A few weeks ago, I took my kids to home school swim at our local aquatic center. I was sitting in the zero depth area trying to hide my very pale legs under the water while I played with the baby.

A woman came running over to me from across the pool. I wondered if she was bringing urgent news that she had an extra bottle of self-tanning cream in her bag.

“Aren’t you the blog lady?!” she asked. (She really did sound excited when she asked, so I’m not exaggerating with the exclamation point.)

“Yes!” I answered. “I mean… maybe.” Was it my imagination or did she just call me “the blog lady?” My mind was racing to try to answer.

“I don’t know…,” I stammered. “I do have a blog.”

“I read your blog all the time,” she said. (Well, she did say something to that effect. Perhaps she said, “I used to read your blog all the time” or “I read your blog a few times.”)

She went on to tell me that I had even convinced her to watch Lost. After reading my Lost posts, she told her husband they had to get in on the series before the show ended, and they actually watched all six seasons in less than a year.

“WHAT?” I was thinking. (No, actually, I think I said, “WHAT?!” very loudly, but you know how noisy it can be at an indoor pool, so I can’t be sure if I said it out loud or just thought it very loudly in my mind.) Anyway, I couldn’t believe that not only did I have a reader I barely knew, but I had influenced her life in some weird, time-consuming, meaningless way.

I had met this woman more than a year ago at a park. It was the day I met my real life imaginary friend, Holly. We were discussing how we got to know each other through our blogs. This woman seemed interested, but I had no idea she had actually gone to the trouble to track down my blog address and had been reading.

She also couldn’t have known how she had made my day.

Blogging can be a tricky hobby. Anyone who blogs will understand what I mean. I write because I need to write. It makes me feel better. I don’t write so people will read. And yet, I want people to read. And when they don’t, or when I think they don’t, then I convince myself that my writing is ridiculous. “Why do I do this?” I ask myself. “Why do I feel I need to write in such a vulnerable, public way, when no one reads but me?”

And at just the moment I have convinced myself that not a single solitary soul on the planet reads my blog and I should delete the whole darned thing off the face of the blogosphere, some woman I barely know runs up to me at the pool and asks me if I am “the blog lady” as if I’m actually a real, bonafide blogger who has real, bonafide readers.

OK. So I know I have a handful of people who read my blog on a semi-irregular, halfway inconsistent basis. And I’ve even influenced a few others to waste a perfectly good year of their lives watching six seasons of Lost all at once.

But it’s so easy to get caught up in comparing myself to the woman who boasts she grew to 1,000 readers in one year or the blah blah blah blogger who gets 562 comments every day. Comparing myself in any area of life always leads me to trouble. I’m trying to stop. Really! I am!

So today I just wanted to say “Thank you” to The Pool Lady. And to the people who now strike up conversations with me about Ugg boots. And the friend who texted me a covert photo of someone wearing Uggs with shorts at the grocery store. And the people who have e-mailed me with the grammatical errors that annoy them most. Those things really mean a lot to me.

So, today, I have a question. I would love to learn more about anyone who might be reading today.

Would you leave me a comment with your name, your blog address (if you have one) and the answer to this question: “Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?”

I don’t have any reason for asking this question other than the fact that I love to know these things about people. Do you find that you are energized by being around people or by being alone? (Just for fun, you also can tell me if you find yourself comparing yourself to others in any ridiculous, unhealthy ways. =] )

If you haven’t left a comment before, just look for the little radio button that says “Name/URL.” You can fill in your first name and leave your comment. You don’t need to have a Blogger account or web site. Thanks!

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