Believe it or not, I have been so occupied by real world concerns that I haven't even been able to keep up with my favorite blogs, much less my own posts. I am stealing a few minutes to examine something that Tim touched upon.
My life has become somewhat insulated since I married my soul mate. I never did have a grand circle of friends, mostly just acquaintances with which whom I did not share much in common except frequenting the same bar or working at the same place. Since my Mom died I have pretty much been estranged from my rather large, far flung, and never there family, and I don't gel very well with my in-laws, although my step-daughters are truly a joy to me. As my Wife and I and our marriage has aged and mellowed, and our energy, time, and money to party has ebbed with the passing years, it's become pretty much me and her, two souls very happy to share our special place alone together, except for those times that the kids visit, or we go to visit them. Even going out to a restaurant has become a very rare treat as the assault on the middle class continues unabated and our finances become less and less adequate for anything other than mere living. I'm not really complaining about it; we love each other's company and manage to keep ourselves occupied as cheaply as possible. We both know it can always get worse, so we treasure the relative good times.
I do have people at work that I consider friends (as much as you can use that word for people you spend 12 hours three days of each week with), but my lifestyle such as it is still very much resembles that of a hermit, stuck behind the battlements, bereft of contact with people whose mentality and life experience would so grandly enhance my own. I'm sorry, but as much as I love my wife and enjoy the discussions we have about life, the universe, and everything, I still thirst for comradeship with people who can absorb what I pontificate without their eyes glazing over or falling over with convulsions. I DO live in Redneckville, and my outlook is pretty much on par with latin to most folks I come in contact with. Whenever I am forced to "speak the language", it duns down my very soul and can be quite painful.
Then, thank Bob, I found Blogger. At first it seemed like there wasn't anything I read that was going to interest me, since most blogs I surfed thru really were nothing more than journals written by kids and people who shouldn't be allowed near something with a keyboard. Then I came across a crotchety old veteran with a flair for telling stories and making just about anything sound soooo sweet. Within a few posts I was hooked, and before long I felt a connection with this gentleman (no offense intended, good buddy) that I do not think would have been possible had I met him under any other circumstance. Then I came across a few others by virtue of the links provided, one guy very much like me in so many ways yet different enough to be downright scary, thanks to his diabolical flair with photoshop; a rather good looking (as in you'd damn well better laugh WITH her and not AT her) artist with a hard-nosed and downright hilarious take on what life has handed her; and a scholarly gentlemen who never stops examining life and all the things he has learned, not the slightest bit afraid to re-examine his beliefs, and the energy to take on life with gusto and respect for the earth.
Now, these would just be characters in an endless novel were it not for the one thing that sets Blogger and other such incarnations apart from just another thing to soak up off a monitor or television screen: the comments. What a wonderful way to have your say and discuss it too! What a wonderful way to have your ideas and beliefs critiqued, shared, chewed over, and dumped on if need be! This is the World village we have all been told would happen one day and folks, I DO believe it HAS! They say it takes a village to raise a child. I say it takes a village like Blogger to raise awareness, to share dreams and aspirations, to find some sense of community, and yes, some form of belonging when you think you belong to nothing or no one. Yes, I have one with whom I share my life, my love, who saves my sanity, etc, but I think you all know what I mean when I suggest this is not always enough when one thirsts for something bigger than their immediate local or circumstance. These new "friends" of mine help to quench that thirst, and in some way I hope I repay them in kind.
Yes, bloggers come and go as they partake of what they want and need from these forums and then move onto a new phase or adventure or just flat out grow weary of it. I cannot envision or recommend that people actually find their lives within the pages of these electronic villages, and become unable to live their lives in the real would with equal satisfaction. But as a place to pull up a chair at a virtual bar and refresh your soul after a hard and not so satisfying day, I have found no equal, and I do not see giving it up altogether any time in the near future. Whether or not they reciprocate, I consider many of my fellow villagers as friends, a different kind of friend, perhaps, but no less valuable, and no less missed when they stray for whatever reason, removing them from my knowing. I saddens me to no end that I will probably never get to meet any of the fine folks I have met in this world, but I do take solace in the fact that I DID get to meet them at all, for I do believe I have been enriched beyond measure in knowing them as well as they have allowed me to.
So, yes, Tim, I get you. Mom lied when she said I was an only child. I have brothers and sisters all over the place. I am not an orphan anymore.