Talk to my few friends and they will tell you I am an extreme and unapologetic hermit. I work from home, travel on business only under duress, and prefer the company of my keyboard to the company of carbon-based life forms. Which means it is a rare occasion when I get out and about in the public arena. Tonight was one of those times. My company had its Christmas party in Raleigh, so I decided to go over early and drop in to the holiday festivities at the North Carolina Democratic Party headquarters.
The event was a fine affair by any standard. Everyone was upbeat and enthusiastic, and Jerry Meek received plenty of applause, both for the quality and brevity of his comments. Wine and beer were flowing and there was more glad-handing than you could shake a stick at.
The first familiar face I saw was Rep. Grier Martin, the son of DG and Harriet Martin, good friends of mine here in Chapel Hill. He's a great guy and I believe he keeps up with BlueNC regularly.
Next I met Brad Miller and Larry Kissell. They were talking together and were kind enough to let me in on the conversation. Lots of people were very happy to see Larry and he received many well wishes.
After that I introduced myself to Dan Blue, whose son is a regular visitor to BlueNC. I found Mr. Blue reassuring and approachable. He was the best-dressed man in the house, bar none.
I also had the chance to meet Ed Ridpath, though we did not get to talk. Ed had a good run for the House in district 37, but came up short. He is also a regular visitor to BlueNC. Next I met Senator Janet Cowell, a strong progressive who said she never has time for blogs.
Then I had a quick conversation with Representative Deborah Ross, who I adore. She knows all about BlueNC because I tell her about it every chance I get. I also had a good chat with Joe Hackney and his wife Betsy. I apologized to Joe for being a pain in the ass, but quickly said that somebody has to do it. He was gracious and understanding.
Finally, I met Jerry Meek for the first time. He's like nine feet tall (I exaggerate) and everyone in the room wanted his ear. He had to bend down a lot.
And then I left.
To say I felt like a fish out of water is to understate my anxiety by a wide margin. There were maybe 200 people passing through the party and I'm certain that fewer than 25 have any idea what a blog is, let alone that there is a place called BlueNC. Many of them were elected officials, the vast majority of whom are oblivious to anything to do with the Internets.
I'm not sure what to make of all this, but I can tell you, it is hard not to be discouraged. The only glimmer of optimism was a low level of awareness on the part of some people that Larry Kissell's campaign may have somehow benefited from some degree of involvement from some ill-defined online something or other.
The main thing I learned from the experience is that I should stay home more often. This sort of thing takes a certain charm, and I most definitely do not have it.