How not to put a boat in the water

I'm going to kick you in the vagina if you don't give me those slippers!

We had tornadoes yesterday. First they ripped through Memphis, downing trees, cutting power, and blowing out the windows in a few office buildings and hospitals. I think we lost a few shingles off my shop, but my house appears to be OK. After the tornadoes ripped up Memphis, they continued east to where I was working, ripping through town and attempting to drown me on the instant riverbed that had previously been a highway. Luckily, I did not drown, and the tornado didn't pick me and my car up and drop us in Oz on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. I suppose it could've been fun, but I suspect I wouldn't have been nearly as nice as Dorothy was, nor as patient with the Cowardly Lion, big fake Wizard of Oz, and certainly not the Witch who wanted my ruby red slippers. I would have punched her in that big green nose and taken her broom by force. But seeing as she could ride the thing I wouldn't have bothered bringing it to the Wizard. I'd just ride it home, stopping by the Emerald City long enough to write the URL of my blog in the sky as I went. Hey, it pays to advertise, you know.


I may have found a new motocross bike for myself. It's a Honda CRF230F, a bike I knew nothing about prior to last night when I saw the ad for it. It's used and I still need to find out what year model this bike is, how many hours of riding it has endured, and whether my motocross-racing neighbor recommends it. You see, I still haven't seen the track where I'd be riding, so it's difficult for me to guesstimate what exact bike I need. All I know for sure is that my old antique bikes won't cut it. We won't discuss my old antique body's ability to cut it.


I've noticed something which I think is odd. I had noticed it before, but then forgotten again. Then I ran into an ex-girlfriend who reminded me of it. She was talking to me about all of her friends. And then, as she talked, I began to realize that what she meant by 'friends' was people she knew only through the internet, people who had never met her in real life and had no idea even what she looked like. It reminded me of myself, from 3 years ago when I was talking to a friend about someone I only knew through the internet, which they said sounded odd to them because I'd never met this person. At the time I was only semi-aware of why it must have sounded odd for me to refer to someone as a friend that I had never actually met, but when I heard my ex doing the same thing, talking with such pride and enthusiasm about these people she didn't really know, it opened my eyes.

The thing about this that is on my mind is this - I have had internet friendships which almost always went the same way - someone new comes along and we seem to like each other, we are enthusiastic, we have fun, but over time and for various reasons we fade from one another's world. Having no face-to-face contact, its just that much easier to get busy and lose track of a person. While I was both living and working in Memphis, having virtually no friends, it seemed as if this only happened with internet friends.

Now I'm spending 5 days a week elsewhere, in a place where I have real world, face-to-face friends. I am encountering people I haven't seen in many years, people who once were friends of mine, or at least knew me on some level. I have the opportunity to compare and contrast real-world adult friendships with internet friendships. The similarities are striking.

I have encountered very much the same 'fun new friend' enthusiasm, followed by a gradual lessening of enthusiasm, followed by a near total loss of contact with face-to-face friends that I have experienced with online friends. The difference is, with online friends, once I lose that person's email, I have lost that person forever. They are just completely gone. With face-to-face friends, I can lose all their contact info, but as long as we are in the same network of face-to-face friends, or I know where they live, I can reestablish contact with them again and get back together.

I encountered an old workout partner who knew me when I was 17. We met for lunch, having not seen each other in a long, long time. The first thing he said to me when we met was "you look the same, except that beard thing. So how much do you bench press now?" It was like we hadn't seen each other since last summer and he wondered if my bench was up any. More than anything, this ability to reconnect after a lifetime seems to be the only real difference between face-to-face friendships and online friendships. I strongly doubt that bloggers who know me only as Memphis Steve, should we ever cross paths again on the net 20 years from now, are going to be excited to see me and give me a cyber hug. I'd like to think they would, but I doubt it.

Hang on, you're probably saying, what about all the fake people on the internet? You can't fake your identity in the real world like that.

Well, based on my experience, yes, you can. I have had encounters over the years with people who were nothing that they said they were. Meeting them face-to-face didn't slow down the deception one bit. It just meant that they had to work harder at it. It limited what they lied about. But not as much as you'd think. Remember the news story years ago about Danny Bonaduce, when he picked up a prostitute who turned out to be a dude? Yeah, well, even a person's sex can be faked in the real world, not just on the net. And people do it. It just takes a lot more effort in the face-to-face world to pull it off.

Anyway, I don't have a lot to say about this. I wasn't planning on writing a novel. It's just something that I have noticed. Friends come and friends go, and that initial fun fascination with new friends may wear off and they disappear from your life in the real world just as it does on the net. It's all very much the same. The long-term friendships, whether online or in person, I believe are determined by honesty. The more open and honest 2 people are, the more likely that they will remain friends for the long run, face-to-face or internet, it's all the same.

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