I did something this past Sunday night that I have never done before. And, I will admit, I did it rather poorly. I attended a gathering of South Florida bloggers at a dinner hosted by the very gracious Gus Moore of Miami Beach 411. How and why I snagged a spot on the guest list still puzzles me, as new to this geographic realm as I am. Regardless, Gus and his wife were incredibly nice to include me. Thanks to Rick, one of the two talented, creative forces behind Stuck on the Palmetto, I was able to ride shotgun and actually get to the dinner, rather than spend hours driving aimlessly up and down 95 or Federal Highway.
I was a nervous wreck about attending, as much as I was excited to get out and meet people beyond my beach town. It seemed so weird to think about introducing myself to so many as simply Restaurant Gal. It seemed so weird to think about introducing myself to anyone at all as Restaurant Gal.
Nerves talking: These folks are good writers and thinkers and photographers, so creative. Do you measure up, even a little?
Excitement talking: These folks are so creative. I can’t wait to talk to so many of them.
Nerves talking: Yeah, but you’re Restaurant Gal, not “you.” It’s not like you can really talk too much about who you are, where you work, what it’s like, and so on.
Excitement talking: Maybe that doesn’t matter. I can still be me.
Nerves talking: OMG. It TOTALLY matters. Um, last time we nerves checked in with you, you were an anonymous blogger.
Excitement talking: Ha! I can balance it all and still engage in conversation and have a great time!
Nerves talking: Whatever….
Excitement talking: Whatever!
Reality: Rick asking, “So how’s it going? What do you think?”
Me: “Um, taxi!”
Because I had no idea what to say to the cool writer from the Herald. I had no clue how to interact with the cute girl in the cute outfit who seemed we’d have a great time laughing about stuff, who cares what she writes about or doesn’t. I could barely talk to our host, except in tight smiles and curt nods. Because I couldn’t be me, and I couldn’t be the other me, either. I was just a no-name, not-so-very-well-read restaurant gal, after all. Pathetic was I, but so comforting was our dinner, all wrapped in one platter of yummy chicken and steak and veggies and potatoes–a gluten allergy gal’s dream come true. Yes, it is true, I could eat 90 percent of everything served. And that, faithful readers, was the best part of the night!
Except this part: when Fanless, a young guy whom I immediately knew as I met him, although I had never read him, leaned over mid dinner and said something about my loving fries. Fries. What? You actually read my blog enough to know that? I love you. Seriously.
Because I was the once-again an awkward gal at this dinner. I couldn’t even be real with our host. And for that, I am a little ashamed. I would love a do-over. Next time, I would be charming, I would engage everyone. I would be the life of this party, because I would have a life.
And then today I read how Rick is struggling with outing issues, and how he might give up his blog. And I remembered my own experience a little more than a year ago with outing. And how serious and painful that all seemed at the time, and how much I want to tell Rick, “It will all pass, for the better. I promise.”
So I write this public thank you to Gus: Dinner was the best. Your generosity and easy welcome was so wonderful. Trust me when I tell you I actually have manners and class. I simply hid behind anonymity and forgot how to show them.
Which is nothing compared to what Rick is struggling with on this night. Which is something I know all too well.
Gus: I also hope we have reason to professionally interact many more times in the future.
Rick: Follow what feels right, what you know, what you know feels right. Because you know that I know.
Nerves: You okay Gal?
Excitement: Of course. I have to be. I always am.
Some of the cool bloggers who attended the dinner, all of whom are well worth the visit and many reads:
Ipanemic, Miami Rhapsody, All Purpose Dark, Dan Renzi, Fanless, Discourse.net, Blenderlaw, Miami Condo Investments, Miami Vision Blogorama, A Mom, A Blog and the Life In-Between, South Beach Real Estate Blog, Burnett’s Urban Etiquette and Miami Fever.
For the record: Fanless–um, yeah. A Mom, A Blog and the Life In-Between–you are adorable and so nice to have commented on my site; why didn’t I talk to you for hours??? Burnett’s Urban Etiquette: I know from good writing, from talent. Miami Fever: A certain wannabe photographer is supremely jealous of your captures. Stuck on the Palmetto: Thank you, and keep your voice, no matter what.