the birmingham debriefing

So, this post is long overdue. A handful of you know the full story already, and a few more have gotten the generic abstract, but I felt I owed an explanation to the rest of the lot. Actually, scratch that – I’m writing this post because I’m pretty darn excited and happy about what transpired in Birmingham, what had been transpiring for the two weeks prior, what’s been in the works for three days since.

For those of you who are new here, you probably haven’t read any prior postings mentioning “Alabama guy.” (There were only about two, so you haven’t missed much.) But that’s where the story began, with a 27-year-old guy from Alabama who I met on OKCupid.com after I expanded my horizons – and my geographic search – a little. His profile spoke of writing, working for a Web site, overthinking things. He listed “House” and “The Office” among his favorite shows, made me laugh before I even finished with his bio and measured in at 6’1″ – really, could there be a more perfect combination?

OKCupid gave us hope at a 95% match, but our first actual conversations affirmed that. We transitioned from IMs to phone calls, talking for more than 24 hours in the course of less than two weeks. One phone conversation lasted 9 hours straight, and I cannot count the number of times I laughed or smiled or was forced to really think hard about something I hadn’t considered previously.

It was somewhere in the course of those long conversations about everything under the sun that we decided we should meet. The plan morphed from an indistinct halfway point in Mississippi to my trekking the full four hours to Birmingham to spend the weekend making s’mores, seeing the sights and getting to know each other face to face.

The whole second week of phone calls, I couldn’t wait to pack my bags and head to Alabama. I probably should hesitate to admit that so openly to the Internet, but it’s true – it’s been one of my most highly anticipated adventures to date. And the end product did not disappoint. We met safely (though inadvertently in the parking lot) at his local Panera. It took me some time to get over my initial shyness, but once I did, it was a great time.

We did see the sights in spite of the chilly weather, and I was astonished at the beauty of Birmingham. I had expected flat, boring and backward, but I got hilly, robust and impressive. I felt so much more comfortable there than in Memphis. I don’t know if it was the city or the company, but I’m definitely looking forward to going back soon. Imagine neighborhood after neighborhood with houses built on hillsides overlooking the streets below, the cityscape beyond. Cozy little diner-shacks on ridges, views dominated by gaping, uninhabited valleys. Little pockets of downtown reminded me of Ann Arbor. His office building, housed alongside two restaurants and a coffee shop, was just the right mix of modern-industrial and old-style-newsroom feels. We ate at a wonderful little Greek place where we were serenaded by a roving violinist, and we walked up and down the undulating streets of a Birmingham suburb, feeling utterly safe even well after dark.

Highlights of the weekend: the initial meeting, the first hand touch and kiss, finally getting to see “The Dark Knight,” the discussion about being a couple, cuddling on the couch watching “Mythbusters,” eating bowls of generic cereal side by side on Sunday morning and every opportunity we had to talk or just look into each other’s eyes. Oh, and the additional kissing after the first kiss? That was pretty good too.

As I mentioned to him tonight on the phone, I don’t know what to think about this whole situation. For me, it’s a totally different experience from past relationships for several reasons. But, even above and beyond those reasons, there’s something significant in the air between us. It’s definitely electric, but it requires more exploration to define fully. I look forward to investigating it further in Birmingham, in Memphis, through Verizon’s invisible grid. With any luck, you may even get to be in the loop – something I imagine you all will anticipate with bated breath. Hope that sates your curiosity for now!

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10 Comments

Filed under dating, happiness, recap, travel

10 responses to “the birmingham debriefing

  1. Phew… finally I can sleep at night. You have no idea how hard it’s been to be awake and alert waiting for that information for two weeks straight.

    OK, seriously though, congratulations. He sounds decidedly non-suck, which I’ll assign credit as being truly him and not just your ability to make things sound good in writing.

    :-D

  2. e. autumne

    Wow, that was the most positive comment I think I’ve ever received from you. Bravo!

  3. Congrats on the great weekend, and perhaps finding someone worthy. I hope it all continues as well or better that it has been.

    Oh, and yes, Alabama is a lot better than I had imagined. , Course, I was there for work and didn’t get to see a ton, but yeah.

    Anyhow, I glad you get to be happy.

  4. Mandy

    Which Matt is Norconk again?

  5. Not Good

    How dumb to take a chance and stay/sleep with a guy you’ve just met. Even if vibes were good prior to meeting, you should have made arrangements to live in a hotel. Not only did you take a chance with your life, but you also drove hours to meet him. He should’ve come to you and stayed in a hotel. You’re running after him instead of making him come and see you.

  6. Mandy, it’s the other one, er, the one that doesn’t say “the other one”

  7. e. autumne

    Not Good: You make a valid point (whoever you are). I did take a considerable amount of time trying to decide how to handle the situation. I also gave myself ample opportunity to change course and stay in a hotel (or just get back in the car and flee) upon arriving in Birmingham had I felt at all strange about the situation. And perhaps I shouldn’t have gone to him, but I did. And I still think that was the right decision. Thanks for your concern & input!

  8. e. autumne

    Yes, “Matt” = Norconk & “the other one” = not Norconk

  9. Tod

    Congrats and hooray! And pooh on all naysayers and sticks-in-the-mud. INTARWEBS to the rescue again!

  10. Re: not good…

    In general, I’d say it’s much better to go there and have the option of leaving than have someone come meet you and then know where you live. Of course, in both situations, meeting somewhere public first would be a wise precaution, but if you’re near your own home there’s a better chance of them following or finding you.

    That, and carry a gun.

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