I'm lazy! So you know what? You're getting the copy+pasted and split up version of a comment I left last year in Metatalk:
Is this a Secret Quonsar Sharing Time Post?
Okay so awesome - back in the day, and by back in the day I mean over 10 years ago, I was a proto-nerd living on IRC in an obscure channel called #avalon, a fan-channel for the webcomic of the same name, about Canadian teenagers. But really it was a group of about two dozen people who all had astounding chemistry with one another and I guess I really needed somewhere to belong. From #avalon, I learned many things, including vitally important lessons about love and growing up and friendship and also of the existence of Metafilter. And, more specifically, the fact that I was not the smartest damn person on Earth, and here was an entire webblog full of whipsmart people, and damned if they weren't intimidating and always posting interesting things and having cogent discussions about them.
Lonely Geek On Quonsar
So one of my #avalon compatriots, Mary, lived up in Boston, and when I went to college in the same town, I figured we'd meet up and be best friends for life. But we managed, miraculously, to never meet in person, despite living in the same town, and even the same T stop! for going on 5 years. At that point, #avalon had nearly dissolved, and we had nothing else in common, not really.
Most of #avalon isn't on MeFi. I bought an account only recently. I had no idea, but Mary is apparently on here, too. Why do I know this now? Because, of all the people on the Quonsar Elfster list, Mary was my Secret Quonsar. She sent me a box stuffed FULL of goodies from our old mutual hometown in Boston. All the shops I would go to, all the windows I'd pass every day, she was passing too, and walking the same sidewalks as me, and we never bumped into each other. Except here on Metafilter, now that I've lived all the way across the country from her for going on two years, she showed me with remarkable clarity just how often our paths overlapped.
The internet is a small place.