3/31/2019
Perhaps never

Almost seven years ago I met Shalla for the first time.

"We met online" is the stock answer I give when people ask me about our origin story. It's really her chancing upon this blog and posting a heart on my apparently now non-existent chatboard. One thing led to another, and now, she's showing me this one stupid Piffle just bouncing around aimlessly.

I wonder if the same could have happened if everything happened today.

I mean, we all know the Internet is a pretty harsh place today. Now, I don't expect to be the guy who would wax sentimental about how it was a much gentler time back then. Seven years ago people with opinions that can be classed as "extreme" by the gatekeepers were already motivated to express themselves. We already disagreed seven years ago. But, yeah, sure, Facebook and Twitter weren't maximized to the hilt then; we didn't even have the term "influencer" - that scourge of these parts, worse than whatever you think of the Kardashians; that is an "extreme" opinion, isn't it? - bouncing around.

And now, of course, everything seems really nasty, but only because we all believed in the value of democratizing spaces for exchanging ideas and opinions, only to realize that we really don't want to hear what other people say, especially if what they say goes against what we believe. Yes, there are people who manipulate facts and perceptions to suit their needs, and that is a problem, too. But it's really, for the most part, our belief that, in all this public space, there ought to be a corner made only for us, whatever else is happening outside it be damned - unless, of course, whatever's happening outside will make you look good, even if it just means you showing off your supposedly impeccable ethics.

And it's come to the point where leaving these public spaces is seen as an essential to keep your sanity. Yeah, sure, I get that, but let's face it - it's a luxury only a few people can afford, only those whose social acceptance lie outside tangled wires crossing the planet. You know, people with friends they can hang out with constantly.

I wouldn't have met Shalla in these circumstances. I'm withdrawn as it is now. (Ironically, I blog, but you know, who reads this shit anyway? I'm of no value, after all.) And I'm a guy who's always been awkward around people. Even if I meet with people who I consider to be friends I always feel they're judging me, that they're secretly vowing never to see me again because I am such an irritant. Most of the time that's been proven right - I mean, I never made really good friends in college, and nobody has kept touch with me - and I was very much ready to live a life of solitary delights and rudimentary interactions with colleagues. And yes, I may have been proven wrong, but I will always have those doubts. I genuinely think people hate me. And if not for Shalla, I would be dead by now. And nobody would care.

Where was I? Oh, yeah.

And your responses...

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