Names on a screen
All of Internet society is just Names on a Screen. Since the whole thing began I’ve searched “online” for something I can’t find across the street: a friend. Personals sites, searches, websites, you name it, I’ve been there. I’ve had “friends” in Canada, around the country and even sometimes around the world. Only a very few have become “real” friends but even they were not so “real” as to remain a part of this life of mine.
These days there have been a few who I’ve conversed with occasionally whom I’ve wished were closer, were neighbors, could drop in and have a cup of coffee on the porch, but still they remain names on a screen. As much as I wish there was more, there isn’t. So I’ve drifted.
I have drifted before. There have been times I didn’t even want to see a computer screen. But I came back. This time, I think, my drifting is a little different, a little more permanent, a lot more wistful, and a little more sad.
I suppose there is a bit of a pitty-party going on in my head but not much. I’m just a realist. It’s not practical for people across the country or a hundred miles away to really become bosom buddies, especially poor folks in this world of high gas prices. Even if gas prices weren’t ridiculous it takes time to cultivate real friendships and time is something so many folks just don’t have. I do, but I’m an exception. My days are spent watching the kids grow up and waiting for my end to come. We live in a social void. It’s not so for almost everyone else in this country. So, I look at the screen and sigh. Once or twice I just disappeared into the virtual world but I’m too old, to much attached to this real world where my kids live to do that. My world is a tiny thing, three kids, a wife, a dog and a patch of woods, but it’s the reality I have. I’m letting the rest, the virtual world, pretty much slip by the wayside.
I was lecturing my oldest the other day about life. I told her happiness isn’t something you go out and get but it’s something you find where you are. It has occurred to me that I have not been living that myself. She wants to go back to grade school even as doing so would be very bad for her future just so she can have friends. What’s the difference between what she wants and going online to find virtual friends? Her idea is more practical than the online thing even though her friends are “school friends” she never has socialized with off campus, or almost never. They’re “fair weather friends” who don’t come to her birthday parties. Anyway, the point is that I should practice what I preach.
I’m not exactly going to toss the computer in the trash or burn the modem. I’m just not going to hang around much. I do hope to keep in touch. Maybe someday a few of my online friends might become real-world friends. I can hope. But I have to focus on the real world. Who knows how long I’ll be in it, anyway?
Besides, there’s a whole lot of stuff I need to do, from home remodeling to making a new garden in the weed-filled patch of old one, to teaching my kids. I’ve been busy with some of that already for the past month. I won’t be around to chit-chat or share theological viewpoints much for some time to come. I doubt I’ll be missed very much anyway.
On the theological/philosophical idea, I’m really kind’of tired of all the thinking. You know, many millions of people lead “normal” lives and never stick their heads up in the stratosphere where mine has been for so long. The “Big Questions” are not ever considered. I envy those people. I’m going to try hard to be one of them. I want to stop lugging religion around in a big mental suitcase and start traveling lighter. Fifty years on this planet and I still have no clue even though my personal point of view has changed completely. I’m tired of considering what theology is true or what is coming after I die. I want a conversation about gardens or fishing or my wonderful kids. These things are real. Why have I continually turned to questions that can’t be answered instead of the real-world stuff? And I call myself a realist!
So, friend, thanks for being my friend. In the real world and in this virtual one, I love you and I’m here if you need me. Let’s talk when you get a chance. But if I’m not around or don’t have much to say about the “big questions” don’t worry, I’m just out here soaking up sunshine and being deliberately ordinary.
Have I made any sense? I don’t know. Maybe. But I have to move along, now. Hope your day is good!
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