sightly shy of rude and I ask awkward personal questions and I leave most social situations and conversations feeling a little unstable and questioning my mental capabilities. (Which is easy to question anyway.) (Also – can this be a blanket apology to all the people to whom I have said awkward sentences to upon first conversing with you. I’m thinking of you, Louisa – but I know there have been far too many others.)
This is what I do.
This is who I am.
Therefore, I am a little astonished/shy/shocked/pleased/unbelieving/flattered when someone says, “Hey, I kind of feel like I already know you.”
Which might be just their polite way of saying, “You share too much of what happens inside your own head.”
So – now you know.
That’s what Street Me is thinking.
But, Secret Later At Home Me also still really enjoys knowing that my words aren’t only reverberating back and forth in space and time, but that they occasionally actually land in someone’s lap and are tended to and cared for in a pretty beautiful way that matters a lot more to my soul than you might think it would.
We’re all a little fragile and funky like this – right?