I recieved an email the other week from a guy I hadn't seen in almost six years. He found my website through a mutual friend. I was floored when I received his email. Floored because I was surprised that he remembered me, and surprised that he would contact me, even just to say hi.
I participated in the Ohio State University Renaissance Festival my freshman (and senior) year in college. That's where I met both of the folks mentioned above. That was the summer of 1993. After the show was over, I didn't keep in touch with anyone I had met. The only reason I maintained a friendship with Mike was because we kept running into each other on campus.
So Nik dropped me a note, just to say "Hey, I remember you!". I'm really glad he did, because we've been exchanging emails on a regular basis since then, and I'd honestly forgotten what a swell guy he is! Nik had moved out of Ohio after he graduated, but business brought him back to Columbus recently. He was kind enough to invite me to join him and several of his other Columbus friends at a local watering hole. I was a little reluctant to go - I mean, I hadn't seen this guy in almost six years, so I could only imagine what sort of polite small talk would occur.
I'm really glad I went, though. We had a solidly good time.
I've got a friend from high school who is stationed in Louisiana with the military. If it weren't for the internet, I'd have a really hard time keeping in touch with him. Sure, I could send him letters through the U.S. Postal Service, but I really doubt that I would. Besides, I enjoy his scathing criticism of my attempts at deep thinking on here. =)
Another person whom I communicate regularly with via the internet is my new girlfriend. She's one of the most internet savvy friends I have, and I really enjoy being able to 'talk shop' with her. She's got her own website (mad props to the first person to find it!), and she's a terrific writer. But it's kind of an awkward experience to read about yourself on someone else's website.
This all bleeds into a full-length post I was going to make about how people tend to be far more honest online than off. No, that's not entirely accurate ... Honest isn't the right word. People seem to be a lot more forthcoming online than off. I know I am: I'm willing to share a great deal of myself through my website, through ICQ, or email than I am in a face-to-face conversation.
Part of it has to do with comfort levels: when you're sharing something online, you're not recieving immediate verbal and non-verbal feedback from someone. So you're free to share at your own pace. You're also not subject to the discomfort of sharing something awkward, because there will be no immediate reaction. And of course, you have the luxury of composing your thoughts before you commit to speaking them (and can edit them later!).
The biggest drawback to all of this, of course, is the sterility - the lack of inflection. When chatting on ICQ with my girlfriend, it's all too easy to misinterpret a joke because the snide grin is lacking. It's also easy to miss the compliments, because the warmth of the eyes isn't there.
As I said above, this is something I had planned on writing about at greater length. I probably will, at some point. But I'd like to finish my thoughts now.
It's an interesting experience to read about yourself on someone else's website. What was written about me wasn't bad - it's just extremely interesting to read honest, unsolicited discussion of me, my actions, or the impressions that I generate in someone else. I have no doubt that my girlfriend would be completely willing to discuss the thoughts / impressions / feelings she has in regards to me, if I were to ask (that's one of the reasons I like her so much!). But reading something that she wrote independent of being prompted for thought by me is unique. It's somehow more ... forthcoming. Again, that's not quite the right word.
As I've stated countless times in the past on here, I'm incredibly insecure. So it's extremely comforting to gain insight to what my girlfriend thinks without asking for it. It really hammers home the sincerity of what she says. It's very refreshing.
Astute readers will, at this point, recognize that this is the first time I've ever really talked about my girlfriend. This marks a rather significant shift in content here. These same readers are also likely to realize that I've never used profanity on the front page essays (although there's plenty elsewhere on here!). That probably won't change. So enjoy reading about the girlfriend. =)