It’s a funny thing when something you don’t think about much suddenly crosses your path not once, but over and over again. I’m sure it has happened to you. You go about your life, minding your own business, with nothing particularly remarkable or out of the ordinary happening from one day to the next, just the “same old, same old” stuff. Next thing you know you’re reading the newspaper and your eye catches a small article on the bottom left hand corner of the page, the one with the full page ad your bank has placed to let you know how diligent they are about saving you money while you wonder why they had to spend all that money to let you know when a simple robo-call would have sufficed. The following day you’re on the bus avoiding eye contact with everyone, because who really wants to admit, even to themselves that they are on the bus, and you start reading the placards from front to back and there it is again. The last straw comes when you log into your most recent MOOC (did I mention I finally passed my Harvard course?) and lo and behold, there it is again and you’re convinced that not only is this a significant trend but maybe even a movement (thanks Arlo) and you better get down to business and start writing about it before someone else does. And that’s how we got here.
Let me start by saying that as a shallow person I’m not one for joining much of anything, especially not things that would put me into close contact with a whole bunch of people I don’t know. So as I write about this apparently new phenomenon I will put my bias on the table and admit upfront that the whole thing is not really something I can subscribe too or even understand. But it is what it is and, like Twitter, just because I don’t do it doesn’t mean it’s not happening and shouldn’t find its way to the Shallow Blog. Which is why, in case you haven’t already heard, I want to tell you about “Meet-Ups”, which are no longer “run of the mill” get togethers, you know, the kind you used to have with people you actually knew. No, these are special get togethers, and like much else in our overly connected world, have been redefined as “a meeting, especially a regular meeting of people who share a particular interest and have connected with each other through a social-networking Web site” (dictionary.com). And that’s the key. No longer do you just call up a couple of friends, people you have known and loved for who knows how long, to meet at the local coffee-shop and talk about whatever it is friends talk about. Nope. Now you go to your local “Meet-Up” website, find an aptly named group with a rather singular focus that interests you, determine if they are accepting new members and, if they are, if you are an acceptable new member, signup, check the calendar for the next meeting, put it in your calendar and finally, make your way to the designated site (ironically, usually a coffee shop of some sort) where, hopefully, there will be more than one other person with whom you can meet because otherwise, it seems to me, you’d have been just as well to have stayed home. You might also want to keep your fingers crossed that when you get to the ascribed location that there is a sign or something on the designated table as otherwise I fear you will be walking up to numerous groups of people you don’t know in an effort to find the right people you don’t know.
In case you think this is just some passing fad, a fleeting moment in time, have a look around the internet for Meet-Ups in your local area and I can assure you, having done extensive research for this blog, you will find no shortage of options from which to choose. In my area alone there must be a couple of hundred Meet-Ups covering an astounding array of topics. For example, there’s the “Libertarian Meet-Up” which I find a little confusing as what the heck are they doing forming an organization of like minded folks? The “Jesus, Ice Cream and Beer Group” is intriguing but makes me wonder whether you have to like all of those things to join or if you can just pick one. The “Church Thing Group“, while the name at first glance may appear a little vague, is more specific with their objective to “try to figure God out”. If you join this one I’m afraid you may be in for the long haul. And you might want to stay clear of the “Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics Meet-Up” as I would hate to think what might happen should the two groups actually find themselves meeting up. Unlike the “Gardening, Vegetarian and Vegan Meet-Up” who could get together with the “Pagan Meet-Up” to form the “Pagan, Vegans”. There’s the “Emotion’s Anonymous Group” which is dedicated to getting people together to work out their emotional difficulties. Nice, but I would think this one could get a little depressing. Of course there are a whole bunch of groups that focus on achieving financial success and if I had to chose one to attend it would probably be the “Abundance and Cashflow Group” as I figure that’s my best shot at snagging a free coffee.
All this talk about Meet-Ups got me to thinking that there could be some value in organizing a “Shallow Meet-Up“. People could get together at their local coffee shop and sit around talking about stuff like how the guy cutting his nails in the next cubicle is really annoying, or who should or shouldn’t win the next season of “America’s Got Talent”, or how difficult it is to get a “no foam” latte made correctly, or maybe even about this blog. People can self-identify as shallow and just about anyone who wants to join is more than welcome. It would be very “Seinfeldesque” although that group just “met up” without having to organize a Meet-Up. The more I think about it the more convinced I am that it could work. And, if it does, it would be great if you could drop me a line to let me know how it goes.
A little something extra: To my friends in Southern Alberta, and especially those in High River, we are thinking about you all of the time. I hope this blog can bring a smile to your face, even if it’s just for a moment.