Posted by Hal
Last week I added my 1000th friend to Facebook, a move tinged with equal amounts of irony, optimism, skepticism and pragmatism. But let’s save that for another time. Right now, I want to report on my conversation with my new friend.
As you may recall, I promised to get in touch with my 1000th friend and take him or her out to lunch. Alas, my 1000th friend turned out to live in Baytown, Texas, not far from Houston. So instead I called up Marie Angell and we got to know each other over the phone. And instead of buying her lunch, I’m going to send her a tailor made gift package.
I really enjoyed talking to Marie and getting to know her. We had much more in common than I might have imagined, given the random circumstances of our acquaintance. A bit on those random circumstances: Marie became my friend after reading an article I wrote about a failed Facebook party. She looked me up on FB and sent me a message and added me. I asked her: “Did you think I would write you back when you messaged me?” “No,” she admitted. “So why did you bother?” “I’m a ham,” she told me. “I like to express my opinions.” I like her already!
Marie is a parent. She’s got a 16 year old daughter and an 11 year old son, as well as a grown up 22 year old stepson who plays drums in her band. Marie home schools the kids, so the first present I’m going to include is for the kids – a copy of my book for teens, The Big Book of Pop Culture: A How-To Guide for Young Artists. I asked Marie about home schooling and she told me she basically practiced “child led learning”. They don’t have a fixed schedule or tests, though she says she’s making sure that they learn “the basics.”
Next we talked about Marie’s band. Check out The Snake Charmers here. It’s a blues band and it’s a family affair since her husband is the bassist and her stepson is the drummer. There’s also a guitarist they met through Meetup.com. Marie is the singer, keyboardist and wrote all the band’s songs for their upcoming release, which she hopes will be ready in December. I’m planning on buying a copy for sure. I asked Marie how the rest of the band felt about her being the only lyricist and she told me that, “My husband has an engineering background and our guitar player Larry is a chemist so he’s not a word guy either. Eric our drummer is a word guy but his words are psychedelic 60s lyrics that make no sense. So somebody has to put the words there.”
I think, though, that Marie’s being too modest. She is, after all, a published writer. Another point of connection between us is that she writes short short stories also known as flash fiction. She says it’s a hobby and that once she won $20 and another time she got her hands on a $10 Amazon gift certificate. She sent me two of her stories and I think they’re pretty good — they showcase her keen sense of humour and her charmingly understated irony. I’ll include one at the end of this post.
Finally, I asked Marie about the US election. She didn’t vote for Obama because she always votes Libertarian. I looked it up and saw that their candidate for president got 56,398 votes. I asked her how she felt voting Libertarian in a state that always goes Republican. “I’m so accustomed to always losing,” she told me, “I don’t think about it anymore.” Love it! I’m also an optimistic pessimist with a stubborn streak.
Anyway, I was really surprised by how much we had to talk about and how well we got along. Marie is just a really cool person. For all the skepticism I have about FB and social networks, the one fundamental fact is that they bring you in contact with people you would otherwise never have had the chance to meet. We ended our talk agreeing that we were both Internet addicts, and promising to keep in touch. She said that if I ever make it to Houston she’ll buy me lunch, but as far as I’m concerned, I still owe her. In the meantime, since she likes flash fiction I’m going to send her my book of short stories (which is mostly short shorts). Since she’s into music I’m going to make her a mix CD of my favourite Canadian bands and performers. And since she’s a libertarian with an alternative streak, I’m also going to include the last 5 issues of my magazine Broken Pencil, the guide to zines and independent culture. Enjoy all that stuff Marie and thanks for being my 1000th friend!
Hey, I’m Hal Niedzviecki. I’m a writer/thinker who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my wife and daughter. Up till now I’ve always considered myself a private person. But at the same time I’m fascinated by people who effortlessly open themselves up to the whole world. So I’ve… more...
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