I’m back and so is the story of MrAl. My first real online friend. One day I sent him an email. The reply I got was horrifying to say the least. It was from his wife. His wife didn’t know that much about the Net and emails and web sites. I remember her telling me she contacted her daughter and said, “Get on that thing, find someone, and tell them.” They found me. MrAl had died and his wife had no way of telling all the people he had built relationships with via the Net. Although he had met very few of them IRL, he ‘knew them’ and they ‘knew him’.
When his wife was finally able to contact me, it became my job to contact everyone else. I had only met his wife twice, but knew in my heart I needed to do this for her. She had no other way of letting people know he was gone. I like to think I did my job well. Some people I emailed, some I phoned, and some had to read it on a message board. I took my job one step further. I copied everything everyone wrote in response to Al’s death. Although many of the people did not know Al IRL, they were connected. They loved and cared for him. They had so many heartwarming things to say. His wife needed to know about these people and how much her husband had meant to them. My Mom and I went to Al’s funeral. I handed his family every great thing that was written about him. I hope on some level, they took some comfort in those words.
Today, people on the Net know so little and so much about me at the same time. They know what I think and feel, but do not know my name. They know what makes me laugh, but not where I live. They know I am female, but not what I look like. I know the same about them. I know that Base lives in either NC or SC, but I do not know her husband’s name. I know that Moogs is sober and married with a kid on the way, but I do not know what he does for a living. ((((Hollow)))) is younger than Base and I, is half a twin, and lives in Oh Canada But,
Do I really know these things about them???? Baseline could be from NY and have homicidal tendencies. Moogs could be a show girl in Las Vegas. Hollow? Well, ((((Hollow)))) says she is from Oh Canada. I know so much yet so little about them. But, when I woke up extra early today and wanted someone to talk with, there were people there. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 3651/4 days a year. It may be 3 a.m. in my neck of the woods, but in Australia it is daytime. People are awake and ready for me.
One thing that is very different between real life and Internet relationships. The conversation you are having with an internet friend can all of a sudden end. When your Net connection stops for some reason, so does your conversation. This can be good and this can be bad. Great conversations have abruptly ended for me as have conversations I wanted to end but didn’t know how. I guess I could accidently disconnect.
Back to my original online friendships. Starwindsinger. Starwindsinger was the name of the woman who slept over my mountain home with her son. I was feeling bad that I could not remember her name. My Mom always told me, if you can’t remember a name, go through each letter of the alphabet. The letters you hesitate on are the ones that will begin their name. I kept hearing “S” and “J” in my brain. Then Starswinger floated around for a while. I finally landed/settled on Starwindsinger. Then the “J” started up again. By the time I got home, I knew her name was Jackie. Jackie Starwindsinger. I feel better remembering her name. I mean,” shoot, her kid and her had a sleepover at someone’s house they never met before.” I should at least remember her name.
I thought I was going to talk more about my present day online relationships in this post, but then I recalled having a second set of friends I originally met via the Net. I had just moved from the city to the mountains and knew no one. I had also been diagnosed with ADD. I put it together and found online support in my area for adults with ADD. We had a few people in the group and we met in public places. I do not recall ever being weary of meeting them in person. Today I am weary with every little bit of information I share on the Net. The Net and the people of the Net have definitely changed over the years, but I have changed as well. I wonder what has changed the most????
Stay tuned for part three. I did not know there was going to be a part 3.