samedi, décembre 01, 2012

The sin sick soul

Call it mental disability.

Call it self-indulgence.


A really, really bad attitude.

I am exhausted by (what I call, in my tradition) the sin in our culture.

Sin to which, I am sure, I make my own peculiar contribution.

Much of it plays out on a monitor.

I'm shocked by the fact that nine year old children suffer from access to pornography at the click of a mouse.

Horrified that access to guns is so easy that thousands of people are murdered by angry men or women (mostly men) who pick one up in a hot or cold fit of fury. More appalled that within hours we  are able to become voyeurs, virtual tragedy buzzards, pecking at the ruins of someone else's life.

The Internet has also made adultery easier. I know that because I am propositioned by the lowdown guys on the lowdown.

Married men (or men whom I suspect are living with the wives) on dating sites now get the metaphorical back of my hand.  I have little patience for other people's online dilemmas with regard to married love. Grow up, damn it, I want to say to them.

If I were a counselor, of course, I would not be allowed to be that judgmental. But I am not their counselor and don't want to be their...girlfriend.

Then there is the cowardly guy who disappeared without even an apologetic email. Bad behavior, if not sanctioned, is allowed.

I know, I know. I sound cranky. It's been a trying week.

I think I might be overexposed to online bad behavior. It has a way of suppressing my natural empathy and sense of compassion -- and who is to blame for THAT but the one who allows herself to sip everyday the 24/7 cocktail of news, gossip, shopping and flirtation that can be the Internet (when it's not information you need)?

Yes, I'm aware that many people control their virtual visits -- or use the web primarily for aesthetic or educational purposes. But I'm as aware that it enables many of us to lead double lives.

How many men, for example, do you know, who are captive to online pornography? I bet it's not just one or two.

When  satiated with the stench of the carnival, I have a longing to seek out my friends in real life -- to cling like a drowning sailor to that which is authentic and true.

How will we protect our children? In some cases, it is already too late.  They inhabit a world in which temptation lingers close at hand -- as close as keyboard access to deception, rage and terror.

Can we right our course? Only if we draw our children back, again and again -- reminding them that the best moments in life are not mediated by a white screen, but occur eye to eye, face to face, broken heart to open one, in the warmth of real life.

mercredi, novembre 28, 2012

Hey, did you notice I'd mentioned that I'd been in an auto accident yesterday? I emailed him.  Does it really count as an accident if you got scared silly -- but weren't going very fast, didn't smack into another car, and your 99 Volvo wasn't really much more damaged than it was before the accident?

I should rightly have been accused of hyping it up. But I was using the accident to make a point.

Why the heck hadn't he written to ask me how I was?  Wouldn't that have been the polite response, even from a relative stranger (in contrast to what one expects from a strange relative)?

Then I wrote, with a faux touch of chipper, (no, not the woodchipper from "Fargo"), that I would respond if he wrote back, but wasn't going to initiate any more emails.

For the moment.

Possibly forever.

The fact is, I have no clue what happened between us, if something can be said to have occurred.

There was a  long conversation (close to an hour and a half), I believe.

Followed by emails that jumped back and forth like live wires across the ether.

And then dinner  -- oh, he's cute, I thought.

Why am I working so hard to keep the conversation going?

I defaulted to listening -- and questioning.

What was I afraid of?

At meal's end, several hours later, he said he'd had a great time, and wanted to see me again.

And yet the ease of the previous emails was gone.  Was it ever there, I wondered, to begin with?

Trust -- but verify -- that was Ronald Reagan's famous aphorism about relationships with the Russian (previously Soviet) bear.

Oh hell, after meeting bipolars and narcissists, small children in large men's bodies and men who tried to run their hands over my body after one date, I just verify.

Knowing how downright weird this courtship fencing can be, I asked him again -- did he mean what he said?

Why yes, he answered, with precision and every appearance of sincerity.

But his online seeking (why do people linger on dating websites?)  and the silence that has replaced his eagerness tell another tale.

It is, most likely, a tale I cannot decipher -- but shall accept, with just a touch of bitterness for the lost time and nascent wondering.  I wonder if I should simply accept that having access to quick and simple forms of communication can bring out the beast in all of us, if we aren't careful.

Then the choice -- what to accept, and when is patience called for? Sometimes there are unknown circumstances.

What mysteries lie behind silence -- anomie, lack of passion, self-centredness, lack of interest, disability, distraction?

Or is it that online we have become the people we most fear -- shadows of the true self to which we aspire?

One God, we say in the Abrahamic faiths.

Yet online, whether it be to voice an opinion or to score a mate,  we turn ourselves into godlings -- and scamper, treading on the feelings of others as though we alone were truly real.

I hope I am kind and considerate -- but who knows? The mirror we hold up to ourselves is always cloudy.

One thing for sure -- I am much more of a cynic.