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Leviathan meets the Incredible Hulk

I was wrong about that...

Posted on 2006.07.24 at 07:07
I've heard people claiming to have fallen in love over the Internet.

I've never believed that. You can't, I thought, have an actual relationship over the net! I mean, I have people I know from the Internet who I enjoy corresponding with, who I share intrests with, whose senses of humor I enjoy, and I call them "friends," but they're not really friends. I'm well-disposed towards them, I have a certain level of affection for them, if one dies -- a fellow named Lachlan A. McGrath, for instance, from Texas, left GI-jOE collecting circles through cancer a couple of years ago -- I feel a bit sad. But it's sadness on about the same level I feel if I hear of an actor I kind of enjoy but aren't really a "fan" of has passed away. That's not friendship in any real sense of the word. I have friends who I communicate with mainly here on-line, but they're all people I know from real life.

Until now.

The other night, I read a blog of someone in another country, someone I've only ever communicated with by blogs, fanfic reviews, and IMs. It was a Meme that's currently going around, 35 personal questions and answers. And the juxtaposition of two of those question/answer pairs led to a deeply disturbing conclusion, and it was like my heart dropped out of me.

For this person I've never seen, whose voice I've never heard, from this mere source of words on the Internet.

I left them an off-line IM, just to let them know what I'd pieced together, just to tell them I was glad they were here -- well, there, really.

Well, I woke up God's Own Early yesterday morning, and at about quarter past four, they IMed me back, going for a bright, reassuring tone, and we spent about the next two hours talking, seriously, about stuff that matters, and what we were there, what we really were, is friends. Not people who chat over the Internet and call it friendship even those it doesn't matter: Real, living, breathing, loving, open, genuine, honest-to-God friends.

I have an actual relationship. Over the Internet. With someone I have never seen, never spoken with. It's not romantic love -- which, what with me having a flesh-and-blood wife and all, is probably just as well -- but it is real love nonetheless. It matters. It matters the same way my relationship with Leaf or Geoff matters. And it's all just 'net.

So I was wrong about that.

Comments:


mrsquizzical
mrsquizzical at 2006-07-24 11:42 (UTC) (Link)
sometimes it's good to be wrong......
Wanderings  of an artist
nutnatz at 2006-07-24 13:58 (UTC) (Link)
I guess that as someone who has grown up with the internet, internet relationships have always been a part of my life. There are some friends I have now, who I met 7 years ago on the internet, that I can't think about what my life would be like without them.

One great thing about the internet is that it gives you the ability to find someone down the street, across the country, across the world, who you would have never met... and bond with them because of some shared interest. It's a wonderful thing. It's a dangerous thing. But in the end the internet is what it is: a tool of communication.
Shari
oncelikeshari at 2006-07-24 15:22 (UTC) (Link)
I knew I'd upset you.

I really am fine y'know?
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-07-24 15:40 (UTC) (Link)
I do know you're fine. I knew then you were fine.

But I also knew you'd had a terrible experience, and, unlike my normal, muted reaction when someone known only through the internet has a problem -- "Oh, man, what a shame!" and I'm on with my life -- I cared about it as much as I'd have cared if it was somebody I have a real-life, in person, look-'em-in-the-eye friendship. Which I'm interpreting to mean that this is, even in the absence of in-person, look-'em-in-the-eye interaction, a real, live, honest-to-God friendship, just like with Geoff, the guy who lived next door to me for ten years or so -- albeit with more flirting, in your case. I care about you like a real person.

I count that as a very good thing.
Shari
oncelikeshari at 2006-07-24 16:08 (UTC) (Link)
See I'll never understand this about myself and other people...

SO many people have bonded with me over that stuff and I can't get my head around why you would want somebody like that in your life if you don't have to.

I told you about my co-dependant friend who I had to shut out of my life for the sake of my own sanity? That's what I think it must be like for other people to be my friend and yet they just keep on coming and it makes no sense.

There's nothing admirable about what goes on with me after all.

I'm seeing my friend Bewilderment on Weds in London. I met her for the first time warly last year and now we meet up every couple of months, SHE always being the one who calls me to arrange the next outing, and we met on the Green Wing message boards on IMDB.

There was a post about the suicide of Hunter S Thompson in which I mentioned Elliot Smith, Nick Drake and Kurt Cobain and she sent me a PM talking about a friend of hers and then asking about music and stuff and we started emailing.

She moved down to London soon after and didn't know anybody so I arranged to meet up with her and now we're like proper friends.

Natz too, we bonded over that shit and we're mates now as well.

I'm always predisposed to disappointing people so it's kind of odd when somebody...I don't even know what it is that throws me.

I just think it's better to be honest about what's gone on in your life and not be ashamed of any of it 'cause it made you who you are and strengthened all the positive stuff about you. If I'd had an easy existance on this Earth I'd probably be dull as hell!

Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-07-24 16:30 (UTC) (Link)
There's nothing admirable about what goes on with me after all.

STOP TALKING BOLLOCKS, RONALD WEASLEY!


Seriously, when you keep putting one foot in front of the other like that, that's to be admired. For that matter, when you say, I just think it's better to be honest about what's gone on in your life and not be ashamed of any of it 'cause it made you who you are and strengthened all the positive stuff about you -- completely aside from the fact that it just totally speaks my heart about my own life --that's damned admirable. I think of you more and more with a phrase stolen (and gender-changed) from Stephen King, who used it to describe harlan Ellison: I see you as a woman almost crazy with courage, standing naked, not just in fron of the windows of your flat, but out here in front of the world, saying, "Yeah, this shit has gone on with me. What about it?" Christ, that is the most extraordinary courage, that is, and I'm blown away by it. It's a courage I aspire to, and iot's worthy of my admiration, of my loving friendship, any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

But remember, most importantly, what I've really bonded with you over isn't the problems. That was just the trigger to my realizing the bond was there. It's the sweetness, the intelligence, the wit, the humor, the generosity and acceptance and love of language and of writing. You're not Timeless' Lavender, that inevetable engine of her own doom. You're Ron, able and brave enough to fill the long fall with love.

So there!
Shari
oncelikeshari at 2006-07-24 16:52 (UTC) (Link)
If something's worth saying it's worth saying 3 times eh? *waggles eyebrows*

And where's this 'sweet' stuff coming from when it's at home?

I've got maple calling me sunshine and now you saying I'm sweet.

Do you guys not realise I ENJOY writing the Puppet Master? *lol*
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-07-24 17:07 (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I'll keep saying it 'til I get the friggin' formatting right!

And, lookie here, chickie-poo: You are the one who wrote Perspective -- all of it -- and Re-Aquaintance -- all of it, but especially Singing!Ron -- and What You're Missing and the Ron of Timeless, and I could go on all day.

You are the one who, even though less-than-wealthy, puts in time with a kid's theatre group.

In short, J'Accuse! You are sweet, sweet, sweet!

The prosecution rests!</i>
Shari
oncelikeshari at 2006-07-24 17:14 (UTC) (Link)
Only twice with that one eh? You're getting better!

I'm NOT sweet! *stamps foot*

I use the C-word!
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-07-24 17:24 (UTC) (Link)
Only two, but only because I decided it wasn't worth going again to get rid of that last, useless shut off the italics tag. I never claimed I could type!

And using the "See You Next Tuesday" word doesn't count. You're English, and it's not the "Thermo-Nuclear Obscenity" there that it is for us puritanical Yanks.

So I stand by my accusation. You're as sweet as a Weasley singing lullabies to a baby.

Nyah!
Wanderings  of an artist
nutnatz at 2006-07-25 15:26 (UTC) (Link)
Please continue to tell her like it is. She's an utter twat about herself.

Hello, I'm marvelous and I don't bond and make friends with non marvelous people.

*huffs*
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-07-25 15:29 (UTC) (Link)
Shari, we've got you out-numbered!
bouncing leaf
bouncingleaf at 2006-07-25 00:06 (UTC) (Link)
What are the 35 questions?
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-07-25 01:18 (UTC) (Link)
My apologies, it's 36:

1. Elaborate on your default icon.

2. What's your current relationship status?

3. Ever have a near-death experience?

4. Name an obvious quality you have?

5. What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now?

6. Any celeb you would marry?

7. Who will cut and paste this first?

8. Name someone with the same birthday as you.

9. Do you have a crush on someone?

10. Have you ever vandalized someone's private property?

11. Have you ever been in a fight?

12. Have you ever sung in front of a large audience?

13. What's the first thing you notice about the OPPOSITE sex?

14. What do you usually order from Starbucks?

15. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?

16. Say something totally random about yourself.

17. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?

18.Do you wear a watch? What kind?

19. Do you have anything pierced?

20. Do you have any tattoos?

21. Last thing you paid for with a credit card?

22. Do you like pain?

23. Do you like to shop?

24. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?

25. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

26. What is on your desktop background?

27. What is the background on your cell phone?

28. Do you like redheads?

29. Do you know any twins?

30. Do you have any weird relatives?

31. What was the last movie you watched?

32. What was the last book you read?

33. Did you or are you planning to go to college?

34. What is your favorite pair of pants that you own?

35. Do you like to party?

36. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I won't answer them. Turns out I was full of shit on the whole "I don't blog" and "I don't form relationships on the Internet" thing, but I'm sticking with "I don't meme."
Wanderings  of an artist
nutnatz at 2006-07-25 15:24 (UTC) (Link)
*giggle*

You amuse me dear. Ever so much.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-07-25 15:29 (UTC) (Link)
Glad to be of service!
Andrew
pawo at 2006-07-31 23:35 (UTC) (Link)
I meme all the time, but I only do it in other people's journals. To find my meme responses, you've got to hunt through all of my friends' journals reading my comments on their meme entries. I've half a mind to post my answers to these questions here. ;-)
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-08-01 07:03 (UTC) (Link)
You go, guy!
harry_lvr at 2006-07-25 06:39 (UTC) (Link)
You're really lucky, though, that very rarely happens.

I'm similar to how you were - most people who I talk to on the net are 'friends', and I care about what happens to them and I would be upset for weeks or even months if anything happened to them, but at the same time they're just words on a page. I've grown up in a very internet-suspicious family so I can't just commit to the idea of people on the 'net being real.

mrs q's right, though - its great to be wrong sometimes.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-07-25 09:25 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, it is. It's wonderful to be wrong. It's wonderful to know that I shouldn't -- necessarily -- scoff at people who claim to have something "real" in this electronic realm. The world needs more real friends, more real love. It's wonderful that there's more than I thought.
harry_lvr at 2006-07-25 10:05 (UTC) (Link)
It is, really. I'm one of those people who scoff at internet romantic-love, although after I went onto this WoT fansite that had a page filled with stories of people getting married after meeting on there...the problem is that most of them sound like complete nutcases - no offence to anyone - so it doesn't do much to raise my opinion.
Shari
oncelikeshari at 2006-07-25 08:29 (UTC) (Link)

Now I didn't do this on purpose!

I was trying to get the High Fidelity version and look what I got!


Which John Cusack Are You?


Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2006-07-25 09:27 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Now I didn't do this on purpose!

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh, sweetness, that's just totally funny!
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