Thursday, December 23, 2004

Getting to Know You

I've been mulling over a discussion at Bad Mother regarding the "blogger/bloggee" relationship. Coincidentally, it's something the Chica and I were discussing the other day. She reads my blog--she's one of only a few people who actually know me and know that this is my blog--but hasn't felt comfortable commenting on it because it feels too public. Of course, she doesn't really need to do: We see each other at work every day and she can tell me whatever she wants, right to my face. Still, we've been discussing the public nature of something that contains so much private information and, at times, so much emotional weight.

I think blogging and reading blogs is a bit like going to a fabulous cocktail party. You have the chance to strike up conversations with new people, and some of them turn out to be rather engaging. Some of them turn out to be odd but interesting, and some of them make you start giving your date the "find a reason to leave here NOW" signal. If you don't feel like talking to anyone, you can always nurse a drink and listen in on other interesting conversations. Sometimes you start talking to someone and think, Holy cow, this is someone I'd love to talk with again. But you aren't about to give out your home number because, hey, you don't know any of these people.

I have friends, and family, and work, and it's all good. But most nights, I have two little humans asleep upstairs, so I don't find myself at as many cocktail parties as I used to. I have friends and acquaintances who are writers, actors, lawyers, mothers, fathers, politicians, entrepreneurs, educators, scientists--but rarely do we have the chance anymore to get together as often as we'd like. And rarely do we get the chance to all hang out together, regardless of location or vocation.

As far as emotional involvement goes...I do have a weird, gate-crashing kind of feeling when commenting on a blog for the first time. As though I am interrupting a conversation that I just happen to have overheard. And it is amazing how sympatica you can end up feeling with people whom you know you don't really know. Still, I once heard a wise woman quote Terence: "I am a human being; nothing human is alien to me." Is getting a glimpse into the emotional or intellectual or professional lives of other humans--and enjoying it--weird? Voyeuristic? Or just something that we humans are wired to do--connect to other humans? It seems that we as a society don't get as much opportunity to do that as we used to do. What do you think?

Excuse me, but do we know each other? No. But thanks for the lovely evening. Maybe we can do it again sometime.


elswhere said...

..but I hate cocktail parties, and I love blogs. Maybe because with blogs nobody minds if you sit in the corner and read.

(Hi-- just gate-crashing at your site. It's great! I'll be back to read more.)

Laura said...

I totally agree with you. As a mom who actually misses her social life and who doesn't have enough time, money or people with similar interests around me to start it up again, blogs are a lifesaver. I like the cocktail party analogy. Inevitably after a cocktail party, there will be people you keep in touch with, people you will invite to your next cocktail party and people you'll never see again except maybe at the grocery store. I do feel emotionally involved with some of the blogs I read. It feels a little weird yes. I mean I don't even know what most of these people look like. But I think you're right--it's only human.

Psycho Kitty said...

Elsewhere--welcome! Sit and read! Have another vodka! Save me from these exclamation points!
GM--well of course you've probably figured out that I look just like Linda Evangalista before she got chubby. (/snort)

muse said...

I am in the middle of writing a post on why I love blogs (hopefully it won't end up sounding too trite...LOL), and as I was taking a break and blog-hopping, thanks to that fabulous "Next Blog" button (I do like these random discoveries!), I found your site. I really enjoyed this post of yours (your other posts too, by the way). I'll be checking out your site again.

I like blogging (and reading blogs) because it allows me to see how people are living, all over the world, and because it exposes me to different viewpoints.

On a more personal note, I like it because it allows me to communicate more effectively with my friends (I always thought that I expressed myself better in writing anyway). My true friends have my blog's URL and they can see what's happening with me, so when we get together we can catch up faster or just decide not to rehash the inevitable ups and downs and simply enjoy our time out and have fun. This incites me to be more open, too, which is something that I want to achieve in all my close relationships anyway. Life is too short to go on wearing masks with loved ones.

Happy New Year!

Jessica said...

Very well said...and exactly how I have felt at times. I just started a blog after months of deliberation over "putting myself out there." The same goes for posting comments - it feels a little intrusive but, then again, that's why we blog - to read and be read and to illicit comments from people who have something to add and might just share a common bond with us.