Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friends in the Ether

A while ago, Nance commented thusly:

The Blog Universe is a rather nice place...
haven't made so many boon companions since Jazzercise!

That's a statement which can be parsed and responded to in many ways. So, Nance, thanks for the prompt........ here goes:

The Blog Universe really does exist, strangers make connections which turn into relationships which are not always one-sided but which may well be. And it doesn't really matter. I don't have to leave a comment on to feel that I'm in bed with Heather and Jon and Marlo (that's actually a lot less racy than it sounds.... click and see if you don't believe me) . She's sharing her life and I'm along for the ride. Much like reading Jean Kerr's Please Don't Eat the Daisies, it's real life zaniness edited for public consumption. There's the pleasant surprise of having found her added to the ease with which she's in my living room that exemplifies rather nice place-ness of the one-sided internet relationship. And I have the feeling that she enjoys making me smile as much as I enjoy making you smile. I know you're out there, even if you don't comment, and that's just fine.

Then there are the readers who take the time to comment and establish a presence in more than just their own little piece of the blogosphere. If you read a blog regularly, eventually you're going to glance at the comments, too. It's kind of like sneaking a peek at someone else's mail.... only not. And over time, you'll see the same names cropping up. Sure, commenting is a way to get exposure for your own blog (click on the commentor's name and a profile page will usually appear), and that may be motivating at first. But most serial commentors are advancing the conversation.

The Little Cuter tells me that this is what blogging is all about - the connections and subsequent conversations. And that, I think, is what Nance meant about boon companions.

Boon companions....
let that phrase roll around in your brain for a while. Are you seeing Dan'l Boone? Or Laura Ingalls Wilder? Huck Finn and Tom and Jim? I'm thinking of people who are easy travelers, who are interested in me as much as I am interested in them, people who are good company.

I loved the jazzercise connection, too; it's just that kind of relationship. I can count on them appearing in my life at a certain time every day. The nuances (of the class, of the blog) may be different, but the overall gestalt is the same. I know just enough about you to satisfy my curiosity, but you're not an overwhelming presence in my life. You note my new clothes, a sad face, a sudden ability to grab my extended toe, and it's all fair game. I can share without fear that the burden will be overwhelming - you're only jazzzercise/blogosphere friends after all. Close enough to listen, distant enough for self-protection. The opportunities to take a step closer, to intervene on a more personal level, to send an email to the blogger instead of a public comment, to ask what you can do to help -- they are there, but not expected.

Sometimes, the unexpected happens. I met Miss Nancy and Amster at the gym, and they are among the most important people in my life. Our paths would not have crossed anywhere else, just as Ashleigh Burroughs can only be discovered in the ether. But the gym rats whose first names are my only connection to their true identities are also a part of the wonderfulness that is my life. We smile, we compare notes, we share parts and pieces of our lives, and we enrich each other without expending all that much extra effort.

I like it.


  1. I probably shoulda said "Zumba" and "BFF"'s instead of Jazzercise and "boon companions" so I wouldn't sound my age. This is great, my friend, and thanks! I love reading your posts all the time.

  2. But if you'd done that, then I wouldn't have had such a wonderful prompt!

  3. You have a wonderful and devoted friend in Seret. I met "Seret" on the plane and heard your story! She is so proud of you and I heard from her that you are out of the hospital. My prayers are with you, Suzi, even if I've never met you. God's Blessings! Gracie Ward


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