One time was while we were participating in outdoor recreation hour with the Arabic students. We happened to be playing right outside the building on campus where I used to teach LSAT prep classes. I got to feeling pretty nostalgic about it - that was a job I really enjoyed, and it paid amazingly well (especially for Provo), and my students were always dedicated and attentive and serious, and I got free donuts every Saturday...
As I was reminiscing, I realized that we were even playing outside the building at the exact day and time I used to teach. It was just a few moments later that I noticed people walking in the building with LSAT prep materials in hand. I don't know who teaches it now, but apparently they still hold the class at the same time at the same place.
All the people walking in looked so pert and smart. I had the sudden urge to pull one of them aside and say, "yeah, I used to teach your class. I may be covered in sidewalk chalk dust and baby snot right now, and wearing the equivalent of a t-shirt and jeans, and I have a MomChop AND it's pulled back into a ponytail, but back in the day, I used to teach your class."
It's probably a good thing I didn't do it, though, right?
However, I'm not so sure I shouldn't have approached this next person. We were at Storytime at the library and one of the little kids looked so familiar to me. It took me a few minutes to figure out that while I'd never met her in real life, I read her aunt's blog on a regular basis. I don't know her aunt, either, but she's blogged about her niece enough times that I recognized her when I saw her. Weird, I know. My dilemma was whether or not I should say something in casual conversation with the girl's mom (who the blogger has also written about before).
What do you think? Would that have been totally weird? I can't decide if it would have freaked the mom out or if she would have taken it as the compliment to her sister the blogger I meant it to be. In my world, if someone recognized me from my blog, that would just about make my year. Tom Zoellner recognized me when I showed up at his book presentation, and although I guess that was technically because of my blog, he knew I was going to be there so I don't know that it counts.
All of this brings up the wider issue of whether/how we should disclose to others - strangers or friends - that we read their blog. I know that a few times in my experience, I've gotten to know someone through their blog better than I do in person (though I usually catch up in real life eventually) (usually). I've heard of other people reading up on the blog of someone they are potentially interested in romantically, and then not telling them that they did so, even feigning surprise and interest when the person later tells them things they already know from blog-stalking.
Reading the blogs of strangers or even friends you just don't see that often also leads to the strange phenomenon of feeling all caught-up when you do finally meet or see each other again in person. I think it's an odd feeling, but a good kind of odd.
What do you think about all this? Should I start talking to strangers more often? And what are the rules of etiquette when blogging intersects with real life?