Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Kindness of strangers

"Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. "
Blanche Dubois, Streetcar Named Desire

There is something strangely comforting about talking to strangers on the Web through your blog. And I use the term strangers in the sense that I have never met most people who read my blog. They are really not so much strangers as friends I have never met.

Odd concept.

The people I have never met seem to be less judgemental. Perhaps it is because they have no expectations or preconceived notions about who I am or how I should be. People I know often can't get past the me they think I am.

That has its limitations.

This is the reason I like to blog, but Facebook bothers me. Either the people who are my friends on Facebook aren't open to the quirkier side of Tim or they don't really want to see it. And it lacks the protection of really being anonymous that blogging can offer. In most cases, the blogging community has been very open to my quirky side. I have rarely had to be guarded.

I wish that the people who know me in the real world could accept the me in the virtual world. Because that is the me that I feel the most comfortable with. And ironically, I think the virtual me is more the real me than the me that is virtually there in the real world (I couldn't resist the play on words).

It's not that I don't think I am real on a day to day basis. It's just that, who can really be themselves at work, at the store, or even interacting socially. You have to act in certain ways to avoid offending people or creating conflict or losing your job. You can't always have deep conversations about sensitive subjects because most people can't function on a deep level or they just don't want to hear anything deeper than the weather.

I suppose that is what keeps the fabric of society from flapping in the wind. Walking a normal path is easier because it is well worn. Every now and then I catch myself deviating from the path in meetings or hallway conversations at work and I see the panicked looks of the people I'm with. More often than not I jump back on the normal path or slink away to my office chastising myself for not just maintaining the status quo.

But I wonder a great deal about purpose in life as I slog along the beaten path staring at my feet. Once again, I think it is a middle aged thing. Because I have finally accepted that we are all going to die, it is just a matter of when. So I wonder what that will be like and whether or not I will panic at the time because I stayed on the safe path for too long and didn't really accomplish anything great other than help raise my family.

In the grand scheme of things, I suppose that is enough. I hold my children or watch them play and marvel at what is ahead of them and what they will experience on the journey. And I encourage them meander off the path now and then.

I know all of this sounds odd (which is why I don't write it on Facebook). But you are all my friendly strangers, right (or my strange friends) and you will understand that I am just being me, right?

6 comments:

Naughti Biscotti said...

I'm proud to be one of those strange strangers. I completely agree with this entire post. I've decided I need both in my life; the virtual best-friends who are strangers, and close friends and family in the real world who don't know me at all.

I know that look of panic. I also know that look of disappointment when I say something shocking to my family.

Time said...

NB,
You are my oldest and dearest virtual friend. You were there for my Web Wedding, our adoption and the birth of our son. You've hung in there when other virtual friends fell by the wayside (I still miss Mickey and Lights). We survived the Vanilla Wars. Thank you! I hope we'll be BVFF!

Romany Angel said...

Sorry I'm late to this one Tim. I've had "issues" in the real world.


I'm sad in a way that I have decided to cut my ties with the virtual world, although not entirely as I am here aren't I? I totally understood everything you said here because I have felt the same way many times. I have felt more loved and accepted in this world than I ever have in the real world although it has had it's moments.


I hope you will always feel comfortable here amongst your stranger friends. Everyone should be able to be who they really are.

Time said...

RA,

I'm glad you are still stopping by virtually even though you've stopped blogging. I was worried about you.

I am glad you are still virtually here. You are a another friend that has been around for sometime and I'd hate to see you slip away.

Naughti Biscotti said...

Hey, I got in. I guess I was just typing the wrong address. What a relief.

Time said...

NB,
Welcome back. Now I should really block you just to mess with your mind.

Just joking :)