Contrary to the dates showing on the calendar over there, I’ve actually been writing a lot lately. Unfortunately (for whom?), it’s all stuffed away in a drafts folder or a drawer or somewhere else that I hope is equally likely to keep it from ever seeing the light of day. It’s difficult when you have to do that when what you really want to do is blog, blog, blog your guts out and just spew forth your stuff/garbage/mental waste into the atmosphere, just so someone will hear you and let you know in some small way (even if it’s a stat click) that you’re still alive. But, and listen to me now internet for I bring forth a great pearl of ancient wisdom here, not everything was meant for public consumption.
*I can hear the collective gasp from here.
I know, I know. The fires of hell.com heard my blasphemy and are already burning holes in my socks.
Things are so very different from when I was young. If a friend moved away to another city, say 25 miles away, that was it. They pretty much dropped off the face of the planet. I mean, yes, we’d use the phone – you remember, the one that had a cord and was plugged into the wall and we used our hand to hold it next to the ear for the entire length of the conversation? But after a couple of weeks, that was pretty much that, and we got on with our lives, only to see that friend again when they visited their grandma in our town over the summer, which they stopped 2 years later, of course.
I remember when we bought our first computer; I was in middle school (and we were not rich, so don’t go aging me there). It was basically useless to me. I had no idea what to do with the thing. I’m still not sure what my mother used it for honestly, just that we had those 5-1/4″ floppy disks lying around and I loved the satisfying feel of pushing it into the drive and closing the latch (which saved us from being killed by floppies shooting out of the drive, natch). Booting up took about a millisecond because there was nothing to boot, though the screen had to warm up before the text was more legible than trying to read newsprint when hungover.
Fast forward to the present, where I spend probably 70% of my awake hours in front of a computer and I’ve been known to complain when someone tells me via Instant Messenger that they’ve sent a file to me by e-mail, and when I click over to my mail, I have to “Get Mail” 3 times in 10 seconds before it shows up. Yes, patience is not my strong point, and the internet hasn’t helped.
I never imagined, in my youth, that I would live in a time where it would take discipline to keep my mouth shut in front of millions upon millions of people I’ve never met. Seriously, think about that for a second. You’ve walked into a room, stepped up to the podium, and your audience is, say, the entire populations of the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, South America, Spain, France, England, Italy, and a fair bit of the former Soviet Republic. And they are all looking around, doing other things, talking amongst themselves. Once you open your mouth, it’s a total crapshoot, but it’s possible that every one of them could stop, look, and listen to you. It is now up to you to decide what you will share: Will it be your tale of horror from work today? Your panties stuck in the dryer? Will you tell your deepest, darkest secrets? What will you say? It depends quite a lot on why you showed up to the meeting in the first place, but placed in that situation with the reality of faces, there are things that the vast majority of us will choose not say to that room.
Admittedly, one of the strangest things is that when you are finished speaking, you will have a chance to interact and may come away from the experience with newfound compatriots, maybe even real friends in the long run – friends who probably live much more than 25 miles away and do not have a grandma in your town.
Even so, there are areas that are proprietary and solely yours, whether you wish you could throw them out there or not. Things that cannot be described by you alone, things that cannot be absorbed or interpreted, judged or heralded by the audience.
Which is why I’ve put together 783 words in order to tell you that I’m being quiet.