When I was a teenager I wasn't terribly involved with the people around me. My family is full of decent people, but I just don't have a lot in common with them and didn't want to spend all my time around them, especially at sixteen. I didn't have any really close friends, and without very much transportation out of the suburban sprawl my time turned to the internet.
I'm not clear on exactly how I found metafilter, but I know it was around the same time I started reading all the scientist blogs I could find, so one of them probably linked me to it. I started off on the green, as most of us do, and made a regular habit of checking every question with even a tangential relation to something I could ever be interested in. This was a huge, friendly community of mature people smarter than I could ever hope to be and it constantly blew my mind. I got direct exposure to worlds I'd never imagined and couldn't get enough, so when I had a problem with my mom that I couldn't solve on my own I took the plunge, paid my five dollars, and asked the smartest people I knew.
nothing much, just thanks for existing
I've been living in the middle of nowhere for 3 of the five years I've known about metafilter and the entire time I've been of age to enter bars around here, so no epic meetup stories yet.
Unfortunately, I'm not the kind of person to jump into a logged conversation unless I'm certain I've got something useful to add, so I haven't really involved myself in the community very much, and the rare couple of times I find something great to post to the blue I always seem to be sniped by just a few minutes. Even as a lowly consumer, it's nice to be able to speak intelligently about gender issues and politics and state flags and pixies mashups with the people around me in meatspace, spreading the joy, snark, and knowledge that so embody this absolutely wonderful community.