back in december of 1996, i went music shopping at haffa’s used records on campus at ohio university in athens ohio and i picked up a copy of hello by the artist poe for 25 cents. i had previously obtained a sampler cd that had the title track on it when i applied for a discover card that later got me into a bit of trouble. that, however, is another story.
my birthday was approaching in january and i was in a rather depressed state, when i fell upon poe.org. it was a fan community before internet based fan communities were common. it was a place where i could fit in and we all shared at least one common interest, a love of poe’s music. on my birthday that year i went into the chatroom for the first time, and lo and behold, in that chatroom, all by herself, was poe. others soon followed, some of which became very good acquaintances and friends of mine. soon, i was planning to join a group of these people for a road trip to richmond virginia and washington dc. these people went out of their way just to pick me up, and it was one of the best times of my young adult life. at the dc show, i met a girl who stole my sharpie, but was someone that i found remarkable and would remember. i liked her but didn’t know much about her. on my second poe related “angry psychos” road trip, i had a breakdown. lack of sleep, anxiety and hyperventilation put me in the emergency room. shortly thereafter a “somewhat suicidal” friend disappeared from the internet and wasn’t returning phone calls. in my worried and still messed up state i turned back to the chatroom, and there was the girl that stole my sharpie to help comfort me. a few months later, i planned on a road trip on my own to see yet another “angry psycho” perform in raleigh north carolina’s ren fair. along the way, i stopped by washington dc and american university to have a quick lunch with the girl that stole my sharpie. i got lost on mcdowell. i got lost a few more times. eventually an hour and twenty minutes late i arrived, to find her wearing the same angry psychos shirt that i was wearing. we hugged and i knew that this was going to turn into something i couldn’t let go of. we had pizza and root beer and she decided to join me on my trip. we ran out of gas in the pouring rain three miles from asheville. we had no choice but to walk for it. a stranger offered a ride to the nearest gas station and took off with the girl’s purple umbrella. the woman behind the counter called aaa to assist us. “there’s a young couple in here that could use your help.” A young couple. not really, but i liked the sound of that. twelve hours late, but we made it to raleigh. the ren fair was rained out, so we went music shopping instead. on the way home i spent an extra week in dc. caused some major grief for my family unintentionally, but i felt something new. happiness. nine years or so later and the girl with the sharpie and i are about to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. and that is how poe changed my life.