Friday, 30 March 2012

The halfling and the barmaid

I've complained a goodly amount about technology and the internet, but in a small attempt to redress the balance, here's something I'm deeply grateful for. 

This is a story of an internet friendship. 

When we met four years ago, I was a barmaid with a suit of chainmail under her bed, and he was a halfling druid with a large dog.  It was an online game (what else?).  Some of us felt bold enough to divulge our real names and befriend each other on Facebook.

Halfling druid

Barmaid.  Chainmail under bed and therefore not visible

A conversation started shortly afterwards which has endured ever since.

Pat and I communicate almost every day.  I've watched him turn his life around in more ways than I can sensibly count.  He's watched me clamber through my various artistic traumas and teaching shenanigans.  We've both tended to be there for each other when the going got really rough at some points. 

Our ongoing conversation has taken us through politics, films, philosophy, gaming, more gaming, his work, my work, family, rules minutae, routes out of depression, character building and recipes.

We've met three times in the flesh.  Pat has come to visit the UK twice and has just walked through the door and felt like part of the family.    My son, who doesn't take to new people easily, immediately felt at home with him.  The home gaming group absorbed him instantly as a player.  He sat in our kitchen and broke up chocolate for brownies and peeled potatoes.

Husband, son and I went to Indianapolis for GenCon last year and met up again for a couple of meals.  As always, it felt like he lived next door and had just dropped by.

This good and lovely man met his soulmate last year, and on Tuesday, they eloped.  I'm using this post to say thank you to the internet for our ongoing conversation and to offer him congratulations and the best of good wishes.  Few deserve them more.  And yes, of course I asked his permission before I wrote this.

I am assured the elopement didn't look like this.


  1. The internet is great! I have met so many good people through it and I am grateful for that. Lovely story about Pat! I wish him and his partner all the very best :)

  2. My wife and I met on the internet on the 1st of January 2000, a chance meeting using a random chat function while all our friends slept off the night before. We talked daily for 7 months before meeting in the flesh. We've been married now for 11 years and still very much in love.

    Back in 2000 the media was full of negative stories about internet relationships, so we became a talking point for friends and relations. Living in an isolated location, most of our friendships are via the internet and it's always wonderful when we get to meet these friends in the flesh.

    It's nice to hear another positive story, thanks Amanda.

  3. oh I think I know who this is then, heh. makes me want to go to gencon myself

  4. I met who is now one of my best friends on Neopets about 10 years ago where we ran a guild together. We also talk almost everyday, most of the time on Facebook chat, but also SMS and Skype. She lives in the UK and I live in Australia so we have never met in person, but this year I am finally going to the UK to see her and we are so unbelievably excited. It's strange that we've never really met but we are incredibly close and have always been there for each other growing up all through high school and university and now as adults.

  5. Hi Amanda .. congratulations all round - isn't that wonderful and may they have for ever after happiness. Great story/ies and the comments - love it/them .. cheers Hilary

  6. @ Nick - agreed, as you can see :)

    @ David - that is a wonderful story.

    @ Josh - I can imagine. You will have a wonderful time, I'm certain.

    @Zero - yes, you probably do :D GenCon was a once in a lifetime for us, by the way, but it was worth it for many reasons.