I started this web log on March 7, 2005, partly because I had been reading other people's work and was inspired, and partly because I needed an outlet to replace the four-hour conversations I was used to having every day (dungeon hours meant I was only available when my friends and family were either at work or asleep). And I didn't want anyone to forget about me.
Around that time, a popular blog written by An Intern In New York named Andy was featured as a Blog of Note. One of the links in his sidebar took me to Jazz...In Strange Places, and Jasmine's "100 things about me" post. I identified with a lot of her list, particularly her love for Nancy Drew novels. So at 2:42 a.m., I left her a comment about the girl detective, chocolate and cats.
Apparently another new blogger, Jon, found Jasmine's 100-things list simply by clicking the "Next Blog" button at the top of his screen, and at 3:41 a.m., he left a long comment lambasting the previous commenters as well as himself. Normally I would have gotten angry, but something about his self-deprecating tone made me hesitate to tear into him about how the Internet was supposed to be about supporting people, not bringing them down (funny how naive I was back then). I went over to his blog and made a case for old Nancy, who really was a pioneer for her time. He replied that he was glad I didn't take it the wrong way and that he was only trying to be funny, not a jerk.
After that, we all started commenting on each other's blog posts. Along with Jasmine, Jon and I, there were Omar, Syar, and several other bloggers who have come and gone in the last four and a half years. Soon, Jon wrote his own "100 things" post. My response to it was jon, honestly. i won't even try to explain just how much you scare me. So many things on that list could be said about me, too, except the part about his HATING being barefoot (I'd be barefoot all the time if it weren't for snow). I was impressed at how many of his priorities lined up with mine, what with all the love for siblings, loyalty to friends, mutual appreciation for tv, etc. There were also some bizarre things on the list, like the fact that we've both dreamt of being shot and how he drove from New York to California making only four stops. One of those stops? My hometown. To me, it was a sign.
The comments started adding up, however, and after a few months it was obvious that Jon and I were practically conversating with each other in the comments. One night in the dungeon, Blogger broke down and I realized just how much I missed hearing what Jon had to say. I emailed him, saying it had been nice of him to keep me company all those nights when I was convinced the one-eyed man was going to hack me to bits and stuff me into a utility closet.
I had met Jasmine in person that summer (it's important to note here that at this time it was still perceived as sort of creepy to meet people "from the Internet" so that was kind of a big deal). I tried to get information about what she thought of Jon, whom she had met in California, and she confirmed he's as cool as I suspected. In September I saw Jasmine again in New York when I went to visit Alexandra, and we went out to dinner and to a club.
Those four days had been the longest I'd gone in six months without communicating with Jon, and it was killing me. A few weeks earlier, he had conveniently given me his phone number by sending me a photo from his phone. Alexandra and I had been bar-hopping, and obviously discussing the bizarre long-distance infatuation I had with him as well as the improbabilities of it going anywhere (again, dating someone you'd met "online" at that time mostly meant going through something like match.com, which had a bad connotation because of a friend's bad experiences). With every drink, the urge to contact Jon was getting harder and harder to resist.
So I texted him: How screwed up is it that you can miss someone you're [sic] never even met?The texts kept coming, and I kept giggling in the corner, until Jasmine--who hadn't been aware of our email love affair--said, What are you laughing about so much, Cadiz? Is Jon the one text messaging you? I was so flabbergasted that she'd guessed* that I asked him what I should tell her.
He replied: Only slightly.
His reply: That you and I are text messaging each other tonight...and that you are carrying my baby :)
What I said next: That's cool, as long as you understand one thing: The children will have Indian names.
Text messages led to phone calls, phone calls led to plane tickets, and Jon arrived at Chicago's Midway airport November 4. We went to my favorite all-night diner and then I dropped him off at his hotel. I went back to my parents' house, sad that I hadn't heard trumpets and birds singing when we first saw each other and the next morning I called cc in tears because I thought we didn't have a *connection* in real life. He had been shy and reticent; I was unsure and still processing how different he is from the guys I had always pictured myself dating (i.e. he's not an Indian boy). Both of us were acting really awkward. Jon and I had discussed the implications of this meeting and agreed that it had to happen, that we had to find out sooner or later. And if we didn't have chemistry we could always be good friends. So with that in mind, I picked him up and showed him the sights, starting with hot dogs at Portillo's and a trip to the then-named Sears Tower.
Somewhere after lunch and before we got to the top of the tower, the good old rapport surfaced through the nerves and the tension and we fell into our normal banter. I liked the sound of his voice and that I could actually see the expression on his face. I especially enjoyed hearing the exotic "o" sound he pronounced as in "honestly" (which I pronounce in the midwestern style, "haanestly"). As soon as I forgot about my expectations, things went right back to the lovely way they always had been.
There was a suspiciously short line on the way up to the Sears Tower, and surprisingly few people in the observation deck. It was so dark and clear, we could see lights all the way out to a couple of states. There were a few times I thought he was going to kiss me as we looked out over the glittering city, but I'm really glad he didn't--I would have lost all respect for the guy.
I brought him back to his room and stayed to watch the ten-minute film he had made in college on his laptop. He stars in it as well, and I think I fell in love with him even more after seeing how he looked in college, bright orange corduroys and all. We didn't feel like going to a bar or a club, so we sat through the only thing on tv: It was a Hitchcock film, his only screwball comedy, called Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We laughed about the ridiculous plot and how everything was magically resolved as Mrs. Smith crossed her skis at the end. If only life were that simple.
I went out to California a month later and he officially asked me to be his girlfriend. We've talked for several hours every night since, and have only gone one five-day stretch over the last four years without at least a text message back and forth. I must admit, we haven't yet run out of things to say. And I hope we never do, because today he asked me to spend the rest of my life talking to him, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
*Jasmine's response via twitter: @cadiz12 @jonmuller I knew it was Jon only because I know how funny he is. Also, your 1,000 questions about him were pretty transparent ;)