Perception and Joy

It has long been my belief that in most cases people have a perception of the people they talk to on the internet as being the people they are in reality. I have to say that it’s not usually true as we all have a public persona and very often a private one too. I can verify that to my cost I’ve found that the two persons can be very different.

Today Julia, Yvonne and I met someone I’ve ( we’ve) been speaking to on the internet for quite a long time. In all tht time I’ve found her sweet, charming and very thoughtful. She’s also delightfully young and though some people may disapprove of a friendship between a young girl and someone my age, it’s strange what writers of all ages have in common. And yes she’s a writer, a very good writer with one book under her belt at the age of 17.

Anyway, back to the plot. Young Patti lives in California and under normal circumstances we’d never get to meet. Huh, in all honesty I’d never expect a youngster to want to meet but fate lent a hand. Patti was accepted to represent her State as a ‘People to People Student Ambassador’. As such she’s visiting the four Countries of the UK on a whistlestop tour. She asked if we could all meet and here we were today with the chance of half an hour together. This was history ! How often do internet penpals get to meet in real life? So Julia and I got in the car this morning and headed for the City of Chester wondering what kind of  a person we’d be meeting, how different from the persona we knew. I expect she was wondering the same and as young as she was and in a strange Country ( It’s England that’s strange not Wales of course) may have worried that she’s be stuck with some awful people until her coach left.

Arriving in Chester we parked up, collected Yvonne and headed for the City centre. We knew the route Patti would be taking and started off from point ‘B’ to point ‘A’ hoping to intercept her on the way. We reached point ‘A’ just as she texted to say she was waiting at point ‘B’ for us. That meant she had given up on the guided tour of the historic remains to get there. Round we turned and went back. The place of meeting is a very old house now an information centre and cafe. There is a large yard to the front. As we reached it Patti was at the far side waiting by the gate. She saw Julia enter and dashed over to hug her and then me ( Yes, I know I should have been first but she’s quicker than me).

What followed was a delightful half hour in which it was proved that some people are the same on and off the net. They really are that nice. I will say that it there was an Olympic event for talking she’d have been a contender but in fairness my chauvinism tells me she’s young, she’s female and perhaps she only had half an hour to get it all in. Patti is a lovely, honest and genuine person and it’s a privilege to know her and call her our friend. Having spoken to her mother and to her ‘evil’ twin I can see the whole family is like that. Maybe my perceptions will have to undergo a sea change and I should start to believe that people are after all as they portray themselves rather than Patti being the exception that proves the rule.

As well as making her family very proud of the way she represents them her State should be equally as proud that she’s letting the world see the kind of young people they produce. For anyone interested in her (brilliant) book, I should add that Patti donates half her royalties to a burns unit. Not many authors can claim that.

Compassionate authors giving back. Join. MAKE A DIFFERENCE



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24 responses to “Perception and Joy

  1. I’m so glad, David, that you and Julia found that some of us are who we say we are. Not all of us. Not all of you (the amorphous “you” — not the “you” of David and Julia fame). But some. And that’s a huge blessing.

    • Nothing could be nicer than to find that the person you think you’ve known for ages is no different when you meet. I know there are ‘real’ friends out there as well as ‘real ‘ people but because the opportunity to meet is rare you rarely get to celebrate that fact. The unreal ones present a face that is to their benefit only but that it’s hard to distinguish from the real thing.
      I’m a lucky parson it seems in the majority of my choices as to whom I let into my life.

  2. I’m still smiling ear to ear from getting to finally meet in person!!! Yay! It was like seeing family I’d been away from for ages. You are all wonderful 🙂 The only thing that could have made the visit better was to make it longer! Next time I’ll have to slow down my talking just a little! lol. If I can. Or I’ll bring my mom to translate. Thank you for all the wonderful things you’ve said.
    I just need to add a thank you to my twin who is actually not evil (that’s a joke)… she’s really nice, like David said 🙂 She’s taking care of my twitter and stuff while I’m gone!
    huge hugs and luv,

    • Well Patti, you left three smiling faces behind you from the meeting though it was tinged with sadness that you had to go so quickly. Julia wouldn’t come outside as she’s sure she’d have shed a tear to see you leave.
      We enjoyed your talking because it saved anyone having to listen to me though we did have to take the donkey to the vet to see about it’s back legs that you talked off. LOL.
      I’m glad to have spoken to Mary who I now know is not an evil twin really despite her saying so. She’s doing a great job for you.
      I love the pictures and thanks for sending them. I’m guessing it’s your hotel balcony in No3.
      We hope you got a good meal when you arrived. Enjoy tomorrow and your other trips. Take our love back to California with you when you go and plenty of hugs to pass around the family.
      You made our day !!
      ps Hurry up with the second book.

  3. Congratulations Patti! If you ever do a tour downunder come and meet my alpacas, and the rest of us as well!

  4. Phew, that first paragraph had me afraid that this post would quickly turn into the story about how you were completely horrified to find the young girl you had been talking to was a 40-year-old man who still lived with his mum.

    I am glad to hear that Patti was as lovely as you had expected. 🙂

  5. Very nice. Writing is a vocation that bridges peoples and ages.

  6. I came to this blog because Patti directed me here and I’m so pleased. I firmly believe people should be the same online as offline – not their private offline selves, perhaps, but their public offline selves. And why shouldn’t they? The internet is (or should be) just another form of communication, not a reason to become someone else. No matter who we are, we can never make everyone happy, and I’d rather be liked and disliked for who I am than someone I’m pretending to be. It’s nice to know Patti is the same offline as online 🙂

    • I can understand people wanting to be liked and so creating a persona on the web they think will appeal. What I can’t understand is males pretending to be female (and vice versa) unless they are preying on someone. or pretending to be a kind, considerate friend right up to the moment when someone needs you. You’re quite right Ciara, it’s much better to stand or fall as yourself. Patti stood, she was as delightfully enthusiastic in person as she is online and twice as chatty.It gives me more confidence that maybe those I select as friends may be just that and not the fair weather variety or no true friend at all. Welcome to my blog. You might also enjoy since it’s there that my nemesis Oscar the cat has his blog and you may find his opinion of me is not as good as Patti’s.

  7. That is so wonderful! Patti is a friend of mine on Twitter too, and I think it’s great that you guys got to meet in person:))

  8. Food Stories

    I think it’s great that your web friend turned out to be what she portrayed herself to be; however, I do believe that people have private personas and public personas …. Maybe you just got lucky 🙂

    • Maybe you’re right and I just got lucky this time. However I want to have faith in people and prefer to believe that maybe the private and public personas aren’t too far apart so whoever we meet, unless they’re out and out con artists ( Lady Grania Mountbatten), will be the people we’ve come to like.

  9. I totally understand your concerns – one of my blog-buddies will be visiting the UK next year and I’m already wondering if I will live up to her expectations 😉 I’m sure that, like your meeting, mine will turn out just fine because I find the anonymity of blogging liberating and feel more able to be ‘myself’ in my writing. Thank you for visiting and following me – I am returning the honour! 🙂

  10. How lovely. Glad everything turned out alright.

  11. “It has long been my belief that in most cases people have a perception of the people they talk to on the internet as being the people they are in reality.”
    This is the most profound – and accurate – statement concerning blogging that I have ever read on WordPress, or anywhere else for that matter! You are truly wise, my new friend!

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