My Writers Circle

The Coffee Shop => The Gallery => Topic started by: Spell Chick on May 28, 2009, 10:23:20 AM

Title: Friends
Post by: Spell Chick on May 28, 2009, 10:23:20 AM
My best friend from childhood lived in the house behind mine, diagonally. A quick run through our back yards and we were together.

My best friend from high school lived about two miles from my house, as driven in my car okay, my mother's car. Closer as the crow flies, but neither of us were crows, so we drove or had to be driven.

My young adult friends were neighbors or coworkers. Close at one part of the day or another.

In 1996, we got our second computer and it had a modem. I was not very computer savvy, but I did have AOL and could finally send and receive e-mail and met many nice people in chat rooms. My community of friends now spanned the globe.

This new phenomenon, friends you have never met, isn't really entirely new. In ages past, there was something called "pen pals" and people who had never met would write long letters to each other with weeks or months or even years passing between correspondence. They knew they were separated by distances too great to travel, but they still wrote.

Some were established in school days as a teacher's project and kept going. Some were people interested in some topic and writing to others who were like minded, some famous and some not. Some of these pen pal letters blossomed into more. Elizabeth Barrett met Robert Browning this way.

Beginning in 1996, my insular world became global. I could instantaneously communicate with people on every continent. It was amazing. You can't imagine the speed of a 2400 baud modem as compared to the Pony Express.

With this new method of communication came a new set of problems. For me, a word person, one of them was what in the hell do I call these people? They aren't acquaintances since I've never met them. In fact, one could have walked past me at any time and I wouldn't have known. They weren't friends for I hardly knew them. I mean, how much of what we say online is the honest, to goodness, all out truth.

I never told about the stupid things I did. I never confessed to being less than the picture I wanted to paint. This realm was a world where I could remake myself in my own image. I wouldn't be petty or mean spirited. I wouldn't be a klutz or graceless. I would deliver the perfect bon mot or riposte in each verbal dual. Who would know any different? And how many other people were going to reveal their flaws and so why should I? So, how well did any of know each other. That's not real and it's not friends.

That's what I told myself.

But I've been online for over a decade now. I'm a little more comfortable calling my long standing I still don't know what to call them, really. We write back and forth. We celebrate and commiserate. We share successes and console over failures.

And now, I not only have e-mail, I'm involved in forums where people are dear to me. I know so much about so many of my friends, but not how they look. They could still walk right past me and I wouldn't know them. But when something happens, it is real. Cyber is the way we converse, but cyber isn't where my heart lies.

I still care about people and there are real people on the other end of the electron stream. Many of them I have come to know. I'm still talking to people I first met in an AOL chat room over a decade ago. I'm closer to my online friends than I am with old neighbors from places where I used to live. I still e-mail with them, but not as frequently. Unless I have no e-mail address, then it's once a year Christmas letters.

But I still feel funny. Some of my best friends, some of the people I run toward to share my happy moments, reach toward for consolation in sad times, and offer a virtual shoulder to when times are tough for them these people are "virtual" in the world of electronics. But they are real in my heart.

What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas. What happens online remains with me, cherished and tended. My friends. Yes, they are my friends.

Sied, I've know your first name for a long time, but you are sied to me and always will be. Dear friend, I miss you already. Though we never met, we talked on the phone a couple times and we were what? Internet Idiots? Cyber Sidekicks? Network Ninnies? Friends. Coworkers. Supporters. Cheerleaders. Always just a click away.

Sleep well. Your friends are still rooting for you.

I have come to think of many of my online folks as my friends. Some of you are more real to me than people from my past who have faded to dim memories, but I wouldn't know you if you were standing a foot away from me. I have pictures of what you look like, but they are all teeny tiny squares.

For instance, Linda looks like Betty Boop. But I count her as one of my friends. Silly. I won't ever get to Australia ...

This ability to communicate any time of the day or night lends a certain closeness not available in the real world. The real world has other perks, but this is great, too.

A friend, coworker even, suddenly died. We were lucky, his real life friends and family alerted his online friends of his sudden passing. But how many people do we lose contact with and never know what happened.

Have you guys thought about what it means to be a friend? Are online people friends to you?

Kissy to my friends, hugs to my acquaintances, and handshakes to those I haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting.
Keep the electrons flowing.

Title: Re: Friends
Post by: ma100 on May 28, 2009, 06:24:27 PM
Yes online people are friends to me Patti. Very dear ones who I care about a lot. What is even better I feel closer to them because their hasn't been the encumbrance of looks, social standing etc, to get in the way of these friendships. I couldn't care less if my friends have three heads, two tails and covered from head to foot in scales. They are flesh and blood friends. Age is irelavant, in fact one of the guys I chat with is 21 and such a cracker he is too. I have even got to know his girlfriend to now.

I could never be disapointed with anyone of them, because to me, I have got to know their personalities. In real life you would rarely find a truck driver mixing with a journalist or a housewife chatting with a graphic designer. They just don't mix in the same social circles. On line it doesn't matter, they either like you and make time for you from your personality. Now I would feel comfortable meeting anyone of my friends.

As in normal life, we can't all like the same people and it would be a boring old world if we did.

Title: Re: Friends
Post by: domenic on August 06, 2009, 06:23:05 PM
Is this the fiction work you are talking about ma100?
Title: Re: Friends
Post by: Spell Chick on August 06, 2009, 08:48:07 PM
This isn't fiction.

There was a link somewhere ...
Title: Re: Friends
Post by: fire-fly on August 06, 2009, 10:51:22 PM
Hey I hadn't read this before Patti, glad it has surfaced again.  ;D ;D

I think we all feel the same mate, I know I tend to always share more here than in the real world. When some disappear, I always wonder why and where they are. My family know to come on and let everyone here know if that bus doesn't stop in time.......

Glad I posted my picture, at least you will be able to pull me up if I walk past you.  ::) ::)
Title: Re: Friends
Post by: Spell Chick on August 06, 2009, 10:56:03 PM
Especially if you are dancing. Ma has linked to THAT enough times.  ;D