I met my husband, Matt, as an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania. When people ask how we met, I say I hit him over the head with a newspaper, but that’s only part of the story- the punch line of a romance that continues now for 24 years, although we’ve only been married for 15 of those.
Recently, I noticed someone on twitter, Keith Burtis, who does some terrific woodworking projects through Magic Woodworks. Matt loves working in his wood shop, and so the idea of finding someone in social media with similar interests to my husband seemed interesting. I started talking to Keith about maybe getting something he’s made for Matt for his upcoming birthday. Something special and different. Matt’s an obstetrician by day, but wood is his hobby and creative outlet, so finding something that speaks to that isn’t easy.
Keith made a really amazing footed bowl for Matt, signed and everything. It arrived in the mail, along with pictures of how it was made and the whole story behind it, and two beautiful wine corks, also in beautifully turned wood. I was so excited, I gave these to Matt yesterday as an early Valentine’s/Birthday present, happy to get something custom made for the love of my life, something beautiful, personal, and special. As a bonus, it turns out Keith is a custom cabinet maker himself during the day, the kind of guy Matt might really enjoy getting to know. Maybe they’ll get to play in their shops together sometime, like Norm and his crew on Old Yankee Workshop.
It also turns out timing is everything. Keith is looking to save a little money for something special for the love of his life as well. (Don’t want to spoil any secrets!) This project helps him finance his secret project, keeping the love and caring flowing.
Social Media can bring you surprising opportunities and possibilities. It may seem like it’s all fluff and coffee talk, but here’s one more small example of how a chance bit of chatter on twitter led to something a bit bigger and special for everyone involved, including those parts of the equation who are “offline” and not part of the grid we all cling to. It’s about creativity, mutual support and caring. It’s about community. And even if that’s all that it’s about, I feel like I win the game every day.
Sure, this is a story about finding a perfect gift for someone- a bespoke, custom made piece. It’s about finding a way to tell someone you love them. And it’s about creativity, possibilities, and dreams. But the most important part is that serendipity is a terrific muse, and all you have to do is listen for her song.