Over the last year I have made some new, wonderful friends. People who have helped, and encouraged me. People I have laughed with, made fun of, and in general caused mayhem.
People I have never actually met in real life.
I don’t know a great deal about these men and women on the internet. But I like them. They tell great stories. We have similar senses of humor, and love writing, and reading, and share a lot of similar goals.
I count them as friends.
I suppose this isn’t quite as unusual as it would have been just ten years ago. Many of us now have friends that we’ve never actually seen face to face. Never had a cup of coffee with. Never hugged, or shook hands. But the people on the other side of that google hang out are just as wonderful, and I would miss them just as much, as any other of my friends. (Especially Cyndi 😉 )
I am unsure if this development in our culture is good, or bad. It has allowed me, a person who is uncomfortable in crowds and often socially inept, the safety of a computer screen to feel completely at peace with chatting with more then two people at once. And has even bled over into my physical life.
On the other hand, there is still a distance. If something were to happen to one of my friends that live down the street I would know within a matter of days, if not hours. If something were to happen to one of my internet friends… would I ever know?
I suppose it is no different then if I had a pen pal back in ye old Victorian days, and the letters simply stopped coming. This is probably also why living wills and wills now sometimes include passwords, or other information to inform those who might be interested.
In a world that is increasingly becoming connected, and at the same time disconnecting from one another, we are adjusting to technology, and the idea that boarders, and distance rarely matter.
Perhaps there is a story in this idea… one in which a boy, smitten by a girl in a city far away, suddenly loses contact, and travels across the country, or the world, to find her.
Perhaps it’s just a reminder that life is fragile, and precious, and we should all take the time to appreciate our friends weather they live down the block, or on the other side of the world.