My friend Eran first shared Metafilter with me, years ago.
How many years ago, though, is in question. It seems like a really long time. Every time I take a stab, like, just spitballing, I overestimate by so much that I end up inadvertently claiming to have read Metafilter a long time before it was even up.
Which is, you know, unlikely.
But let's say I was 20 years old, which is believable to me, and would put my first pageview around 2001 or 2002. That squares with my memory of where I was at; out of highschool and dropped out of college, living drunk on Eran's couch with my girlfriend. Seems right to me. So that's what we'll say.
A Really Good Doughnut
I found out there was going to be this big 2007 meetup in Portland. Because I'd been lurking for years, but only participating for a couple months, I'm real familiar with the site, but the mechanics of a "meetup" are still pretty foreign to me. But I'd move to Portland a year or two prior, and it's at this great arcade/bar and Matt's buying the beer and Metafilter's got some fine people and the whole thing's free, so I figure, fuck it, right? I chime in on the meetup thread, with some directions for out-of-towners and a strong endorsement of the all-night doughnut shop down the street. The doughnut shop is Voodoo Doughnut, and they make all kinds of spectacular affronts to cuisine, from bacon-topped maple bars to cock-shaped monstrosities to NyQuil-glazed Pepto-Bismol doughnuts (no longer available; probably for the better).
So anyways, after work I show up at the meetup and get my name tag. Because I'd had this surprising and ultra-flattering little outpouring of support for my first post three months prior, I half-expected people to recognize my username as soon as they saw me, and start chatting me up about Buster Keaton. In reality, of course, there was no mob clamoring for me, but I did have a chance to chat briefly with a few great folks, give Haughey a quick handshake, and – after kind of a Woodstock's-A-Free-Concert-From-Now-On moment where Matt told everyone we'd bought more beer than we could drink so the 3-free-drink-limit was annulled – drink somewhere around one hundred thousand beers.
By midnight, most folks have gone home, but I figure the combined intoxication of video games and gallons of beer is probably going to keep me here for a while. The thing is, though, even though I've been here for hours, I've only talked to maybe four or five people, allowing my initial coyness to wash into a fuzzy drunken self-conscious blur stumbling from one arcade machine to another. So there I am plugging more quarters into Donkey Kong with my hundred thousandth beer in my hand, when up walks this sweet girl holding a big pink cardboard box, and she smiles really big and says, "Do you want a doughnut?" It's Jessamyn.
And, you know, click. There's this revelation that actually bridges the gap between the names on the website and the actual, physical existence of real, wonderful people. One day earlier I had said on a website, here is a doughnut shop that I think is pretty good, and now through some bizarre and wonderful machinations, I'm standing, dumbstruck and completely drunk at the Donkey Kong machine, and here's Jessamyn holding out a box of these very same doughnuts in front of me, her eyes literally twinkling from the flashing arcade screens around us, saying, "go on," you know, "take one."
And I did; I said thank you, and I took a Captain Crunch doughnut, and it was a really good doughnut.