GameGirlz.com: Digital Chix Editorial. Feb 26. Real Life TM
Sometimes it takes something pretty drastic to remind me that I don’t lead a regular run-o-the-mill life. Having a T1 connection to the internet is like a gratuitous IV into my digitally saturated bloodstream. I forget the pains of dial up connections, or no connection at all (oh the horror!). So, like I said, it takes a lot for me to notice that this isn’t the norm for most people. It takes something like a massively devestating flu that keeps me away from my computer for a week, and I lie there trying to figure out why none of my friends are coming to visit. Then it dawns on me that a majority of them live half way across the world somewhere. Sure they could send flowers but I know they’ve prolly sent me a virtual hug in an email or something wonderfully thoughtful like that.
So I got this cold and suddenly I had a lot of time on my hands to think about that weird thing they call “Real Life”. Most people don’t need a term to describe the activities that occur with out a computer, but if you have any sort of online friendships with people, you know what I am talking about. And as I reached for the cough medicine, it hit me just how integrated the wires are into my mind and heart and personality. I have met so many great people in the last year that I don’t remember what it was like to just have local friends, with their own lives and schedules that conflicted with mine, requiring time to plan coffee dates and the like, using primitive forms of communication like voice mail…:)
It really bums me out when my computer crashes or I have to go away and be without an internet connection. Its like someone has put me in a jail cell and I can’t get in touch with the people I want to talk to, or carry out activities that I incorporate into my day to day life. I try to explain this to my “real life” friends and family, but I see the haze come into their eyes as they start to think about their grocery list while I speak. And suddenly I feel like some sort of freak. When did this happen to me? And why is there a stigma attatched to the internet that it is a terribly unsafe place to meet people? Um. Hello?! The last time I checked, the bus ride home, sitting besides that drunk loser, wasn’t the best place for me to meet someone either….but I know plenty of people who have found love and happiness on the bus ;)
I guess I can’t deny that there was a day when I suppose I thought that online community was overrated and that it wasn’t possible to grow a real relationship over the net. Now, I like to look back and giggle to myself. It seems so preposterous to think that I would have been wary of a new form of communication. I remember embracing my own telephone and kissing it, thanking my parents for giving me the key to being a successful teenager. Or the day I got my driver’s license and developed the freedom to travel to new places and visit friends without requiring a 2 hour walk or an hour bus ride with 7 transfers. Those freedoms to communicate are so important, and the internet is the most easily accesible of all of them.
In the end, I suppose its really what you make out of it for yourself. A year ago I never would have expected that I would turn down going out to a smoke filled club to get hit on by slimy men (oh the JOY) for a text based chat with somebody half way across the continent. But now that seems like the best choice for me. While I will always need local friends, human interaction and the telephone (a good friend of mine)…I hope that everyone will eventually be open to discovering the joys of meeting new people all over the world & from all walks of life. Quite simply, the experiences I have had online have made me a richer and better person. I hope everyone can find these merits for themseleves. And next time I get sick, I’ll remember to post it before I am too ill to go to work. That way I will get tons of email to remind me how many people out there really care :)