Star-struck: Can I Have Your Autograph?

Yesterday was a rare treat for my wife and I as we were lucky enough to have lunch with Mary Anne a.k.a "The Stiletto Mom" (Photo: Ash & Mary Anne). To sit down with such a well-known name in the blogging community was the equivalent to unscrewing the cap off a pop bottle and winning a chance to meet a celebrity. And let me tell you, I thought she was classy from her blog, but she's even more so in person. Topics ranged from crazy kid antics and other big-time bloggers (Hi Deb!) to publishing books and BlogHer. (she convinced me to go next year.)

Poor Mary Anne, not only did she have to contend with the Houston humidity and near 100 degree heat, but she also discovered that I'm much more interesting on a blog than in person. Thankfully my wife was there to save the day. While they conversed, I tried not to appear too goofy.

In the nearly two years that I've been posting, I am continually amazed by the incredible people you come across that you might have never met otherwise. Listening to Mary Anne and my wife conversing, I kept thinking about how much the concept of community has changed because of blogging and social networking.

This reminded me of a moment while visiting my parents in PA last month. I'm a big local history enthusiast, and a new book just came out covering that of the small village (yes, it's technically a village) I grew up in. I brought the book for my family to go through, and there were so many people they knew, so many places that had changed, so many memories.

"Hey honey, do you remember so-and-so?" they would ask back and forth while turning the pages. Usually the reply would be, "Yeah, but I don't know what he's doing now," or "Well, they died a couple years ago from a _________."

These exchanges made me realize how localized communities were a generation earlier, confined within geographical areas and social circles. With all the people my parents mentioned, it seemed logical that, to some extent, those social circles would continue to dwindle into nothing. Things are so different today.

We can Twitter forever with people half a world away, or post Facebook status updates letting old boy/girlfriends from two decades ago know that we are currently cleaning the toilet. Flickr lets us share pictures of our vacation with friends when we could have only described this before. With our blogs, we can share funny stories about our crazy in-laws, or write more honest posts opening up to complete strangers about our innermost feelings. There's a great deal of good for us to be connected with others.

Yet, for all these bridges built by technology that allow us to extend our communities beyond localized borders, there's still one element that those past social circles have not replaced - face-to-face interaction. To sit across from a real person is still a special thing. Thanks Mary Anne.

* * * * * *

Mary Anne and my wife are going to kill me for posting these pictures, but I have no idea why. They are great, while I'm the one who looks like a whiny clown having a hot poker being shoved up my rear end. But whatever, I had to have proof that we actually met. You'd do the same if you ran into someone famous too.

PS. And speaking of the reach afforded by the Internet, check out the international perception of stay-at-home dads over at Sugar Milk. Both interesting and funny.

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