Thursday, May 12, 2005


Who are you, anyways?

The strange thing about me writing this blog and you reading this blog is that we are separated by distance and time. If I'm writing this in Cambodia at twelve noon, it's about twelve midnight (the day before) back in Canada. So my midday is your end-of-day. And yet somehow the message skyrockets across the globe and onto your screen. And the ' you' who I'm writing this to remains unknown to me.

But the mystery is deeper than that, isn't it? It has to do with the actual person writing this, and the actual person reading it. This is the 'online' me, as opposed to the 'you' that is online. There's a difference. What I know of you: Nothing. What you know of me: My words. And nothing but. (Unless, of course, you actually know me, in real life.)

That's cool. That's as it should be, in some ways, that mystery. What I like about reading is that it allows you, practically demands you to become co-conspirators with the author; it enables you to agree, disagree, accept or reject anything or everything that he/she writes, and you are using somebody else's words to create mental pictures in your mind. To build castles of ideas that may not have ever been constructed if you had not read the fundamental bricks and mortar of somebody else's ideas. And the author him/herself remains a forceful entity, yes, but completely ethereal. (And it's very bizarre to suddenly meet an author who've you read and absorbed for years and years. I've met John Irving and Norman Mailer and Joyce Carol Oates and Paul Auster and David Foster Wallace, and it's very strange to spend a morning reading one of their books, having your head filled with nothing but somebody else's thoughts, and then you find yourself greeting that same person hours later. It's bizarre. Not sure why, but it is. It's also always strange to read the thoughts of someone you know well. There's just such a disconnect between the reality of walking, breathing, spitting person and the eloquence of letters arranged in distinct patterns. Which is one of way saying: Don't be disappointed if you ever run into me, okay? And for those who know me, they know I disappoint them on a regular basis anyways, so they don't have their hopes up.)

Long story short, this is my way of saying that I truly appreciate all of those thousands upon thousands of people who read this blog on a regular basis. (Okay, okay so maybe there's not thousands of people reading this, no, but there are at least hundreds. Well, alright, hundreds might be pushing it, but there are dozens, at least. Fine, a handful, in any event. Ah shit, there's gotta be one?)

I guess you could say that this blog is divided between those people who know me who read it, and those who don't. Sometimes it's a little disconcerting to allow those voices inside of my head an outlet on this page; it's kind of like going to confession on a daily basis, only what I'm confessing is not necessarily sinful, and the people on the other side of the little-sliding-barrier aren't Catholic priests but anonymous cybersurfers.

Sometimes I try to picture whoever is reading this blog. Which means I'm trying to picture you, yes you, at this moment, now, in front of your screen. Perhaps you're sipping a Coke. Maybe you're waiting for the phone to ring, or killing time before C.S.I. starts. Or you could have stumbled onto this site accidentally, and are slowly, gradually nodding off even as I type these words. You might be in a three-piece suit or your jammies. You may be naked, for all I know. (If you are naked, for the love of all things holy, please, put on some clothes. It's nothing personal, it's just that this ain't that kind of blog. Unless I get numerous requests to make it into that kind of blog, of course. ) You may be getting ready to settle in for the night, or about to start your day. You might have just told your spouse 'I know, I know, I get it, you told me already a thousand times'. You could have just decided to get divorced. To get married. To buy the house. To ditch the plant in the living room. To run the bath. To change the diaper. To renew your subscription to Newsweek, but not Cosmo. A million mundane decisions, large and small, are going through your mind as you are reading this sentence -- and I'm privy to none of them.

But somehow we connect, despite the dissonance.

The anonymity of the web allows us to view different lives from alternative, somewhat skewed electronic angles. There is a lot that you don't know about me, and even more that I don't know about you. But for a few moments here and there each and every day I can ramble on about all the random things that I think about, and a few moments (hours, days, weeks) later, you can log on and read about it. (Even if you're nude.)

I'm still not sure what all this means. Does the world get bigger, because we can connect online, or does it contract, because we no longer feel the need to knock on our neighbour's door?

I'm not sure. But connections, however we make them, online or otherwise, are always, well, when you get right down to it, nice. Aren't they?


Thank-you for dropping by.

(And, before you switch sites, if you remain unclothed, at least put on a housecoat, will you? Or a pair of slippers or something. I'm not saying you don't have a nice body, but still.)

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