Three Stories about the Internet:
1) Last week, I left work, and drove an hour and a half to have dinner. I wasn’t going to some press event, or to dine at a temple of gastronomy. I just had dinner with four women I’ve been friends with for nearly ten years, their respective husbands and children. I had only met three of them a handful of times, and one not at all. Our relationship is carried out on the internet, and when we met (back when we were all planning our weddings, of all things!), the internet was the province of strangers and freaks. And yet, when we are together, we are old friends. Our children play together automatically. ThThe meal wasn’t about the food. But it was an occasion to gather. Sharing a meal with these people feels as natural as breathing.
2) I went to Blogher 2011 this past weekend. I learned a few things at a few sessions, I went to a few parties, I met a few PR people, and left my card with a few brands I might be interested in working with. But the highlight of the weekend, for me, was a fabulous dinner I shared with four other women I met on the internet. Over a delicious, creative and epic meal at J Six restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp District, where the food was fantastic and the service pitch perfect (all the photos in this post are from that meal), we passed plates, shared tastes and stopped talking only long enough to eat and share the food. Some of them were old friends, some new. I met all of these women on the internet. And now we’ve shared a meal, and we are fast friends forever.
3) When I returned from Blogher, I was shocked and saddened by the news that a fellow food blogger lost her husband, unexpectedly, over the weekend. I’ve only “met” Jennie once, but we are virtual Twitter neighbors, sharing dinner plans and swapping wishful invitations to meals going on 3,000 miles away. My heart is aching and I find myself in frequent tears for the pain of someone I know “only” on the internet.
I am consistently amazed by the community created on the internet, the actual, tangible connections forged over the amorphous streams of data. I love the way food creates friendship — to share a meal with someone is to share a strong bond. And whether those meals are shared virtually, through words or pictures or casual conversations carried on in 140 characters, or personally, over a communal table, with clinking glasses and sighs of appreciation, the bond is still there. Thank you for sharing with me, and for being part of this community.
Disclosure: We were comped for part of our meal at JSix. We made the reservations and ate the meal without knowing about the comp, and were not asked to provide publicity for the restaurant. However, our meal was really great, the service was wonderful, and we left a big tip.