A couple of weeks back, I gave one of my 8 co-best friends some run with her own Flashback entry. I pretty much detailed how we met on MySpace, became really good friends at an international distance, and eventually met in person during my Stateside vacation in the Summer of 2009. Well, Jade wasn’t the only person from my social media world that I met for the first time during that 5 weeks at home in America. I also met the person who may very well be the next addition to my stable of co-best friends during that time. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: meeting Elpha.
How I first came across this moment? The history of Elpha and I goes back to April 2007…my last days in South Georgia. One of the guys in my squadron shot me a link to join an online community site called CrushSpot. He specifically said “it’s some bad chicks that you can crush on there”. At the time, I was already on MySpace, BlackPlanet, CollegeClub, and XuQa—I was noticeably resisting the urge to join Facebook and the newly-formed Twitter at the time. What’s one more gonna hurt? That’s a question I legitimately wrote in Triumphs & Tribulations VII. So I joined and took the screen name of juanteeze. CrushSpot was actually a pretty easy site to navigate. All the guys had blue lettering to their screen names while the women had pink. There were plenty of forums on the site—from sports to music to relationships to poems—that intrigued me a bit. I immediately noticed a couple of things: (1) everything on the site pretty much flowed through the site’s creator, Mr. Fern and (2) most of the members were from the New York area. As my squadron buddy said, there were some “bad chicks” on CrushSpot. As a then 22-year-old trying to get over the end of a bad relationship that accompanied a personal tragedy, what better way to shake it off than to spit game at women on the Internet. There were a couple that stood out to me. The first was a 24-year-old named threat2chicks. I wanna say that she was Atlanta-based, which is why I was drawn in to her…Atlanta being only 3 hours north of me and all. She seemed to have quite a following on the site…probably because of her provocative profile picture. The other was a New Yorker that went by the name TitsMcGee. And yes, the screen name was very much accurate. She was, perhaps, the most famous woman on the site. A look through a lot of the threads she posted on had numerous replies from Fern, which suggested that they either knew each other personally or had really good rapport on the site. While looking through one of her threads, I came across somebody else…a tall model who seemed to be born for the camera. Her screen name was Elpha. I replied to a few of her posts and that’s pretty much how we met. Over the next 2 years, we got closer as friends on social media…namely Facebook, as we both outgrew CrushSpot. We shared many great conversations on Facebook, through email, and even via phone. She was one of the few people who had my direct line in Tokyo. Ahead of my June 2009 summer vacation in the United States, I made plans to make my New York City debut. With it being her neck of the woods, I informed her that I’d be around but that I didn’t want her to go out of her way to link up with me. My debut came on June 23, 2009 when I got off the R Line at Times Square-42nd Street Station. As I was taking in the sights of the wax figures at Madame Tussauds, I got a text message from Elpha. I told her where I was and about 20 minutes later, she met me right across the street from the Virgin Megastore. That’s where we took the picture above. We hung out for about an hour before she had to dip out to New Jersey.
What it meant to me then? At the time, meeting Elpha in real life was exactly the way it was when I met Jade 1 ½ weeks before: expanding the social circle. Elpha was really cool though. Her in-person personality completely matched her online personality. It was also in that initial meeting that I realized I was taller than I had been led to believe. I was my belief that we were both 5’9” tall but, on that day, she was 5’9” and I was 5’11”. Anyway, she gave me the lay of the land from Times Square to Brooklyn…told me the places to look for and which trains to catch. We walked a few blocks and talked…even hung out on the steps of the Farley Post Office Building, people watching the homeless and tourists alike. It was a good time.
What it means to me now? Today, Elpha is as close to a co-best friend that I have without the actual designation. One of these days, I’ll go ahead and make it official. We’ve been cool peeps for 8 years now. If you ask me, she’s one of the realest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. She always shoots it straight. And she loves her native St. Lucia. We still exchange thoughts and opinions online, via text and phone. She still keeps me honest in terms of my grammar—she’s a bigger grammar Nazi than I am. Simply put, she’s one of my great friends. I’m glad I joined CrushSpot and met her.