Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My first Spillover

I got turned on to reading online journals back in 1998, when I got my first home computer. A good friend of mine (hi Jeanna), told me of a few she liked to read. Before I knew it, “checking in” became habit.

I seldom, if ever, communicate with the journalers I read, though I have sent an e-mail or two on a few irresistible occasions. Mostly, I just like to keep up with people, people who are good writers in particular. And that’s really the only thing the journalers I read have in common with each other, the good writing part. One is a young mother, one a young father, one a writer in Hollywood, one a grant writer at a university in the east, a magazine editor in Chicago, a thirty-something animal lover in Baton Rouge, a columnist in Minnesota, a former dirt company employee in California.

So this morning, as per usual, after slipping a frosty diet coke into the hugger, firing up the PC and checking out the local and national news, I begin zipping thru my favorite journals. When I came upon Secra's journal and she still hadn't updated, I did something I hardly ever do. Without a second thought for some reason, I opened an e-mail window and sent her an e-mail, "Update the journal please!". I mean, heck, how else am I supposed to know how the new job is going? Sheesh.

Not too much later, my constantly ringing phone rang again. I have caller i.d. and I noted a far away area code and unfamiliar tag as I picked up. "Hmm", I thought. "This is Suz", I said. "Hi, this is Secra!", came the reply.

Now, people. THIS was a strange sensation. And a first for me. Maybe everybody else has met a million people online and then in person, but it's never happened to me before.

This unfamiliar voice from so far away was, at the same time, so familiar. I mean, I've read Secra's journal for, what, three years? More? I was there when her husband proposed, I remember her wedding, I know how many children she has, I know she's a bike rider and...so many other things. I mean, I know Secra. Or at least I know the on-line version of her. In just a moment I realized that the e-mail I had sent contained my auto signature with all my contact information, complete with phone numbers. I think I did have the presence of mind to ask how the job was going. And, actually, we plunged into a conversation that, looking back on it, two people who've never heard each other's voices just shouldn't be having.

We didn't talk long...she had things to do and I was probably not making much sense anyway, grappling as I was with the extreme juxtaposition of familiar and unfamiliar. It was quite a sensation. And an unexpected pleasure.

Thanks for calling, Secra. And don't wait so long between updates, okay?




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2 comments:

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Monica said...

How cool and scary was that? I would love to talk on the phone with some of the journalers I read. It's amazing you can just carry on a conversation with someone you never met. But like you said, after you read someone's journal for so long, you kind of feel like you know them.