Hail Fellow, Almost Met

An MLA moment I haven’t written about, as yet: I had three and a half minutes between meetings, at one point, and so I grabbed the laptop and headed for the corridor in the conference center, where there was a nice strong free wifi signal. Just as I was sitting down and getting myself set up, along came a guy in a very nice suit and a very nice open-collared shirt in a lovely shade of green. Perhaps I looked a bit familiar for some reason, perhaps it was the usual conference name-tag scan, perhaps it was the sight of me yanking laptop out of messenger bag, but the guy in the lovely green shirt gave me a decided squint as he passed by. I thought nothing of it for about thirty seconds, and then realized — I think that was Michael Bérubé.

I’m still not positive — I’ve never met the man in person. And of course, I left Philadelphia before the big blogging panel, so I couldn’t confirm then. Nor could I introduce myself, which is something I really wanted to do. He did me a quite astonishing professional favor some years back, one utterly unnecessary, particularly given that he had no idea who I was. It fell at a key moment in my career, when things were looking more than a little dark, and I’ve never gotten the chance to thank him in person, or to let him know how much it meant.

And now things have gone all explody over at Le Blogue Bérubé. Once upon a time, at least, we both belonged to a fairly small cohort of academics with the same weird tendency to publish our random thoughts online. Now he’s gone, and I’m just me again. I can’t help but feel like I missed my moment.

6 thoughts on “Hail Fellow, Almost Met

  1. If that’s also the stretch of time when I ran into you in that corridor and stopped to chat for a moment, then I think I can confirm your Berube sighting. You’ll remember I was on my way to the PMC party–where Berube also turned up, dressed as you describe.

    I didn’t talk to him, but he did give me the same once over and a kind of quick, quizzical nod of recognition–maybe bloggers should get to where an icon or avatar on their badges.

  2. That’s exactly when; I think he passed by a couple of minutes ahead of you.

    I like the idea of the blogger badge icon, but I’m thinking it would need to be encoded somehow, only visible to or interpretable by those in the know. Unlike those “delegate assembly” ribbons. I hate those.

  3. Hey Kathleen! That was indeed my “wait a second, don’t I know this person?” decided squint. The problem with decidedly squinting at other bloggers in this way, though, is that it’s not very different from the way I squint at people I’ve met IRL and don’t quite remember (an increasingly large subset of the human population, thanks to my advancing years and failing memory). So never mind the icons on the badges idea — we bloggers (and ex-bloggers) need to work out a system of gestures and hand signals to accompany our “don’t I know this person” squints. That way we’ll know enough to approach each other and say, “excuse me, don’t you have a blog?”

    And I did not squint at Matt, for the record. I actually went up to him and shook his hand and introduced myself! I’m just crushed that he doesn’t remember. Next year I promise to squint atcha really hard, Matt, just for that.

    But I’m so sorry I didn’t get to meet you, Kathleen. Especially now that things have gone all explody at my blog and my presence in cyberspace consists of a few random comments here and there.

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