I should point out that this happened a very long time ago, 1997. This was back when the internet was much younger. This was the day of free dating sites and IM services that allowed location searches, before companies got wise to the dating revenue lost out by people using ICQ, Yahoo, etc. Anyhow, I was on IRC chatting around, when I ran across this person named “Vladicus.” We were both in North Carolina, albeit quite a ways apart. So I start chatting with “Vladicus” and the topic becomes sexual, as usual.
Now, at this point, I was very naive to the ways of internet dating. I thought everyone was as they seemed. We chatted every night for a few weeks, talking about everything under the sun. We did the cybersex thing (do people do that, anymore?) quite a bit, as well…
Well, I finally decide I want to meet in person, this great chick I was talking to, who by this time told me her name was Michelle. So I set up a meeting with her. It was a kind of on-the-fly kind of thing, one evening. I offered to drive to Rocky Mount, to meet up with her in the middle of the night. She agreed and gave me her phone number. So, I left around 11PM all excited at finally meeting this mystery woman (I guess I left out the part about no pic, but this was before everyone had a webcam or digital camera).
I drive, drive, drive, and drive some more. This was a four hour drive. I get to Rocky Mount about 3AM.
I go to the nearest phone booth and call.
I try again.
By now, I am starting to get pissed off. I keep calling.
Finally, someone answers the phone. She sounded like she was coming out of coma and was very pissed off that I kept calling. She yelled “HELLO!?!?!?!”
“Is this Michelle?” I asked…
“MICHELLE IS DEAD!!!”
All of the sudden, I got this very big lump in my throat… I can barely describe the feeling I had. I had just driven four hours to call what was probably the parents of a dead girl named Michelle at 3AM.. I had never felt so pathetic in my life. I got in my car and hauled-ass back home. I had four hours of feeling very creepy.
Next night, I hunted down this “Vladicus” and found out even more creepy news. “Vladicus” claimed she was really a he. Yes, a gay guy with a very warped sense of humor. I forget the rest of the conversation, but that was the end of it. And I learned a very serious lesson. Think before you go rushing out in the middle of the night, because there are some real wack jobs in the world.