Stopping In A San Francisco Crosswalk, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:28am

I’m going to tell you all, go and start a blog right now. Yes, right now. Write for one year. Post your picture. Write for another year, post more pictures in outfits of varying appeal. Natter on, experiment, evolve.

Then one warm noon in San Francisco, decide to go grab lunch around the corner. Ask two people on your team if they’d like to come. They’ll say no. Run out yourself. Leave your jacket behind because you don’t want to overheat.

Feel the sun. Realize you’re wearing black pants on a hot day. Resolve to do better in the warm weather uniform quest.

Cross the street. Notice a woman’s gray shoes as she approaches you in the crosswalk. Peer at them, just a bit, they’re unusual, and interesting. Hear a voice, “I know you.” Look up. See a smiling face. “I read your blog,” says the gray shoe owner. “I’m rb.”

Smile broadly. First time for everything.

I’d never been recognized by a reader before and I saw rb’s shoes first. Isn’t that great? If you’re a regular commenter, you’ll know rb. In person, I noticed her shiny red hair, her silver and pearl necklace, and, of course, the shoes. One does see some of the world looking down, but clearly I’m going to have to consider the impact of necklaces.

I’ve met other people from blogging before, of course. Meg, Mater, Sue, Lauren, Sandy, Amanda, Maggie, Susan, Reggie, Max, Melissa, Lori, and the entire Lavish! crew. Probably others my memory isn’t retrieving. But in those moments I was pretty much ready. This was a surprise. And while I felt the usual anxieties, at least my particular usual anxieties…

  • Yikes my hair is in a Scrunchie bun
  • Why didn’t I put on more lipstick when I left the office?
  • I hope this striped tee isn’t too young
  • Gee I wish I was wearing my jacket because the Marant tweed looked great with said stripes
  • Am I talking too much?
  • Am I talking too fast?

…I was more strongly aware of my luck. I have found the worries that I’m different in writing than in reality, that I might disappoint in the gap, to be unfounded. The people you meet online who seem nice, are nice. There’s room for your voice to fail, offline, for your hair to frizz and your lipstick to fade. And in that room you find the person that you’re meeting.

Which has slowly brought me closer to believing that said room was always there. That we can all ease up a tad, on ourselves. In my mind’s eye (I’d say my heart but High WASPs are embarrassed about hearts), this is forgiveness and it stretches out like an imagined African plain. Gold, sere, quiet, joyful.

OK so we’re embarrassed about poetics too. We’re in recovery. RB gave me her card. I hope we get to meet for lunch, and talk more but I’ll probably still talk too fast. You all are a great gift to me and I wish you the absolute most lovely of weekends.

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  • Aww, what a nice post. Makes me wish I still lived in the Bay Area. Hope your weekend is lovely!

  • Love this! And what a special thing to be recognized by a reader. That’s never happened to me but I’d love it!

  • “luck” is a fine word for all of it. how lucky i am to have your digital companionship – how lucky i am to have our friendship beyond screens.

    6:19 am
    Lisa said...


  • I think it’s lovely when we get to step out from behind the screen and behold the beauty of kindred blogger-spirits! I would be quite self-conscious with such an encounter, I know, but the connections can positively enhance the experience and purpose of why we do what we do here – and keep us on our toes! Have a relaxing weekend –

    6:20 am
    Lisa said...

    Thank you.

  • Lovely! Powerful + graceful writing..

  • What fun ~ Bloggers are the new celebrities – pretty soon the paparazzi may be after you! I saw someone in a restaurant in LA that looked so familiar, but I couldn’t place her. Finally realized it was Sunday Taylor from the lovely blog Ciao Domenica. We talked, like you she was slightly embarrassed, but pleased.
    Turns out we are moving to a home 3 doors away from her.
    Hope to bump into you in SF sometime soon on purpose. Have a lovely weekend, and I hope you post soon on some spring purchases.

  • Oh how neat. That is the best kind of first meeting! Unexpected, genuine surprise and delight. How fun for you both

  • Wonderful luck in running into your reader! And thank you for sharing your inner critic’s words – I too have those kinds of thoughts, try to shush them, and they mutter all the louder, then later I too discover the world of people with whom I choose to associate is much more gracious, even welcoming, of the small imperfections daily living foists upon us.

    6:20 am
    Lisa said...

    You’re welcome. I wonder who doesn’t have those thoughts, really.

  • meeting bloggers i find are stressful since you don’t know the stark the contrast would be between your online personality and you real life self but at the same time, i feel these kind of real life blogger interactions are so much fun since both parties share similar interests and know the online side of you so well.

  • I can imagine that rb is so happy that she spotted you. What fun for both of you!

  • This post made me smile today, Lisa. Because of your advice about blogging. And also because I too struggle with wearing black pants at the wrong time.

    SSG xxx

    6:21 am
    Lisa said...

    Ha! Atipodean black pants.

  • How delightful… only wish you’d taken a photo with your phone!

  • Beautifully said. I wish I could hang around insouciantly in grey shoes and hope to meet you.

  • Beautifully said Lisa. I’ve met several bloggers and they were as great as I expected, if not better. Some have become better friends than before we met. Amazing isn’t it.

  • How lovely to bump into one of your readers (fans?) and find out that you get on in the real world – next time you meet you can wear the Marant tweed jacket.

  • That’s fun.

    I spied Allie from Wardrobe Oxygen on the train one day. She was rushing off and I was rushing on so no decisions required.

    I belong to some other on-line groups that sometimes get together in-person. It’s a nice way to make a more personal connection with them. It’s a little weird because sometimes you’ll exhcnage more personal information with on-line friends than you would in person. So when you do meet it’s prudent to back off a little with the personal questions.

  • What a lovely story. I love meeting bloggers!

  • that is SO cool lisa!

  • You, disappoint in reality? I highly doubt it. I will look for you on the street next time you come to NYC.

    6:21 am
    Lisa said...

    Or the next time I come we can actually have lunch on purpose!

  • I love this post Lisa, not just for the story which is great but truly you are a wonderful writer, I’ve said it before and i’ll keep saying it because it’s true.
    I’m going to read it again now, but first I have to tell you that twice this has happened to me and I also talked a mile a minute. And I don’t even have the energy for that!

    6:23 am
    Lisa said...

    Thank you Dani. It does my heart good to hear.

  • I love moments of synchronicity like this! To my knowledge, I have yet to meet a reader in real life, ‘cept for the handful of colleagues I know who read my blog. Actually, I am planning to meet with the KC Bloggers group in May in order to burst this particular bubble. I’m three decades older than most of them. Gulp.

  • If I ever meet you in person, I hope you do talk fast because I know you would have a lot of good stuff to say, and the faster you’d talk, the more of it I’d get to hear!

  • Oh Lisa, you are such a priviledge to meet. You’re every bit as intelligent, delightful, giving and supportive as you appear on your blog. Remember, you’re a Rock Star. We all so look forward to that Saturday post, waiting to read the latest in what ever quest you’re on for the day. You need not worry about your pants, hair or shoulders. We all love you just the way you are.

    And meeting you, just makes me grin with happiness.

  • How cool that you met one of your readers by chance on the street! It’s so true that high WASPS are embarrassed about hearts and poetics, among other things that are too embarrassing to mention.

    6:23 am
    Lisa said...

    WAY TOO embarrassing:).

  • I like the small vulnerability you expressed!

    The grey shoes sound delightful as they caught your eye first.
    So many of you gels live in LA maybe you should all get together for dinner…what a great photo that would be.Ida

  • I enjoyed reading this post.
    Like Kathy said, some great bloggers seem to be ” the celebs of today “.
    Over here, in my distant part of the world, I have no fear of bumping into any of of you.
    I feel a certain unity with many of you, who visit and comment on my blog, but the mere thought of meeting IRL puzzles me.
    For now, I am completely happy with the way things are.

  • Really nice piece of writing, very fine indeed…and I am so glad I am not the only one who worries about talking too much, too fast…

  • What a terrific story!

  • What a great post!
    I felt many of these feelings when I was spotted by another blogger Pondside.
    Wish that you had taken a photo of the two of you together, perhaps when you meet up for lunch you’ll have the opportunity.

  • My reaction would be so different. I would stop if anyone recognisd me!

  • Oh that posted too quickly, I meant to add, that I’m finding the self exposure more and more difficult. It’s so at odds with my introverted personality. I think I’m on borrowed time blogging wise.

  • Oh that posted too quickly, I meant to add, that I’m finding the self exposure more and more difficult. It’s so at odds with my introverted personality. I think I’m on borrowed time blogging wise. I find so much wisdom here so you have to keep writing.

  • What a fun run-in! I have made some wonderful friends via blogging over the years. Several have become real-life friends, people I would never have met except that our virtual selves had things in common.

  • I read this post to my husband. He knows you because of the bumper sticker. His comment is that you write very very well.

    6:24 am
    Lisa said...

    Ah. Please tell him thank you.

  • I’ve gotten to meet some of my favorite bloggers and some of my readers! It is great fun and has enhanced my life.

  • I had a woman approach me at the mall with the “you don’t know me, but I read your blog”….and all I could think about was the ridiculous glitter nail polish I had on from the night before., and how I had on an awful padded push up bra and my breasts were under my chin. I felt like a hooker.
    I wanted to die.

  • That’s so fun! I always imagine that some day I’ll run into you at Cafe Borrone, or Stanford Mall, but I know if I do, it’ll be the day I’ve got air-dried hair, my frumpy clogs on, and a baby slung on one hip.

    6:24 am
    Lisa said...

    Babies are impeccable accessories.

  • You could never disappoint! if I ever make it to San Fran, I hope to bump into myself. And if you admire my shoes, I’d feel very proud! ;)

  • Oh my goodness! Yes, that was me. I hope we have lunch soon. You looked fabulous. I am pro-scrunchie. :)

  • Honestly I keep expecting to see you out and about whenever I’m shopping in Union Square on the weekend. It is probably just a matter of time before you find my brown-haired self skipping toward you to say hello.

  • How lovely and exciting. I’ve met fellow bloggers intentionally, but not had one recognize me unexpectedly (not surprising).

  • Your clarity and power of description is nothing short of brilliant. :)

  • Wonderful stuff. I often worry about that very gap, yet I afford that space to others. As usual, so much of what we fret about amounts to stuff and nonsense – what matters are the shoes (and the people, of course).

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  1. […] a few times. Only once did anyone stop me, rather than inform me later online what had happened. It was commenter, who goes here by rb. She said in the crosswalk, “I know you!” Funny thing is, I’d just noticed her […]