I believe I found MetaFilter via a link on lileks.com sometime in late 2001. I lurked for about a year until getting in during The Great New Membership Awakening of '02. Aye, those were the days, children! We had to walk uphill, both ways, in the snow to get our MetaFilter fix. And we were lucky.
In Which MetaFilter and Morphine Offer Comfort in Equal Measure
I have too many fond memories of MeFi to count, only several of which involve getting drunk with mods. (Well, several of my fond memories in general have involved getting drunk with mods, but that's another story.) There was the massive meetup/bacchanalia with Matt at Farmers Market... the melodious night of Beatles Rock Band with cortex... and, of course, nightcaps with Jess at the legendary Jumbo's Clown Room.
But it wasn’t till last year that the Sheer Greatness of MetaFilter really made itself clear to me. Dealing with a year of cancer treatment will give even the perkiest girls pause; it’s frightening and painful, no matter how you slice it (or get sliced), and never more so than the moment I woke up in intensive care after my first surgery. Groggy and hurting, I took the most immediately essential things in: there’s my boyfriend; there’s the button for the morphine; there’s my laptop, opened to – I squinted, then asked for my glasses – MetaTalk?
Even with my glasses on, my eyes wouldn’t really focus. I asked my boyfriend what it was, and he said it was a link to a thread that someone had posted on my blog. He began to read it to me: the original post wishing me well, and then dozens – hundreds – of comments chiming in. I laughed, then I cried (from the pain in my stitches generated by the laughter, you hilarious bastards), then I laughed again, thanks to the morphine.
I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating: I don’t know what the previous year would have been like for me without the MetaFilter community. I literally can’t count the number of MeFites who helped me in so many different ways, from emails cheering me on to sending endless reading material to showing up at the house with dinner. I remain grateful for all of it. Even when things felt pretty damn bad at times, I never felt like I was alone. It was humbling and, in all seriousness, pretty life-changing to have been shown such enormous kindness. The only thing I can do is try in some way to return it, on a daily basis, both at MetaFilter and in the world.