A Meeting in the Middle of Nowhere

Last night I got to meet June.  June is one of those people that I instantly connected with when I discovered her blog (actually, she discovered mine, if I’m going to be historically accurate), and hers is still one of my very favorite blogs to read.  We’ve been friends for well over two years, even though I’m sure it pains her to read my blog and not be able to correct my grammar and punctuation errors.

When I heard that she was moving from L.A. to North Carolina, I was determined that we would get to meet face-to-face eventually.  This trip to Virginia seemed like the perfect opportunity, and we decided to meet halfway last night.

For those of you who don’t live around here, halfway between Greensboro and Roanoke is the Middle of Nowhere.  Of course, if you live in Martinsville, I’m sure it’s lovely.  It’s me, not you.

We decided on a coffee shop in Martinsville as our meeting point, at the recommendation of June’s co-worker, but the only glitch was that it closes at 8pm and June doesn’t get off work till 5pm, and we each had over an hour to drive.  You do the math.

I said to my mom, “Surely there is something in Martinsville open later than 8pm on a Friday night.”

My mom raised an eyebrow and told me she wouldn’t be so sure.

Seriously?  I mean, I’d heard of Martinsville when I was growing up here.  I know it’s not a booming metropolis, but 8pm?  On a Friday?  SERIOUSLY?

June and I decided that we would start out at the coffee shop and have faith that someone would be able to recommend another place to go, so I set out after dinner on the road to Nowhere.  I asked several people how long it would take, and everyone said offhandedly, “Oh, an hour.”

Well.

As I hurtled down the hilly, windy Route 220, I soon realized it was going to be more like an hour and 20 minutes.  And did I mention that I got off to a bit of a late start?  I had June’s cell phone number in an email, but I knew I’d be taking my life into my own hands if I tried to manipulate my blackberry while driving those roads so I kept driving, silently willing the car to get to Martinsville on time somehow.

Finally I decided I had to get word to June because what if she thought I wasn’t coming?  And she left without me?  And I drove all this way for nothing?  And I didn’t get to meet June??  So I waited until there were no other cars on the road (which was not long because, did I mention, I was in the middle of NOWHERE?) and I reached for my blackberry and located the email and tried to click on the phone number, but it didn’t take.

Dang.

So then I looked at the phone number and tried to memorize it.  I said it out loud several times and then I carefully dialed, one hand on the steering wheel, one hand on my blackberry, feeling along as I didn’t dare take my eyes off the road.  I pushed SEND and the call went…

Nowhere.

Are you sensing a theme?

I was becoming increasingly nervous that June would think I stood her up.  Then it occurred to me that a text message may go through when I hit the next cell tower, so once again, using the braille method, I managed to place a text to the number I’d already dialed.  I typed in something brief like “still coming” because texting while driving isn’t exactly safe.  Or legal.

Within two minutes I heard the familiar ring tone that signaled a text had come through, and I saw that June had not given up on me so I kept plugging along.  Soon I got off the highway.  I expected that civilization (i.e. Martinsville) would suddenly appear but all I saw was more open road.  I drove and drove and drove.

FINALLY, I approached the little town of Martinsville.  I drove down the main drag, looking for a coffee shop, but it wasn’t looking very hopeful.  I was beginning to wonder if I had the right directions when suddenly, on the sidewalk in front of one of the storefronts, I saw a familiar figure holding a coffee cup.  I’d have know her hair anywhere.  I waved frantically, and she saw me and hopped in.

And y’all.  It was like we’d been friends forever.  Which, in blog years, we sort of have.  But it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to meet someone face-to-face that you have only ever known online.  There wasn’t a moment’s silence from the time she got in my car until I let her out three hours later.

June told everyone we came in contact with that we were friends online meeting for the first time.  Amazingly, no one asked us if we were worried about the other one being an ax murderer.  I guess it’s getting pretty commonplace these days.

We chatted in the coffee shop for about an hour, and when it came time to move on to another venue, we located a friendly employee and asked for a suggestion.

She pondered a moment and said, “Well, there’s a bar downstairs.”

After a pause, June voiced what we both were thinking, “Will we get killed?”

Okay, I had been thinking of something more along the lines of, “Will we get hit on by some drunk redneck wearing a wife beater?”  But her question was close enough.

The friendly barista actually paused to think on that one, much to our amusement.  Then she said, “Or there’s an Applebees — ”

We both pounced on that suggestion.  “Applebees!  Perfect!”

We actually ended up at Texas Roadhouse because, as I said to June, “I think they have peanuts.”  And they did.

Our waitress was kind enough to take a picture of us, as we had of course explained to her as well as anyone else who would listen that we were bloggers meeting for the first time in real life.  But unfortunately she wasn’t too good with the camera, and we had to resort to the old self portrait.

mendcr

Finally we decided it was time to go our separate ways, and so we did.  The End.

Of course her post is 10 times funnier than mine, so go read it.  It’s right here.