Today is August bank holiday but, more importantly, it’s our anniversary. That doesn’t mean that we first met on August 31st. In fact, I’m not sure of the date when we met or, perhaps more to the point, which of our meetings deserves to be perpetuated in memory as our anniversary.
Tigger loves going to the Netherlands. A decade ago she was in the habit of going there every August bank holiday weekend. On one such weekend, she was in Amsterdam and popped into an Internet cafe.
Online she chanced upon the same chat room that I happened to visit. We got talking and found we had a lot in common. Interestingly enough, Tigger also lived in London and not all that far from me. We became online friends and spent time “together” via the Web.
We did not meet immediately upon Tigger’s return to London. I wasn’t all that sure that I wanted to turn an online relationship into a face to face one—you know my chronic difficulty in making my mind up about things. One day, however, an opportunity to meet presented itself and we arranged to meet in Hampstead. I was rather nervous and on my best behaviour.
It’s always a strange experience to meet in the flesh someone you have come to know online. You find yourself in the presence of someone you know and don’t know at the same time. We overcame this small amount of strangeness very quickly, however, and that was the first of many happy times together. After that we met whenever we could, juggling our various commitments as best we could.
In May 2005, we decided the time had come to make the final commitment and I upped sticks and moved to Islington to be with Tigger on a permanent basis. Perhaps we should celebrate May rather than August, not that it matters, though, because, for me, every day is an anniversary and deserves to be celebrated as such. Bank holiday Monday is just our “official anniversary” so to speak.
I often hear people denigrating online liaisons and insisting that they are not “real”, whatever they mean by that. As a form of bigotry, it’s no worse than any other, I suppose, and I don’t bother to argue. I know what I have and am thankful for the remarkable chance that brought it about and for ten years that transformed my world and my life.
Tigger always reads my blog so I will end this post with a message to her. I love you, Tigger, and look forward to the fun and adventures and the togetherness that the next ten years will bring.