I have many fears going into BlogHer. Some are pretty mundane: Fear that I’ll be too tired at the end of the day to party. Fear that I won’t have anything sparkly (yet manly) to wear to Sparklecorn. Fear that I’ll stick out like a sore thumb in some way. Mainly, though, my fears involve meeting people face to face instead of online.
I’ve never been good with face to face meetings. My first problem involves coming up with conversation topics. I’m pretty good at that, but I tend to either become too quiet (especially if the conversation is between more than two people) or I hog the conversation too much (the dreaded "he’s been talking for 10 minutes straight without so much as stopping to take a breath"). Online, conversation is easy. Someone sends me a message, I send one back, they send one back to me. Sometimes multiple messages get sent before one gets sent back, but it’s pretty much an even rhythm.
My second problem involves the filter between my mouth and brain. Mine can get broken and I might find myself saying things that I really shouldn’t be saying. For example, when I was looking at new cars and I started telling the salesman how I thought my old one had a busted transmission. Hello? TechyDad’s Brain? Make a note for future exchanges of this nature. Don’t tell the salesman who’ll be figuring out your trade-in value that you think your transmission is broken!!! That is all.
Needless to say, online is easier here too. I can type something out and then edit it fifteen times without the person realizing that the witty thing I just said is the much improved version of the bland, boring comment I was about to leave. The same goes for debating too. Online, I can look up sources and take my time to make a solid argument. In person, my brain can have the most compelling argument with all the facts and words lined up. It then sends it to my mouth where the filter slices and dices it until it seems as though I don’t know what I’m saying.
My last problem involves seeing people I’ve already met. You see, I’m not good with faces and names. There are people who work for my company whom I’ve seen dozens of times over the past nine years who I couldn’t name if I saw them walking down the hall. I’ll know that I know them from somewhere but I just won’t be able to place it. If I’m that bad with people I’ve seen over the course of nine years, imagine how I’ll be with the hundred or so people I’ll meet this week. "Hi. I’m TechyDad and you are… Oh yes, we did meet before… your name was… Right…. and your website…. Yes, I remember you. What, do you think I forgot your name since we last met yesterday? …. Oh, we met an hour ago?"
All the nervousness brings back unpleasant memories of high school. My only consolation is that other bloggers out there are going through the pre-BlogHer jitters too. Here’s hoping that all my fears are unfounded and I have a wonderful time. If not, I’ll be that guy curled up in the corner with a stack of business cards trying desperately to commit the faces, names and URLs to memory.