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March 27th, 2007

Northern New Jersey

Sunday night I flew into Newark, as my business took me to northern New Jersey. My curious flight took me by way of Chicago, which seems counter-intuitive to me, but somehow made sense to the various dinosaur-like legacy airline fare structures in my hometown area. One of my least favorite things is saddling clients with a needless non-stop business expense, when a one-stop is immeasurably less expensive, but it leads to late night reading on long night treks. I read a 1972 book on house plants and another book on the chess endgame.

Monday morning I met my co-counsel from another fair southern city at the Newark airport. We drove to my client's and did the things we do. Then we headed back to the hotel. Ordinarily, I would have gone to dinner with my co-counsel. It turned out, though, that the suburban locale I currently inhabit is but a whisper from one of my livejournal friends, asphalteden.
He shares my interest in ambient music, and my interest in science fiction, although, not surprisingly, given my dabblerishness in many things, he is much more attuned and aware about both.

It was one of those fortunate coincidences. The town I was in was one small suburb over from where he grew up, and two over from where he lives now. I had known I had a client near him, and we might meet one day. I did not know, though, that I would get to see the actual haunts.

Did you ever have a livejournal friend as to whom you wish you could peek, a bit, into the non-salacious portions of their life. Not a slice of intrigue so much as a slice of personal pound cake--the wholesome, perhaps even sweet things that give life such a bakery goodness.

I know I do. At this very moment, I would like to visit a piano studio, several infants and toddlers, the folk music store at an Appalachian college town, art studios, photo studios, and
a place that makes Baja-styled chicken in southern California.

My visit with asphalteden was a lot like that. We went to dinner at a neighborhood place from which he has ordered the same entree for a zillion years. We drove by the home in which his mother lived. We drove by his old high school. We talked of our jobs, and spouses, and places we'd like to see. The conversation flowed freely and easily. I had a roast chicken, while he had a steak salad. The waitress liberally replenished my diet coke.

I tend to have long discussions with people I like, whether in weblog or out. With us, it was so nice to be able to fit those discussions in spaces larger than 5,000 characters. We but scratched the surface of dozens of topics we've explored in weblog comments, and yet the surface remains inviting and interesting for another meeting. Perhaps another time we'll each have spouses along, and see more of the "whole picture".

He was surprisingly like the way I had pictured him to be. I like that although we share deep interests in topics in the same interest area on which we hold diametrically opposite opinions,
it never seems as if we do. So many times opinions are just frosting--you cut through them to get to the real dessert of interconnection.

Today I had another long work day. My laptop battery died, as I brought by mistake my camcorder charger rather than my laptop charger. I am in a business center in Livingston, New Jersey, working through scads of e mails. I arise at 4:15 to catch a dawn flight home. I had a wonderful meal with my co-counsel on steamed shrimp and broccoli, and my business is well-concluded here.
I am really glad I got to meet my friend B. I sit now in a business center in a hotel called the Westminster in a town called Livingston, New Jersey, which is perhaps as far from Gurdon, Arkansas as one can get. But I feel right at home, somehow.