In the summer of 1999, I started graduate school in journalism. At the end of the first week, a group of us went for drinks and formed the beginning of friendships that continue still. I told Baby Daddy at the time, “These are my people.” I’ve always been a little quirky. I’ve had wonderful friends throughout my life, but I’m the weird girl in the group. I’m too loud; I ask too many questions; my humor is strange. These people were the same as me, not in race, place of birth, political affiliation or religion, but somewhere inside we were all a little weird. I honestly think you have to be kinda nuts to be a journalist. Because we were odd, we fit together.
Now my people live all over the country. Baby Daddy and I obviously settled in Little Rock. Some of us have left the journalism field; others have remained and do wonderful work. Best I can tell, we’re all doing pretty well. I haven’t seen most of them in years. I miss my people and the safety I found in that environment. To be clear, I have fabulous friends. Baby Daddy and I have a wonderful circle of amazing people in our lives. We are truly blessed. But they are much more normal than me. That’s why they are sane.
Last year, two friends I know professionally in town Natalie and Angel started joking around on Twitter that each were getting close to (I think it was) 400 followers. A bet was made that whoever got to 400 first got a drink from the other. My friend Stacey and I both perked up like Scooby Doo, “Drinks? Social? Fun?” Things took off from there. Let’s invite EVERYONE! So the call went out: We’re having a TweetUp! Anyone in Little Rock on Twitter, let’s meet up at Sticky Fingerz. We’ll be nerds. Won’t that be fun?!
Turned out, it really was fun. It was also SO HOT. For some reason we had a little heat wave that night and the AC didn’t seem to work. I got a spider bite on the patio, but no special powers, which was really disappointing. I made a fool of myself in front of Robert Blake. I met a bunch of new people in Little Rock. Baby Daddy made fun of me for being the biggest geek of all time. But I didn’t care about that. I had a sneaking suspicion these were my people.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve gone to the monthly TweetUps when I can. Since that time, our community has grown. I’ve become dear friends with some of the people I met at Tweetups. I’ve become better friends with others I already knew. I’ve done business with people some folks there. Some of them have come to church with me. I have laughed so hard my face hurts at some of the antics of this crowd. I have been genuinely sad for folks who’ve gone through tough times.
I have always believed there were more people in Little Rock who were creative and interesting and fun than just the ones I already knew. I was right. Little Rock TweetUps caused our paths to cross.
I am so glad Angel and Natalie made that bet. I am richer for it. One of them got a drink. I found more of my people.