A Cautionary Tale on Meeting Your Online BFFs IRL (vent/opinions)

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A Cautionary Tale on Meeting Your Online BFFs IRL (vent/opinions)

Post by Herr R on Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:22 pm

So a decade after first meeting the man (who was then a kid) who helped shaped me into the proud bastard that I am today, we finally met. And to be honest, I don't know what to think.

We've pretty much known each other for a long time now. I consider him a friend and he, likewise. Although I don't know if he will think the same, after our weekend together.

What helped us bond was our shared love for most of the same music, and talent for writing and our loathing for both the Left and Right of the political and social spectrum. So we felt that it was fitting that one day, we should meet and go see our number one favorite band of all time. Of course, over much of that time span, I was stuck in solitary confinement on Progress Island, USA (otherwise known as the island of Puerto Rico) and longing for the day when I would be free of having to interact with the fellow inmates who were most of my compatriots. Then he went to college while I dropped out of it and entered into a long spiral of despair and I couldn't bring myself to write for the longest and pretty much dropped off the face of the Earth, so to speak, online. I eventually found my way into the Incel community, where I found a new family (if somewhat dysfunctional, but hey, at least it was a dysfunctional family I chose!) so to speak.

Now it should be noted that he has his own fair share of problems. In fact, it came to light, by his own admission, that only a week ago he tried to kill himself again. So he said that he was glad that he would be with people who could keep an eye on him, me included. He's also what he likes to call "an alcoholic by choice". That is, he has a drinking problem and he admits it. But he says it's not so much that he CAN'T stop, rather that he keeps on drinking out of habit, rather than some addiction. He found this out after his first attempt at going sober and realized just how easy it was for him to go without drinking. He says this is because he has a strict personal rule of not mixing alcohol with meds and he seemed to be on a lot of those at the time. His first attempt failed after he tried to apply for a volunteer position at his local zoo and apparently was rejected for bullshit reasons. He started a second attempt not too long ago, but that hasn't been working out for him.

Anyway, we eventually reconnected after the events that led to my finally freeing myself from my geographical prison. Oh yes, we were going to wait for our favorite band to go on their eventual US tour and we were going to meet up and go see them together. That happened over the course of this weekend, when I hopped on a plane for Chicago, went to Madison to meet him and his roommate (who was another writer in our group of bloggers back in the day) and we would head on down back to Chicago and see the band play in what was an important location during their formative years. This is important because while they did play closer to home, in Pittsburgh, I chose to make the trip to Chicago pretty much to meet up with Pal and make for an epic summer adventure. I was the one who arranged and paid for the hotel, I was the one who hauled ass over to Madison to take him down here, etc. But I'm not mad that I was the one who was putting in the most time, effort and money into making this trip happen. To me, it's just another wonderful trip to yet another city that I never thought I would visit. I'm not even mad about what eventually happened.

The first day of our meeting went quite well. I arrived, he came home and I crashed at his place while he subjected me to horrible movies and TV shows, mixed with great British sitcoms. Yes, at first it was a bit awkward, but once the drinks started flowing, things went better. It was the next day when we went down to Chicago that things between us went south, in sense.

The day we left, he was either sleeping (classic sign of someone with depression) or drinking. But he wasn't really talking a lot either. He slept most of the way to Chicago and when we finally checked in to our room, he went back to sleep or hardly said a word to me.

Then the day of the concert. He was kind enough to get us tickets to go to the aquarium so we went. But during the entire day, he hardly spoke to me and spent most of the time just pacing around and looking lost. I actually had to call out to him a few times before moving on. Then the show was upon us. I had to wake him up to make it on time to the venue and strangely enough, he didn't seem all that excited about seeing a band that I know he really fucking enjoys. It's funny to think how, besides worrying about him, I was the one who was the most sociable and into the whole thing. I met and mingled with fellow fans, got complimented on my wardrobe for the show and even got invited to the after party where two of the band members were there and literally inches from my face and yet I was too much of a pussy to go and say hi. He on the other hand spent the first half of the show, pacing around the venue, silently and visiting the bathroom to vomit from his still lingering hangover. He didn't make it all that clear to me when he said he was going back by himself to the hotel and that I could stay during the rest of the show. I was torn between having the time of my life and chasing after him to make sure he didn't do anything stupid. So I left the show early to go after him and make sure he didn't do stupid shit. I even called hotel security on my way back to ask them to check up on him. I got a hold of Pal and he said that he was trying to sleep. I was relieved and decided to make the best of the night and go to the after party solo, after I went back to the hotel and physically made sure he was okay.

Anyway, today I was supposed to take him back and leave Chicago. When I woke up, he informs me that he decided to take a train to Milwaukee, to visit his family. I knew he was going to go visit them, but I assumed this was after I took him back home and I left for home myself. But yes, he got a train ticket, informed me of his decision and I didn't say anything as I was kinda shocked. I quickly got ready to check out and leave, since I wanted to offer him a ride to the station but he said he would get a cab. He picked up his bags, said he would call me when he got to his parents home so that I didn't have to worry whether he was dead or not and just waved and told me "see you later". I now wonder if he was pissed off at me for some reason, even though, I don't regret anything that I did in making sure he had as good a time as possible and keeping him alive. I didn't even drink anything at the show as to not make him feel bad. Either way I didn't need it. I was having too much fun getting into the collective energy of the show. I also know that his reasons are his own and that I know I did my best on my part to take care of him.

So here I am, in a motel room near the airport, waiting for my flight tomorrow since I can't move my flight up, and trying to salvage the rest of this trip the best I can. I'm thinking of going to Geek Bar Beta and observe the hipsters and SJW's in their natural habitat and hope I can find it in myself to socialize a bit myself rather than waiting to be spoken to. I'm not even mad. Just confused. That's all. At least he texted me back like he promised and told me that he wasn't mad at me, rather at himself for his hangover and letting it ruin the night.

Sorry for long post.

Herr R

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Re: A Cautionary Tale on Meeting Your Online BFFs IRL (vent/opinions)

Post by eselle28 on Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:43 pm

I'm sorry your trip went south and that you're stuck by yourself in an unfamiliar city. For whatever it's worth, I don't think your friend is mad at you. I think he's having a shame spiral, and that he's coping with it by running away. It sounds like at least some parts of your trip were fun. I might try to treasure those moments, and possibly then have this person as an internet-only friend rather than an internet friend who you also see in person, since it sounds like to the extent your relationship is online only that it's been one that's been fairly positive for you. You know your friend is troubled in some ways, and he might just not be someone who you can take road trips with. Internet friends can be all over the map - some people are exactly like you imagined, some are even more enjoyable to spend time with, and a few either don't click or have habits that make spending in person time with them less fun than online interactions. In any case, I'm sorry again some parts of your trip have been disappointing. If you have the energy for it, it might be worth it to check out something social tonight rather than stay in your hotel room.
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Re: A Cautionary Tale on Meeting Your Online BFFs IRL (vent/opinions)

Post by Herr R on Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:08 pm

eselle28 wrote:I'm sorry your trip went south and that you're stuck by yourself in an unfamiliar city. For whatever it's worth, I don't think your friend is mad at you. I think he's having a shame spiral, and that he's coping with it by running away. It sounds like at least some parts of your trip were fun. I might try to treasure those moments, and possibly then have this person as an internet-only friend rather than an internet friend who you also see in person, since it sounds like to the extent your relationship is online only that it's been one that's been fairly positive for you. You know your friend is troubled in some ways, and he might just not be someone who you can take road trips with. Internet friends can be all over the map - some people are exactly like you imagined, some are even more enjoyable to spend time with, and a few either don't click or have habits that make spending in person time with them less fun than online interactions. In any case, I'm sorry again some parts of your trip have been disappointing. If you have the energy for it, it might be worth it to check out something social tonight rather than stay in your hotel room.

Yeah, that's pretty much what I took away from the whole experience. I'm still not upset as much by the whole thing, although now co-writing about the whole thing with him may prove to be awkward as fuck since I don't see how I can write about his sudden departure in a non-negative light. While he more or less did meet most of my expectations, it was kinda sobering to see just how badly his problems are affecting him. We wanted to take Chicago by storm, and yet, he spent most of the trip either sleeping, pacing around listlessly, even at the show, or chunking into some toilet from his hangover.

Anyway, I'm home now. But I did go out and visit the night before my departure a somewhat famous bar among nerd circles in the area and ended up having a beer and eating bar food in a place that was packed to the gills with people in the middle of a Sailor Moon trivia contest. Didn't interact much and still felt weird and awkward at first, even if the place is famous for being a "safe space" for awkward people. I guess the staff must be trained in dealing with nerds and other socially challenged people. Plus, I just discovered two new bands who played the opening sets for the main act and at the concert itself I felt like a freak in a sea of freaks which is a good thing.

Only thing I regret is having to come back home to relative isolation again and living and working with assholes and rednecks.

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