November 05, 2007

Kidnapped

Signal

I had intended to go to every session of the academic conference, even though the panels were held in hotel rooms without windows or natural light. The sessions went from 8 a.m. until about 10 p.m. at night, and the conference program included things to do every moment of the day, even going so far as to instruct us to be awake at 2 a.m. to change our clocks. I had intended to follow that rigorous schedule for three days. I had intended to spend every break in the lobby of the hotel, mingling with suit-wearing coffee-drinking academic folks. I had even brought a blazer.

I was going to behave this time like a serious academic.

But on Friday morning, a station wagon pulled up in front of the hotel. I had stepped outside for just a moment, just to long enough to notice that the sun was shining and the sky was the kind of deep blue that happens only in the fall. I fully intended to go right back to yet another session on the Critique of the Ambiguity of the Convergence of Cybernetics as Cultural Symbols and the Subversion of Self in the Spatial Reframing of the Embodied Notion of the Pathological Immanence or Operative Aftereffects of the Ways in Which Mice Code Reality.

But I was no match for the occupants of the station wagon, a tiny woman and her two huge furry attack dogs, who smothered me with hugs and forced me to spend the afternoon playing along the shore in the bright sun and salty air.

I've long wanted to meet Songbird; it seems like we've been blogging friends forever. She's just what I imagined; warm, soft-spoken, quick to laugh, full of interesting stories and compassionate responses. We had a most wonderful afternoon, beginning with lunch in a cute cafe that served vegetarian sandwiches. She gave me a tour of City by the Sea, telling me all kinds of historical tidbits and anecdotes about the landmarks we were passing. We walked along a promenade and played with the dogs on a beach that smelled wonderfully of seaweed and salt water.

And of course, we talked pretty much non-stop, chatting happily about our kids, our husbands, our blogs, and all of the kinds of things old friends discuss. Songbird kept patting me, as if to see if I was real, which is exactly what I do when I meet a blogger. We'd hug each other and say ridiculous things like, "Oh, your hair smells nice." There's just something about finally meeting a friend in person! I was quite jealous of how thick and curly her hair was; I think if she grew it long, she would look very much like my Shaggy Hair Boy.

The only real surprise about the meetup were the two dogs. I'd seen photos of them, and I thought I knew what they looked like. But they were both way bigger than I thought. They are seriously huge dogs and just unbelievably furry and friendly.

The time went by quickly. I kept saying things like, "I really should get back to the conf— oh, stop here! Let's take photos! Can you take me to a lighthouse?"

By the time we drove back to my hotel, the two big furry dogs were flopped down in the back of the vehicle, exhausted from running about in the sunshine and salty air. I myself felt saturated with sunshine and talk. The November wind on the shore had swept the stale hotel air out of my brain. As Songbird and I hugged goodbye, we were both already planning what kinds of things we might do the next time we get together.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Molly's blog says you took pictures of her - can't wait to see them!

kathy a. said...

that sounds so fun!

jo(e) said...

The rumor that I have naked photos of Molly is completely true.

But that's the another post ....

JM said...

I just spit milk on my computer after reading your faux panel title. Too freaking funny (and entirely true).

liz said...

I'm so jealous. And I would have totally blown off that faux panel too.

Songbird said...

I am a famous kidnapper, just to warn anyone else who comes my way.

YourFireAnt said...

I seem to remember a certain Jo(e) posting on her blog Oct. 21st: "Then I think, really, I'm going to have to take a break from all these nude photos......This blog is going to hell in a handbasket."

FA

jo(e) said...

FA: Don't believe everything you read.

Rana said...

Oh, the two of you are so cute together! Who took the picture - timer, passerby, or giant friendly dog?

jo(e) said...

Rana: Well, Giant Friendly Dog offered, but then she was very distracted by other dogs on the beach. So a young woman we were talking to took the shot instead. The young woman, in an odd coincidence, was walking a dog named after Snowstorm University.

Nadine said...

That lighthouse photo is spectacular. Every time I go there it is raining, which is beautiful in its own way...

jo(e) said...

Thanks, Nadine. When I took the photo, I kept thinking that the scene was familiar -- and then it occurred to me that it looked like the cover of an L.L. Bean catalog.

We did have a whole lot of rain and wind Saturday night, something leftover from a hurricane ....

Yankee T said...

Sounds like a terrific blogger meetup.

negativecapability said...

Oh man, I never made it to the beach. But I did have a lovely lunch, and without even a nude photo in exchange!

Molly said...

Wroo wroo! I blogged about the visit, too!
When are you coming back again?
Love,
Your friend,
Molly

ThirdCat said...

Can anyone really sit inside for three whole days with no windows?

Gorgeous photos.

Cathy said...

Who needs a stinkin' academic conference when there is a Songbird and her wroo wroos.

Patti said...

Nice! Songbird is way cool. So are you, Jo(e). I'm proud to be counted among those who know you from the back and from the front!

BeachMama said...

And how on earth can they expect you to stay in a conference when you are so close to so much beauty. Glad you got to meet Songbird and enjoy a beautiful afternoon together.

Ampersand said...

Wow. What a beautiful place. I'm so glad you were kidnapped by your blog friend.

Artist Friend said...

I had a great time at lunch with you and Negative Capability and our other two friends, except I ordered badly. I'm usually good at menus, and I knew better, but I was beyond tired. My brain was a coconut with a little thin juice sloshing around inside.
Lucky made it home happy and met his fate with an admirable, stoic arthropod grace.
Maine was cold and rainy at times, but I have warm memories of it already.

halloweenlover said...

Isn't Songbird lovely? How great that you got to meet her!

When are you coming to beantown?

Sarah Sometimes said...

gorgeous pics and sounds like a fun time. I can't believe you've been away and back again already....

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Oh how fun and what a great place to play! YAY!

My bother, Ba Gua, otherwise known as Akido Black Belt Man, lives near there. Sweet place to visit. And my sister-in-law, Wonderful Weaver and my niece, Potter Girl. It is one of the places I went on my leaf peeping tour every year. Back when I lived in Snowstorm City.

Poet Betsy Sholl lives there too. Now there's a sweet lady! Did you meet her while you were there (or any other time?)

Kathryn said...

Oh - my 2 transatlantic blogsisters in one place at the same time...Much envy...Why are none of your conferences ever in Enland, Jo(e)?
Missing you both x

jo(e) said...

Halloweenlover: Oh, I'll make it to Beantown eventually. So many wonderful bloggers clustered in one place ....

Mary: I don't think I've ever met Betsy Sholl, although I know who she is.

Kathryn: Oh, someday all three of us are going to have to get together. That would be so much fun!