I was supposed to be in Southern California for Shabbat, but we got a reprieve on Thursday evening when it appeared that we'd finish up early and be able to get to LA before the horrendous highway 405 rush hour (which starts at 1 and ends way after shabbat starts).
Normally, I have plenty of time to arrange for places to eat for shabbat, but I don't like calling people last minute to invite myself over. Granted, in Israel we never have a problem with it, and we love company, but I feel awkward as a guest doing it to other people.
Let alone people I don't know.
A fellow blogger, who I never met in my life, invited me for a shabbat meal at the beginning of the week but I unfortunately had to turn him down since I didn't think I'd be in LA for shabbat. Yet, the email conversation we had was nice enough, his blogging was totally obvious to me that he was shomer shabbat, so I decided to ask him if I could for him for a meal.
My brother IM'd me on Friday that it sounded to him like a blind date. That was pretty funny, since I'm married for a while, and hadn't even thought about the concept of blind dates in ages.
Needless to say, we met in shul. I don't think I had the nervous butterflies in my stomach like the blind dates from years ago, but I'm sure we each had some minor apprehensions. After all, how "normal" could somebody be, if his name is Jameel, blogging from the Muqata? And who invites someone to a shabbat meal, named Jameel, site unseen?
His family was extremely gracious, and I hope that they enjoyed my company, as much as I did spending time with them. The meal was wonderful, the table Torah talk was fulfilling, and it was wonderful being in a family shabbat atmosphere.
Only a very small minority of bloggers say who they are up front, and the first bloggers that come to mind are Soccer Dad, Treppenwitz, and Serandez. Many crave their privacy, for a multitude of reasons -- freedom of blogging and expression which may be wild and unrestrained as an anonymous name, worry that exposure would harm a distant relative, worry that a close relative or neighbor might find out and not approve or the editorial content, worry that a co-worker or manager may find out.
For example, if DovBear were the son of a Rosh Yeshiva in Lakewood, it would be very understandable why he wants to keep his name out of lights. (DovBear: I apologize in advance, I really have no clue who you are.)
At the end of the day, I have a real sense of satisfaction having met a few bloggers in real life.
Those that I've met so far are very special people, and I feel privlidged to have met them.
Chardal, you're always welcome to come to the Muqata for shabbat, even last minute.
I had a great time!