Well, I went and tipped off the #usguys tribe that I'd attempt a post tonight. Saturday and the kids are sleeping, hubby content in own world of computer games, couple of glasses of wine, rain on my windows. Peaceful.
There's just no real way to follow up the last post regarding the #usguys discovery. Sorry to disappoint, guys, but not gonna try. It's brewing, but some things are so far beyond 140 that they are beyond words. So instead I will use the usual tactic of rambling about other things until whatever I need to say gets out. I've been on twitter so heavily this week that it feels utterly foreign to be able to use full sentences again. Adjustment period needed.
First, a sad story that has colored my week strongly. A young lady I know lost her newborn baby this week suddenly and tragically. I still have not had any details back, as my own family has had the flu, which kept us away from my husband's family. We learned about it from a call with his parents the other night. This tragedy was to a family of neighbors and longtime friends across the street from my in-laws, who live in the same town as us, close by. The lady in question is about my age and has other children, two of them roughly the same ages as my own. Her younger brother was my husband's childhood best friend, so although I was only slightly acquainted with the family I am just close enough to feel it pretty badly, and just far enough away to be utterly helpless do do anything to help. Awful, awful feeling. It just hit me pretty hard because my own kids are still babies themselves, really, and it's just one of those scary reminders life hands me sometimes, that says "you are not in control, you cannot protect the ones you love, you cannot predict what will happen, you are very small indeed, in the scheme of things." Maddening.
So that night in my first upset, I had a choice of places and people to reach out to. Of course, Matt (my husband) got the tears and the hugging and was my first and only real shoulder to cry on. But oddly, my next move was to drop a line right into the #usguys stream. A few minutes later, two different twitter "friends" were offering sympathy & friendship. I then spent a largely sleepless night. My two year old baby girl, Minnie, was also sick, and had thrown up just before bed, so I had her in bed with me and she was keeping me awake with her restless tossing. 2AM found me tweeting again. More warmth. 5AM, more tweets.
This was strange. Normally I would reach out to my "real" friends. Why didn't I call up my best friend in the world? She would probably have been awake. Why not turn to Facebook, where 99% of my connections are people from my "real life"? Why turn to twitter, which is a motley collection of strangers, many of whom have ulterior motives and hidden, or not-so-hidden, agendas? So on reflection, I do think it was a little odd. Online relationships have a strange magnetism.
I met one of my first boyfriends on the web, back in 1997. I nearly married a second boyfriend, in 1999, that I also met on the web. Neither of those relationships worked well in the end, but they had the same kind of intensity that is happening with my twitter experience.
My husband and I, on the other hand, met in person in college. He was seated at a table in the cafeteria with a collection of my friends. I was handing round party invitations to my birthday party. I handed him one, and he read it carefully. A moment later, he tapped me on the shoulder. "Um... Excuse me? I don't know you." he said. I just laughed and said, "I know!" and he was like,"Am I really invited?" and I said something along the lines of, "Dude, you're sitting with my friends, you are going to become my friend soon anyway, so why not?" That was the beginning of a relationship, too. So I guess all things begin with strangers, in some way.
Even so, the whole emotional tone of this week has been utterly strange. I am an alien wandering in an alien landscape. I can't tell you how many times this week someone has said, "Oh, yes, twitter. I don't see the point." I just look at them, and there Are. No. Words.
What can I say? I don't understand it, either.