Friday, February 4, 2011
You'd get to chatting with someone on the internet - via email, IM or some other old-fashioned mode of communication. The person is nice. You suggest getting together in person for coffee. Your family is horrified. "Make sure you meet in a public place! I mean, you never know! This person could be an axe murderer!" No. I have no clue why someone would believe that people on the internet were supposed to be more predisposed to violent crime than, say, that creepy guy who lives at the end of your block. Obviously, what with the Craigslist murders and whatnot, there are complete nutjobs out there in the world determined to do damage anywhere, anyway possible. But that was true long before the internet came along. So.
The amusing aside is this. I'm a member of an international cat fancier's loop called Feline-L. The people on the list are some of the most helpful, friendly and caring people you'd ever care to know. Most of us have never met in person. So, one year, a group of Feliners decided to have a Gather. A location was found, hotel secured, and Feliners from all over the US and Canada descended. We emailed all sorts of jokes about axe murderers met over the internet.
The Gathering went off beautifully. People met, mingled, chatted, and ate Kitty Litter Cake. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Kitty-Litter-Cake/Detail.aspx. For those of us who couldn't make the actual physical event, the participants set a time and sent a URL for a webcam. They'd group up and wave to those of us watching. At the appointed time, many of us sat at our computers, glued to the screen as people we hadn't yet met began assembling in front of the camera. Finally, there they all were. And was that . . ? Yes, indeed. It was. An axe. One of the women had brought it, because, as she said, "No Gathering of Internet Axe Murderers would have been complete without the axe". Okay. The story loses something in the telling. It was funny. You'll just have to trust me. Because of course I'm on the internet and you can believe everything you read here.