Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Et Cetera Addendum

Intimacy or Over-Exposure?
I was thinking about yesterday’s blog and decided I wanted to expand on something that actually occurred to me as I was writing it (I really love when that happens), which I briefly alluded to in the story.

I’ll admit to being somewhat of a dramatist when I write, especially at the end of a post. Hopefully it doesn’t come off as too cheesy, but hey, I’m a sentimental fool as I’ve stated much more than once. What I mean is, I like to leave both the reader and myself with something to think about in relation to the topic of the story. The second half of yesterday's story was about another one of my friends, Az, and how our friendship has actually increased over the years, despite the fact that he lives in California and I live 1500 miles away in Tennessee.

I indicated that until recently, my first inclination is to lament the fact that I have very few close friends here locally. Since moving to Nashville, I have never been able to develop the closeness, which was the hallmark of so many of the friendships of my youth and young adulthood. It was frustrating, and I felt that way for a very long time. I was pretty depressed about it, actually.

However now I look around me, I look at the subject of about 70% of what I write about, and guess what — all I see are friends. I’m still on an island, but now it’s almost as if the ocean surrounding me has dried up, and I can step off in any direction onto dry land and travel to be with my friends. This is nearly as much a physical reality as it is a figurative one for me.

Physically, the fact that Airline travel has actually gotten cheaper, along with free long distance cell phone plans has made what was once prohibitively expensive travel and communication with my family and old friends feasible once again.

Figuratively (so to speak) the Internet has made phenomena such as e-mail and this blog community a reality, and a true means of establishing and nurturing friendships. We’ve had varied flavors of this same discussion before, but while there certainly is greater risk of deceit under the cover of cyberspace, the reverse is true as well. Online friendships can hold the possibility of true honesty and self-disclosure, ergo, true friendship, because the physical obstacles that might inhibit otherwise normal interaction are removed.

I guess the point I was driving at, as it relates to me and the realization I had when writing my blog yesterday, is that I need to change my way of thinking. There is so little that can now stand in the way of communicating and being communicated with. There’s no reason for any of us to ever be without friends, whether they are newly established or revitalized lifelong relationships, which had been neglected via barriers of time, distance or both.

The reference to George Bailey and It's a Wonderful Life is one that I think can apply to all of us. We can all be “the richest man in town” if we recognize and nurture the friendships we have, as well as the potential to make more.

I wanted to throw out the topic for discussion here. I’m anxious to hear what your opinion is and how your relationships have changed with the onset of technology over the past 10-15 years. Is it a blessing or a curse? What about your “online friendships? How “real” are they? How much do you trust them? Are they worth the risk? Does the potential for fraud negate their benefits?

Am I full of crap?

Wait. Don’t answer that.

Talk to me people…
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