I chose the image of Edinburgh Castle for my twenty-minute sprint today.
Meeting at the Castle:
Calum settled against the stone wall and watched the crowd. This was probably not the smartest thing he’d ever done, meeting up with a friend from online that could be anybody. In theory, he was meeting Matthew Evans, graphic artist and maker, who was in Edinburgh for some kind of conference for independent business people.
The castle had seemed like a good place to meet. Very public, always reasonably crowded, and safe because there was a lot of folks who wanted to make sure the castle itself was properly preserved and protected. Also, it was swarming with tourists and no one wanted tourists getting hurt. It was bad for business.
Matt had said that he’d be wearing a bright blue jacket and that he’d have a messenger bag covered in art buttons. In retrospect, Calum wasn’t sure how great that was for spotting his friend. There were a lot of blue jackets and a lot of people with buttons on their bags. Calum was wearing his usual dark gray pea coat, so he wasn’t any easier to spot. He did have the bright copper hair which wasn’t quite as common in Scotland as a lot of folks thought. He’d also positioned himself in a good vantage point, and told Matt where to find him.
There were four guys in bright blue jackets coming up from the parking lot. Two seemed to be with other people, but two of them seemed to be alone. Calum spotted a backpack on one of the others, which probably meant it wasn’t Matt. The other was walking straight toward Calum and there was a strap across his chest that could have been a messenger bag. He had sandy brown hair that was cut business man short and bright blue eyes.
“Calum?” the guy asked as he stopped a little away from Calum.
“Matt?” Calum replied.
“Yeah,” he said, smiling and stepping in to offer Calum his hand.
“It’s good to meet you in person,” Calum said, taking Matt’s hand. It was warm, and a little bigger than Calum’s. Matt was taller than he was too.
“I’m really glad you agreed to meet me,” Matt said. “So many people are too nervous these days.”
“I did pick a public place,” Calum pointed out.
“Even I insist on that,” Matt said with a laugh as he let go of Calum’s hand. “You want to explore the castle a bit while we’re here?”
“Yeah,” Calum said. “It’s easy enough to chat while we walk.”
“Great,” Matt said, stepping out into the flow of others moving into the castle.
Calum followed, trying to stay with Matt as the crowd moved.
“So do you do this kind of thing a lot?” Calum asked. Matt seemed comfortable, and his comment about people not always being willing to meet made Calum wonder.
“I wouldn’t say a lot,” Matt said. “Once or twice a year I’ll be traveling for something and be near where an online friend is. Not all of them are willing to try meeting up. I understand and respect the caution they have. I could be anyone, and just because we get along great online doesn’t mean it will work well if we meet in person.”
“I tend to be largely the same,” Calum said. He didn’t believe in hiding who he was in real life or online.
“Me too,” Matt said with a smile. “Some people can be painfully shy in person but do just fine online. And a few online friends have been willing to share with me that they’re disabled or ill in some way, so getting out and meeting people isn’t really an option for them.”
“It’s good that they have online then,” Calum said. “It’s hard to be isolated.”
“It is,” Matt said. “I went through a few years when I was ill and had to stay home all the time. It made me a little nuts before my parents let me online.”
“You seem far too social to have handled that well,” Calum said. Matt knew everybody in their little online community. Calum suspected he was like that in person too. One of those people that everyone knew and everyone liked.
“Maybe,” Matt said with a laugh.
“So what else are you doing while you’re in town besides the conference?” Calum asked.