I'm a long-term XEmacs user who uses the meta key constantly, despite
starting out in TTYs with ESC the only option: but my keyboard (a Maltron)
is sufficiently bizarre that I had to almost relearn typing, at least
non-alphanumeric typing, when I switched. Learning to use the meta key was
easy when I was learning to use ctrl (next to it) and backspace (next to
that) at the same time.
(Yes, with ctrl-alt-backspace all in a line under my thumb I've been
running with DontZap for a *long* time.)