Friday, July 8, 2005

The Confluence

I know…I sort of left you all hanging about the "Confluence." Did you think I forgot?

As you all may or may not know, last Friday, I awoke at the crack of dawn (or at least it seemed like it to my self-indulgent, self-employed self…) to make the two-hour drive to a place I’d never officially visited (though I’d blown through numerous times on my way to somewhere else) to meet a person I knew but had never actually met. Miss Robbie had flown north for a quick vacation in Seattle. So close, and yet, so far away… Since it would mean one of us wasting three and a half hours drive time, for her to come to me or me to go to her, we chose what we thought would be closest to the halfway point for both of us. Spang! Olympia, Washington it was!

The day started out iffy… I was determined to leave the house by 8 am. The alarm went off at 6:30, but I was already out of bed. Shower, dress, and do the general "zookeeper" routine. Breakfast? Nah…we are meeting at Starbuck’s, and going on to a Farmers’ Market. Plenty of sustenance to be had later.

Hmmmm! A little ahead of schedule. Okay…I have time to sit down and pay some bills and get some other "business" out of the way. Check the email and read a few journals… Ooops! May have spent a little TOO much time on that stuff. Shut down the computer…out in the car by 8:00. Damn! Forgot the directions. Back into the house, reboot the ‘puter, print out directions. Back in the car by 8:05. Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed… Get to the end of the block (about 500 feet)…crap! Forgot the camera! Hang a quick u-ie, and back into the house again to retrieve said device. Finally on the road for real at 8:15. Okay…looking at likely tardiness. Not exactly a situation with which I am unfamiliar…

Halfway to my destination, it occurs to me that I should probably call Robbie and tell her that I am going to be late. At which time I also realize that her cel number is securely saved on my hard drive…and I have forgotten to print it out, write it down, or make it in any way available to myself as I am cruising up the interstate. Duh!

I begin stressing out at about milepost 39. (Rendezvous point is at Exit 105.) ‘Round about milepost 95, Robbie calls me. "Ummm…I’m not sure exactly where I am, but I think I’m going to be late…" Saved! Now, I have Robbie’s number in my phone’s memory. AND I wasn’t the first one to have to make the "I’m-gonna-be-late" call. On top of THAT, between Washington’s 70 mph speed limit, and the total absence of traffic, it looks like I might actually end up being on time. Life is good!

With the help of those great "Mapquest" directions, I pull up in front of the rendezvous point with time to spare (maybe one or two minutes.) Hmmm…on-street parking. I find a parking place about a half-block down from the appointed Starbuck’s, and attempt to parallel park. Now, in my defense, I am driving my husband’s car, which he insisted I take, because it gets twice the gas mileage of any other vehicle we own. However, I don’t drive it often…in fact, do not LIKE to drive it, because it is a five-speed….which, at my age, and having driven cars with automatic transmissions for 95% of the thirty-plus years I’ve been driving, is a challenge for which I have little patience at this point… I proceed to make a TOTAL ass of myself trying to parallel park this car...forward, reverse, forward, reverse…twist the wheel 180 degrees this way and then 180 degrees the other… and still end up four feet from the curb. After an eternity of this (probably about a minute and a half) I abandon the spot in favor of one a half-block down that I can pull into without the whole parallel parking challenge. What fun would life be without the stupid, memorable, FUNNY things we do when we think we are being all efficient and serious?

Fifteen minutes, one latte and a marionberry muffin later, Robbie and I finally connect. And what can I say about the experience? That I was a little nervous, but felt like I was meeting someone I already knew? Her appearance did not shock or surprise me. She looked very close to what I had imagined. Aided somewhat, I suppose, by pictures she had posted in her journal…but not completely. She just looked like…Robbie.

We walked, we talked, we partook a little of the gastronomic offerings of the Olympia Farmers’ market. We explored the Olympia waterfront, which I had not even known existed. We had fun doing pictures and acting like tourists. We thoroughly enjoyed the little Fourth of July Dixieland Jazz entertainment they offered at the market, and the food, and the jewelry and crafts. We talked our way to the top of a little observation tower on the waterfront, and back to a coffee shop across the street from the market, where we spotted Clyde and his owner, all set to ferry us around the waterfront district.

Four hours. Four hours is just about what we had. It didn’t seem like enough. I SO wanted to stay longer, to talk more, to explore our similarities and our differences. Young urban professional meets middle-aged hippie small business owner. L.A. urbanite meets Pacific Northwest refugee. Apartment dweller meets suburban gardener extra-ordinaire. Our differences dissolved in our similarities. Writers. Journallers. Women who feel deeply, and who share those feelings in the nurturing, challenging environment of on-line journals.

I am privileged to know Robbie. Even more blessed to have met her face-to-face. Still, I wish we had had more time…


  1. Oh, how absolutely wonderful.  I am so freaking jealous I can't stand it.

  2. What a great time you two had!
    That Robbie is everywhere!
    You two both look Great!


  3. ahhhh, sweeet!
    that sounds like a lot fun, and filled with so much
    fun stuff to do.  LOVE the pictures.

    you got four hours...I'm so jealous! :D

  4. What a GREAT day!  And you both look terrific, and like you're having so much fun!

  5. You had a wonderful time and that is a GOOD thing. You'll treasure the memories.


  6. I hate to admit, after almost two years of online journaling, I have yet to meet anyone! How lucky you two are.  Some where in the back of my brain I think that this whole experience is like a dream....and I am maybe a little hesitant to meet face to face anyone and shatter that dream.  The more I read of the people actually connecting, the more I realize I am so wrong!  Two of my favorites meeting in person. How cool.

  7. It looks and sounds like the two of you had a great time.  What fun!

  8. Yay, Lisa and Robbie!  

    It's is so great that you two finally got a chance to meet.  And it looks like you really had a terrific time.  As we aging hippies like to say (ok, maybe just me) ~ Right on!  :)  

  9. Sounds like a GREAT day!  I bet y'all didn't even talk politics once....LOL  

  10. wow.  what a great entry about a great experience.  i envy both of you, you both are women i would love to meet in person, spend hours walking and talking with and getting to know better.  isn't life a long strange trip?  yeah, it is.  maybe someday i even will meet you.  maybe even both of you.  you just never know.

  11. Here's were I express joy and envy all in one breath....

    It looks as if you two had the best time and I agree that four hours wouldn't be enough time.  Too lovely!

  12. Sounds like a great time!  I am looking forward to the day when we can have more than 4 hours or so together!  Lisa

  13. steal my picture, you tell the entire story...what's left for me to write about? ::::stomping feet::::  ;-p

    It was short but sweet just like a good desert that leaves you wanting for more. We'll just have to do it again, my friend. :-) ---Robbie

  14. Perhaps only a woman can capture an infant's touch on canvas, but only a man can parallel park.