Been thinking about relationships and connecting lately, especially as it pertains to friends. All of these internet connecting spaces make it quite possible to never lose touch with anyone you've ever met in your life (I am not exaggerating). When the encounter is more that haphazard or singular, say, seeing the same person in high school everyday or sharing a campus for 4 years (give or take some time if you were a mover), then it's reasonable to say that a rapport may have developed. I don't assume a friendship but at least the pleasant acknowledgement of another's existence. Add to that the fact that we tend to remember things more fondly as the time between our present and said past increases (that maybe an assumption), and we arrive at this strange space where everyone is "friends" and very few are substantive. If this at all applies to you, weigh in on it; if not, feel free to tell me how big a deal i'm making about nothing.
There have been a few times when the internet has allowed me to reconnect with people i've held very dear to me but for some odd reason we lost touch, or develop a friendship with someone I didn't connect with until my time at an appointed place was nearly over. More often, the internet allows me the opportunity to maintain communication with my homies du jour when we don't speak on the phone. Recently, I've even decided to engage an immensely popular connecting space as a fresh way to build with blood relatives who live at great distances. To be candid, much of what does not fall into one of those categories above is filler. It is true that I sometimes have random musings about a person that I am not close to. I wonder how that person is doing, and I can locate and ask them just that in a matter of points and clicks - that is a great thing. However, this convenience comes at the high price of agonizing over expanding networks and friend requests and such. Why am I wondering how greatly someone will be impacted if i don't accept them into my "cyber clique"? Why don't the MySpace/Friendster/Facebooks of the world have any rejection options that range from "politely decline" to "that's wack - you barely know me"? Especially when a great number of these "friendships" will not go beyond the intial request and the occasional chain letter? And let's not forget the folks who request for the sake of building their numbers up (I wouldn't even have mentioned this if it wasn't true). I don't want to contribute to anyone's false sense of self-importance. Maybe I am overestimating my own.
Before all of this, connecting took effort, and that effort weeded out the proximal companions, for the most part (that phrase sounds so right, but it looks terrible in print) - the ones who were really down found a way to KIT if they could. Sometimes it mean that we lost people as a result of moving away, attending a different school or any myriad of things that cause a change on location. The up side to this? We weren't as cut off to new people because "nobody can make it out here alone." (to borrow from that cinematic breakthrough that was Poetic Justice.) Consider this: how hard do we really have to work at creating new connections if we never have to lose the old ones? How easy is it to stay to yourself all day during work at a new job or new school, if you get to come home and tell your old heads about how different your new digs are? Furthermore, people [are supposed to] change, and maybe staying in the same comfort zone with familiar folks is stunting. There's no room to meet the individuals who reflect who you are at the present, if you're hanging on to people in the past. And by "hanging on" I don't mean simply keeping in touch, that's fine; I mean, everyday, to the letter, tell-me-everything-that's-happened-since-i-moved kind of "hanging on."
Monday, April 23, 2007
If you're in a WalMart store any time soon (not that I am pro-WalMart by any means, but maybe make an exception this time), and you see a collection of six cards in purples and browns, with one word on the cover in funky lettering, and a snappy message inside - pick one of them up. (hell, pick up the whole set of six if you'd like.) It's something i've had my hand in. Take a gander, let me know what you think, and then find someone to give 'em to. Better yet, get one for yourself and tape it to your wall or prop it up on your desk as a daily reminder of how fly you is.