"Your first trip to Ireland and your first meeting with Jamie" requested by Mary who was responsible from the start that me and James ever met.
It was in the days of IRCmania. It was the 'in' thing to do, to go to an IRC channel and chat to total strangers and have cyber marriages, cybersex, cyber theater plays with various people playing different characters or just a one man show where he/she changed his nickname to make a point not to mention cyber wars and hostile takeovers of various chatrooms. It was when the geek could earn a name as a genius hacker if he could spoof, flood and kill.
Mary was one of the first people I got to know really well over the internet. She was one of the gang in a channel called #cheeky_fookahs. We were a crazy bunch of people sitting up all hours of the night and day to chat to each other. Sometimes you just wanted to fool around a bit and joke and other times you needed a friendly ear who would listen to your troubles and worries and tell you that everything was going to be alright. And Mary, she is a very warm and understanding woman, will sit and listen to all your worries and tell you that everything will be alright, and in the end it is alright, because she said it is. But sometimes she finds you someone who she thinks would be perfect for you and introduces him with an innocent excuse that she has to do something and would I please keep him company for a while. So I did. And I don't know when it clicked, but it clicked, big time.
After a few months we'd got to know each other so well that we started to talk about seeing each other in real. I think it was Mary who suggested a party at her place, in Ireland, and that we should get together with the others in the chat room as well. In the end only Brian (twant) and Richie (SaWnOff) part from James and me would make it over to Dublin. And indeed it was a nervous affair. I can still remember that Friday when Mary and me were waiting at the airport for Richie and James' flights to land. It was busy at the airport and flights were being delayed so in the end it was Richies flight that came in first and when James flight had landed there must have been loads of planes coming in because all you could see was this wall of people moving slowly from the arrivals hall to the exits. But no James, after a while we heard a msg that would please Mrs Mary and Mirjam! go to the information desk, James is waiting. And there he was a nervous, pale, shaggy dog looking James. But he saw us coming and I can swear to this day that if I would have poked him he would have fallen over but instead I gave him a long warm hug and asked if he was alright and his answer was "I am alright now"