I've been laughed at. My sanity has been questioned. I've even been told that the idea was all just a part of Skynet's plan for world domination. But I can now proudly say that "the experiment" (or The Creepy Twitter Experiment) can be executed successfully without death or even serious injury. As a refresher: I wrote a script to pick a person completely randomly from people I follow on Twitter. I wanted to meet those who we mutually follow, but never met. After the first person not replying to my crazy request I got Peter. Tuesday night, 6:30pm, I met Peter Cales, a complete stranger in every sense, at Darios in Dundee, Omaha.
I was wondering if it was a sign. Outside of Darios there was some kind of setup for shooting video of some sort. Commercial, or movie, or who knows. But I took a quick photo and passed through it into the restaurant.
I sat down at the bar and saw a Tweet from him that he was on his way. He soon walked through the door. From the distance not looking much different than the 80x80 pixel avatar that I previously only knew him by on Twitter. He sat down next to me at the bar and it was on.
I love the fact that he was #1 of this crazy thing. He's a self admitted non-technical person who has a passion for making custom furniture. But we soon found what we didn't have in common at the surface people like him and I really do have have here at the core in Omaha. Him and I both find ourselves right at home among the Omaha (overused term of) Creative Class. We quickly came to talking about Jeff and Dusty, SPN, Big Omaha. I told him the story about just moving here and receiving a tweet from Jeff welcoming me and hoping him and I could chat soon. He told me about his 5 in 5 he did for Silicon Prairie News that I had previously seen, but never put it together that it was him. I told him about my interview with Danny for Retweet Thursday. And then trying to explain retweet thursday in a way that doesn't make it sound stupid. But it's totally stupid, so that's impossible.
We talked of the beer selection. Quite large for an Omaha bar. I was impressed. I'll be going back. Win. I found a new place to frequent and tried a new beer.
His friend Rachel came up to us and he introduced me to her. She courteously asked "so how do you two know each other?" He looked at me as if to say "that's absolutely the wrong question to be asking". We tried to explain how I selected him randomly among everyone who I follow on Twitter. But really, there's no way to discuss that without sounding like complete moron either. Leaving it at the fact it was our first time hanging out, and we met on the internet is about all you can expect. I asked Rachel to take the photo of us, and she was on her way.
I learned how he does his work at the Bemis center, downtown. The bartender, who he knew previously, was interested in stopping down to check out his stuff. That would be fun, actually. In my group of friends it's cool to know someone who really makes something. Sure, code, and words, and all of that stuff... it's real, and it has value. But something tangible and usable is certainly a world that I forget even exists sometimes. Who designed the couch I'm sitting on now? Who designed the keyboard I'm typing on? Well, Johnny Ive did... but you get the idea.
Plenty of other things came up in conversation. He asked of my job and even though I don't really like talking about what I do and who I work for generally I'm glad I did. I explained all the process and procedures that goes on in a day in my position. He gave a gratifying "I'm glad I don't do that" type response. It's good to know I'm not crazy :)
As I finished my Hoegaarden we parted ways. He said we should do it again sometime. How cool is that, right?
Now that it's all said and done you're probably thinking "Huh, cool", right? How many people do you know that make fancy custom furniture?
We haven't picked a time or place, but Maren Hogan is up next.
Oh, and being that it's Retweet Thursday... you know what to do.