I was where you are about 1 year ago. Very curious about IDPA and competitive shooting in general, but not sure how or where to start. Here in Virginia there are a couple of web groups (VirginiaShooters.com and VAIDPA). I posted a question similar to yours and was very surprised by the response.
One of the guys on site noted that I lived less than 30 minutes from him, and he invited me to the next match. I said I would go and "watch" to better understand the competition and feel more "comfortable". He wouldn't hear of it.
He sent me the rulebook by email, and told me as long as I had a holster, pistol or revolver, a couple of extra mags or loaders and something I could use as a cover garment, I was set. He told me that safety should be my primary concern. Safe muzzle direction, no finger on the trigger, ask questions if in doubt.
We met, I was nervous, but he answered questions and offered advice on the drive to the club. I read the club rules, went to the safe area and got holstered up to shoot my first match.
My new friend made sure to go before me in each stage, and to inform the SO that I was a new shooter. Well, everyone I met that day from the SO's to the other shooters was extremely helpful and welcoming. They want new shooters to join and participate safely. They gave advice, congratulated me on shooting a stage clean and encouraged me to join IDPA and come back for more matches.
I had a huge adrenaline rush, and was very glad I didn't decide to just watch. Since then, I have shot IDPA matches both indoor and outdoor at multiple clubs in VA and NC and am thoroughly hooked. I've also shot a handful of USPSA matches.
My advice is to go to the IDPA web site, find clubs near you and call or email with a question on how to get started. Read the rule book once or twice (it's not that long), and get that first match under your belt. I'd almost guarantee you'll find plenty of shooters who are willing to help a new competitor get started.
The only warning I'll give you is that it is addictive. You will be poorer once you start, spending money on matches, ammo, and gear.