Facebook meetups have mostly been discouraged by security buffs, and for good reason. In this day and age, it’s very difficult to be sure that your Facebook friends are really who they say they are. That nice-looking guy who claims to have the same fondness for cooking as you do might just be a serial killer with a fixation on cooks. Every stranger you add to your Facebook page is a gamble, a security risk that we often advise against.
But for ArLynn Presser, anIllinoiswoman suffering from Agoraphobia, a condition that makes it extremely difficult for her to venture outside her home, much less her hometown, her Facebook friends accounted for much of her social life. Her sons had already moved out of the house, and she found herself spending more and more time in front of the PC. Soon enough, she already had more than 300 Facebook friends, some of whom were old classmates, some were fans of Fritz Reuter Leiber, her grandfather who was a famous sci-fi novelist, some were people she had met playing online scrabble, and still some were pets.
Her condition severely limited her horizons, so last December, she thought about working to overcome it by venturing out into the world and going to meet each one of her Facebook friends. Some weren’t too keen on the idea, even going so far as to unfriend her or block her. There were still, however, 325 people who stayed and agreed to meet her – and thus began her remarkable quest to meet all her online friends – yes, including the animals.
Currently, she has visited more than 280 of her friends in 13 countries. Before the New Year rolls in, she expects to have met 292 of them, bringing her closer and closer to the completion of her goal. So far, she has gone mountain climbing, learned opera singing, attended a Zumba dance class, and even learned to open a champagne bottle using a sabre.
Her story is a very touching tribute to life and the celebration thereof. Presser has more than overcome her fear; she conquered it! It hasn’t been an easy road for her and there were times during her trip that she suffered from anxiety attacks. But there’s really no doubt that she did an extremely brave thing that few people would dare to do. We certainly aren’t advocating her actions, but you have to admire her triumph.
Her story is actually being documented by a film producer. If you’re interested you can check out the Kickstarter project and keep up with their progress.