Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In a Bloggin' State of Mind

Last June, I jinxed myself. As I sat at the kitchen table on a lazy Sunday morning, sipping coffee and blocking out the sounds of arguing children, I read a New York Times article about the inordinate number of blogs that go fallow...abandoned forever in cyberspace with a tell-tale dateline/time of death and cingular, often arcane final headline such as, "I'm a playa, I'm a playa," "Looooooook at ma thingy," "Photos of the world's largest cookie cutter collection," and "Won't post again until we all get free weed."

I sat bolt upright, slapped the paper down on the table and announced, to no one in particular (as my husband is VERY good at blocking me out), and said, "This will SOOO not happen to me!"

In reality, blogging is hard work. It is hard to be consistently witty and relevant and at the same time self-depricating while you wear your inner most thoughts on your sleeve. Yet, what is even harder, however, is learning to live with what you've put out there for all to read, reference, comment on, and email to friends.
I have, more or less, reconciled myself with the fact that I have willingly given a multitude of eyes and ears a peek into my life and bedroom. Therefore, the full scope of my online musings/actions never really registered with me.

Until....I ran into a friend and former colleague of my husband at the grocery store. There I was, at the deli counter, scolding my 5 year-old for sitting on the kaiser rolls - (Why do they keep them so low? Do the supermarket powers-that-be not realize that small children will want to stack them like legos to use as a step ladder?) - He came up to me with a big hug and kiss.....

"Hey," I said, "How are you?" and continued with the usual pleasantries about work and his wife. When the conversation had run its course, he just gave me a wink and a sly smile and said, "Oh you...how's it going...haven't checked your....(slight pause)...monologues...in awhile."
The full gravity and reality of what I was putting out there hit me in that instant. For a split second I couldn't move, paralyzed like a deer in headlights. It must have flashed across my face before I could recover, because he then gamely gave me a playful, "knowing" punch on the arm and said, "Ahhh...that hubby of yours....give him my best." Then he was gone.

As I turned back to order my salty meats, I felt both oddly violated and flirted with at the same time. Never, in all of my months of silly stories and vivid description, had I ever once stopped to think about how someone's view of me could be altered - for better or worse - regarding the stories I chose to share. And never had I given a moments thought to the typical male perspective on it all.

In my mind, my audience has always been smart, savvy modern women. Those with or without children, who wear many hats - mother, daughter, wife, friend, lover, teacher, sister, aunt, neighbor - and were fraught with many of the same issues prevalent in my life. I was never really trying to be provactive, just timely and topical and above all else funny. The only guy, I thought, that really read my posts was my husband....if he laughed, not a little tee hee, but a full, throaty, showing all his teeth, clapping his hands laugh - then I knew it was good - be it obnoxious, ridiculous, voyeristic or over the top.

But then, I am one to naively stand at the early morning school bus stop in my flannel pajamas amid a group of husbands waiting with their children then scurrying off to work and think no one notices.....or is offended, annoyed or even oddly turned-on.

Whether in a conversation or a blog post, I've always sacraficed social convention for a punchline. To me, funny is sexy. (Come on, would Paulie Shore have gotten any ass in his lifetime if he wasn't funny?....okay maybe funny is sexy doesn't apply to the Weasel...) And when the timing is right I will go in for a laugh, like a skilled boxer who has perfected her upper left hook. Most don't expect that it is coming and the mousey, four-eyed girl always walks away with the biggest laughs.

But then after my panic at the deli counter, I stopped. I stopped writing. I stopped sharing. I closed down. My opinions felt irrelevent and tired. Plus, I was a bit scared of the monsterous, over-sexed online corner I had become to believe I had painted myself into. Was that wave and smile from the neighbor that I knew read my blog really mean, "Hi! How are you?" Or was it really, "Oh yeah, she's a horny mother fuckin' freak!"

Then school started and we stopped eating lunch meat. The quick uptick in the family schedule left me cranky and tired and without time to myself. Without time to think, to write and to be circumspect about it all and my thoughts were relegated to the daily ebb and flow of email responses. And as I religiously checked my inbox, I began to get increasingly annoyed by the sheer speed in which some people could crank out responses. And not just a phoned in WTF LOL half email/half tweet, but the long circuituous way that they got to their point. I was so jealous of their use of words and quick chirpy verse.

What pushed me off the ledge, however, was a series of novellas written and sent by a soccer coach. His emails were like long idle walks down a country road, meandering yet quaint and full of Norman Rockwellian antecodes. He prattled on about the joy of autum and mulling spices, crisp leaf peeping and soccer playing weather, the unabridged history of the soccer ball (Who knew they were once oblong rocks?), seminole moments in Pele's athletic career (Where would Brazilian soccer be if he hadn't flunked out of law school?), and the unconfirmed story that Posh has been secretly drugging Becks with low doses of Viagra.

I was dumbfounded. As I hit delete, I may have even thrown up in my mouth. This person had written more in one email, than I had blogged about in months.....hmmm....dare I start looking into guest bloggers? Nah......because, just as Jay-Z raps that "I'll be hood forever," the allure of an online persona will always lead me back and compell me to share my voice and hopefully a laugh about life, love, sex and the insanity of it all.

1 comment:

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