when the real bumps into the virtual

I’ve been chewing on bb/Shelley’s latest….

I have three (maybe four) “real” friends in my “virtual/blog” world, and a couple more who I’m sure are out there, reading but not blogging. two are people I’d lost track of entirely in the real world, one on purpose, so to speak, and one by the vagrancies of life.

oddly, Gus and I weren’t terribly close when we were teenagers, and she went by Jill…age and school meant a lot more at that age. now I follow her writing and her life with much more of a sense of participation, even if a lot of the references remain obscure.

K, on the other hand, found me first, in part of a vast soap-opera story of which blogging is only the latest chapter. (it’s a story with everything: friendship, family, love, lust, birth, fighting, world travel, and band camp. in fact, we were group-blogging before there was a Web.)

and Kat, well, Kat’s just my best friend. I love that she’s on the Web, with her own weblog…which I’d been bugging her about for a long time before she started. (not reading her writing? go, start now. give her a job, too.)

(the fourth person? well, I’m hoping Joe will go beyond our little round robin experiment….)

aside from my friend/bloggers, I know that Tom is out there someplace, maybe lurking, maybe not, same with my baby sister Elizabeth. (Edith — yes, our parents did that — I don’t know about. I wonder, but I haven’t asked. more about that later.)

same with C., I guess (my site is the home page on our browsers at home); he’s more interested in Snapping Links than in this stuff.

I get this eerie feeling sometimes, when I realize that someone I know in “real” life is reading what I write online. I’ve long had a (potentially dangerous, IMO) tendency to compartmentalize my life; when people I knew from one social group met people from another group, I used to call it “when worlds collide.” (my relationship with C involved a major “when worlds collide” moment.) I’m not always sure who to be.

which I think makes those moments good for me; I learn how to negotiate without a net.

the moment that I used to wonder about, sometimes with amusement, sometimes with dread, was if K and Edith collided here. then I told her that I’d been in touch with him, and stood my ground on how that is for me, and it turned out okay. (learning that I shouldn’t assume how other people will react.) and now I don’t care, or at least I don’t think I care.

I am hungry to turn the “virtual” friends into real ones, though, which is probably a sign of how isolated my personal life is at the moment. but even without that, I’ve come to like and sometimes even admire people through their writing — people like Shelley, Dorothea, Anita, AKMA, the other Elaine, Ralph — for all their strengths and faults and quirks. (I really wish that going to Seattle wasn’t such a slog; those weblogging meetups sound like fun.)