Sunday, February 21, 2010


I was sitting on a bar stool this weekend drinking the traditional Sunday Bloody Mary talking over the details of my friend Nikki's (pictured above with BF Ricky) new love affair (she calls it a "de-briefing", I call it a "post-mortem"; potato potahto). And if it were anyone but Nikki, in the interest of privacy, I wouldn't have even written the previous sentence. But anyone who knows Nikki knows that her life is Out There. She has carried on a long-distance romance for the last several months culminating in a real life first-time meeting a few days ago completely played out, in words and pictures, in front of 901 of her closest Facebook friends. Thankfully, the relationship is working. But if it wasn't? It wouldn't be working in front of her 901 closest Facebook friends as well.

That's just Nikki.

And, despite my proclivity for writing in this blog in public and for anyone in the whole wide world to see (many thanks to both my readers), I still consider myself a private person, much MUCH more so than Nikki. As she put it yesterday,

"I'm transparent. You're...opaque."

And although I share many details of my life here, it's true, I am opaque. In fact, I am a little crazy private with the exception of to a trusted inner circle of friends. But...still. As I've written before and in more than one blog post before that I am, for some reason, always haunted (maybe even obsessed) by the notion that I shouldn't be. That opaqueness is overrated. I can never quite shake the feeling that my reticence is holding me back from...something. Maybe because when I do overcome it? Stuff like this comes out. Stuff that I feel way better about that my usual blog fodder.

As it happens, at the same restaurant where Nikki and I were enjoying our Bloody Marys, some other friends of mine were hanging out in another section. I ran into them on the way out and in their party was a friend who writes for the Tribune. Of course I had to ask this friend if he knows Roger Ebert, my favorite movie critic and movie columnist, which lead to a conversation about Ebert's frail health and then a subsequent Googling.

Friends, if you haven't seen Roger Ebert in a while, prepare for a shock because this is what Roger Ebert looks like these days:

Talk about your transparent. The photograph above is from this excellent piece on Ebert by Chris Jones in Esquire. You can read Ebert's thoughts about his situation as well as the Esquire piece in his blog right here. Ebert has this to say about the photo:

I got a jolt from the full-page photograph of my jaw drooping. Not a lovely sight. But then I am not a lovely sight, and in a moment I thought, well, what the hell. It's just as well it's out there. That's how I look, after all.

Despite it all, Ebert continues to work, goes on, continues to watch and review films, and, as always he shares the details of his life pretty unflinchingly. Like Nikki. Totally unlike me. I continue to wrestle, for reasons I don't even begin understand, with the question of my opaqueness. I continue to resist transparency.

But I admire the hell out of those who don't.
[Photo Credits: Nikki #1, Ricky #2]


met said...

Excellent post. Very good point. I think we all feel the same way. I really hate it that Ebert is going through this.

Patience-please said...

When I have written my most personal 'un-entertaining' pieces on my blog - pieces which I am certain will drive my readers away by the score - I get the most positive feedback.
That said, I totally understand that need to preserve some privacy. Sometimes I feel that tightrope between my metaphorical toes.
Thing is, you write so well that your readers love you no matter what. It's just up to you how much of yourself you want to share.

Nikki D. May said...

What Patience said... times 10!

Brenda said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

You gotta be you. And, what a great you you are.


Jeanna, another of your transparent friends.