It’s a terrible day, weather wise. Miserable and grey; windy and wet. The rain is coming down in sheets almost sideways. My tan coloured trenchcoat looks more of a dark brown as I reach the door to the restaurant. “Lovely day ain’t it?” quips a miserable looking waitress. “Yeah, lovely.” I shoot back.
She shows me to the table I had called to reserve the day before, but it turns out there was little point. Other than one man pushing a plate of what looks like pancakes, roast lamb and fish sticks around his plate, I am alone in the open planned room.
I take a seat in the corner booth, and order myself a pot of coffee and a slice of pie. As my subject hasn’t arrived, I take the liberty of ordering her some food, just to make her feel at home.
A few minutes later, the waitress returns with the coffee and a pair of empty cups. She fills one to the brim, leaving almost no room for milk, and heads back to her station. I try to pour a little milk into the top of my cup, but end up overflowing and spilling onto the table. I bring my lips to the cup and sip away a little of the liquid, and simultaneously pat at the puddle on the table with a napkin.
As I look up from the mess I made, a shadow appears across the table.
[The small frame of Twitter’s very own space girl stands across the table from me, before she slides into the booth alongside me.]
ME: Do you mind sitting opposite me?
SG: I’m not sitting on that side it looks kind of dirty.
ME: Well, maybe we could move to a different table?
SG: You don’t want to sit next to me?
ME: It would make it harder to do the interview if we were side by side.
SG: Ok, I guess.
[After a few minutes of wandering around and inspecting the cleanliness of a number of booths, we eventually settle in front of each other as the waitress returns with our food.]
ME: I took the liberty of ordering you some tang and instant mashed potatoes, like they have in space.
SG: I hate tang.
[She pours herself some coffee, and stabs at my pie with her fork. I don’t care for that. Not one bit. But I’m a professional. I’ll ignore it.]
ME: So, where does the name ‘space girl’ come from?
SG: Oh, jumping right in then. Ok.
ME: Yeah, I mean, that’s what we’re here for.
SG: Well, there are a lot of reasons I have continued to use ‘space girl’, but it originally came from my mother, who started calling me ‘Space Cadet’ when I was a kid. I was pretty easily distracted and not particularly attentive to my surroundings. Still true, I guess.
ME: Do you feel you can still be considered truly ‘incognito’ when your face is attached to your Twitter?
SG: I mean, you assume that’s my face.
ME: Well, we’re friends on Snapchat and Facebook, so I do know that it is your face.
SG: You assume that’s my REAL face.
ME: So… is it not?
SG: Let’s move on.
ME: Ok. Do you remember the first question I ever asked you?
SG: And what?
ME: Are you not going to say what it was?
SG: That’s not what you asked me.
ME: I feel like it was implied.
SG: Well, maybe be more specific with your questioning.
ME: What was the first question I ever asked you?
SG: You messaged me out of nowhere and demanded to know my height.
ME: Demanded is strong.
SG: Is it though?
ME: And what was your answer to the question.
SG: I’m 4’11”.
[She takes another stab at my pie with her fork. Each time she breaks into the pastry I feel a wave of annoyance and frustration. I’d eat her mashed potatoes but they look awful.]
ME: Tell me about Rich Cianfrini.
SG: I don’t want to talk about Rich Cianfrini. Let’s skip to the next question.
ME: The next question is: how would you feel if Rich Cianfrini followed you on Twitter? But that won’t make for great reading if you don’t say who he is.
SG: Ok, let me think about the first one, because I like the second one.
ME: That’s because I’m a good journalist, you see.
[She takes a long sip of coffee, and eats another couple of mouthfuls of my pie while contemplating her answer. I glare at the pie, hoping she picks up on my silent contempt. She does not.]
SG: Rich Cianfrini was my 5th grade crush. I used to write his name all over everything with little hearts and stuff.
ME: Adorable. Was he your first ever crush?
SG: Probably my first serious crush after Catwoman.
ME: Of course. Standard.
ME: So if he followed you on Twitter, how would you feel?
SG: I feel probably be like “uh, twenty years too LATE Rich Cianfrini”, like in a teen movie where the girl teen gets a makeover and the cool boy teen is finally all “wow” and she’s like “nah”.
[As she makes this point, she gesticulates wildly with her fork. There is a sizeable piece of pie on the end of the utensil, and she is flinging crumbs about the table wildly.]
SG: To put it in the most lyrical prose I can manage.
ME: You’ve nailed it, in my opinion.
ME: What do you enjoy about Twitter?
SG: I think it finally gives me a place to fit in, where my strangeness is appreciated. I love the people I’ve met here. I think I’m the most truly myself with the Twitter crew.
SG: Also, I love that it allows me to share strange and funny things that I enjoy from other people. That’s a big part of the appeal for me.
SG: I could honestly say so much more about why I love Twitter, but I’ll try to keep myself under control for the time being.
ME: You do a range of styles of tweets; funny, sad, poetic, dark, silly. What is your preferred style?
SG: I would say that’s a good question, but I don’t want it to go to your head.
ME: Too late.
SG: It’s hard to answer. The funny and silly things are a huge part of who I am. I love when I think of something that makes me giggle, then share it and it turns out I made a whole bunch of other people giggle too. That feels great. It makes my whole day brighter. On the other hand, poetic tweets, darker tweets; they exorcise something. They turn some kind of pain or confusion outward and let me share that burden with others. There’s an intimacy in that which is quite thrilling. So I don’t think I have a preferred style; it shifts with my mood.
ME: So, you’re not answering the question then?
SG: Well, I just did.
ME: Which style comes most naturally to you, and which is the toughest to get right?
SG: Parenting tweets are easy, only because I don’t have to write them, they just happen. I also think it’s relatively easy to write goofy nonsense about how much I love food. The hardest ones? I think it’s hardest to come up with jokes or ideas deliberately. So usually for contests, when I have to write within narrow confines; that’s when I struggle most. But I also think those are my favourites.
ME: Tell me about your other creative outlets, either now or in your past.
SG: I was in musical theatre for most of my life, and then in college I focused on poetry and literature. Not a strategically good move, career wise, but I guess it helps with the tweets. Thanks college! I also run an on-off craft business. I mostly make plants and animals out of recycled paper and stuff. I like to play with hot glue, like a grown up.
ME: When you chose to study poetry at college, what did you hope your career would be?
SG: I didn’t actually have a plan, I almost never do. I just studied what I was passionate about. I’m grateful that my family was always supportive of that.
ME: Like, did you think you would be a poet?
SG: Are you mocking me?
ME: Are you still eating my pie?
SG: If you don’t want me to eat your pie maybe you shouldn’t order me mashed potatoes.
ME: When you say you’re going to ‘pounce’ people, can you give me an example of the type of pounce you mean? Like, I often imagine Simba and Nala, but maybe you’re more squirrel like?
SG: Actually, I think that’s the perfect description. I Nala pounce.
ME: I was hoping you’d give me something more than just repeating what I said, but whatever.
SG: I want to add to the earlier answer: I love Twitter because it teaches me stuff. I learn new things every day from fellow tweeters and it is awesome.
ME: Let’s do the dream dinner party thing. Five dream guests.
SG: Do the dream guests have be alive currently, or…
ME: No, they can be dead. It’s your dream. But please clarify if they’d be dead at the party. Like, if you want Henry XIII, I want to know he’s alive, a zombie, rotting or a skeleton.
SG: I’d prefer Henry VIII. And I think there’d be better conversation if he weren’t a zombie. Although, that’s prejudiced against zombies. I think alive at the dinner though, for the sake of my appetite.
ME: Don’t mock my knowledge of numerals.
SG: I will mock your numerals as I see fit.
SG: I feel like it would be my duty to round up the five worst people currently living and poison them with the food.
ME: That’s not really in the spirit of the question.
SG: I didn’t know the question was so spirited! What would your picks be?
ME: Probably: Jasper Fforde, Joe Strummer, Zooey Deschanel, Steve Potts & Tom Waits.
SG: Can I have cartoon people?
ME: Hmm… Yes. But in that case I’m switching Steve Potts for Jessica Rabbit.
SG: I keep opening the field up wider and wider, and it’s not helping me choose.
[She pauses and thoughtfully eats my pie. I glare at her, but she doesn’t pick up on it. After a few minutes, she finally speaks.]
SG: Tim Curry.
ME: Oh my god, I didn’t think it would take that long.
SG: To get Tim Curry?
SG: It is surprising. Patrick Swayze, Mystique, Queen Elizabeth I.
ME: Mystique from X-Men?
SG: Yeah. Because she could pretend to be anyone, which is a nice ability if I forget someone I wanted to be there. Ok, I need a last person… Stitch.
ME: Ok, now, same again, but Twitter people.
SG: Aww, damn. This was such a struggle already and Tim Curry isn’t even on Twitter!
[She hasn’t noted that none of them are on Twitter, what with the remaining four either being dead or fictional].
SG: I can’t pick five.
ME: Ok, firstly, Tim Curry is a weird choice anyway. Second of all,Stitch would be an absolute nightmare at a dinner party. And you have to pick five of your twitter friends for your party. I’ll do mine: You, Dimi, Liz & the Mandik’s.
SG: I’ll just attend your dinner party. That will count as mine. Also, Stitch is awesome. If it’s my dream dinner party I’m not cleaning it. Stitch would be exciting and fun. I bet Elizabeth would be his favourite.
ME: So you don’t think Stitch and Tim Curry would hit it off?
SG: I mean, anyone would hit it off with Tim Curry, but I think he’d prefer Elizabeth.
ME: Change of topic. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
SG: Probably the Valdivian temperate rain forest.
ME: Wow. Not your typical answer. Why?
SG: It’s home to some of the smallest mammal species in the world. I think I’d fit in.
ME: What is the smallest mammal species?
SG: Well, the world’s smallest deer lives there, that’s the Southern Pudu. There’s also this tiny little cat creature called a Kodkod. Lots of good rainforesty stuff.
ME: So, why don’t you live in the rainforest already?
SG: I’d probably get myself killed within a day. So it’s really for my own safety that I haven’t moved there.
ME: So, you and I are friends. We run Spacesauce together. What made you want to run a website like Spacesauce?
SG: We’ve met so many awesomely creative people here. I wanted a place where we could share the things we do beyond the limit of 140 characters.
ME: And what do you most enjoy about the site?
SG: I enjoy seeing new and different sides of people, things I didn’t expect. I also like arguing with you about what to put on there.
ME: I mean, we only argue when you’re wrong.
SG: Pft. I want to switch one of my dinner party answers.
ME: Ok, I’ll allow it.
SG: I want David Attenborough instead of Patrick Swayze.
ME: If Swayze is out, who will you dance with after dinner?
ME: Interesting. Back to the site. What are your long term goals for Spacesauce?
SG: I’d like to be able to devote more time and attention to it, firstly. I’d like to add more media. We have a lot of focus on writing right now. I’d like to get more artwork, video and audio work. I would really like to do a podcast eventually, but who doesn’t?!
ME: You and I trade music from time to time. If you had to recommend one artist I have introduced you to, who would it be?
SG: Oooh. That’s tough. Probably The Staves or Jamie T. Though I do love The Libertines.
ME: I need to press you for one.
SG: God damn it, Tom.
ME: I’m a tough interviewer.
SG: Patrick Wolf.
ME: Oooh. Nice. What’s your proudest achievement? Excluding your kids, who I love, by the way.
SG: Dang. You took the easy one.
ME: Of course I did.
SG: I’ve gotten some public recognition for a few things I’ve written and those were very proud moments in my life.
ME: Tell me about one.
SG: I don’t want to go on about them; it feels like bragging. Suffice to say I’m always proud when other people like a thing I wrote.
ME: I mean, it is an interview with you. You’re going to have to talk about yourself.
SG: I have been!
ME: I’ll allow you to leave it at that, I guess. Final question: fuck marry kill, Rachelle Mandik, Sarah Shockey and Abby Cohen.
SG: Oh my god, absolutely not! You monster! I marry them all.
ME: You know you can’t do that.
SG: I can and I will. Your earth laws don’t apply to me.
ME: If you don’t answer I will just make up an answer for you when I write this up.
SG: No. I refuse that. You may only write it as I’ve said it.
ME: You clearly didn’t read the fine print of the contract.
SG: I saw no contract. I question your journalism.
ME: You… didn’t get the contract? Oh god.
SG: I bet you “forgot” your wallet too.
ME: In the contract it said you’d pay.
SG: Uh huh.
ME: I think we’re done here.
SG: I also want to switch Mystique for Ani Di Franco at my dinner party.
ME: I said I think we’re done.
SG: Do you need a Tupperware or doggy bag? You ordered a lot of food.
ME: Is that a joke? You ate most of my pie. But no, I don’t need one. I brought my own.
SG: Of course.
With that, we both rise to our feet and head toward the door. The weather is still terrible so we say our goodbyes in the doorway. We do that awkward thing where we aren’t sure whether to hug or not. The waitress makes a tutting noise at as for blocking the door, and we each leave.