Does any of you have time on your hands? Sit back. Take a sip of coffee.. Relax.. And read..
Because I would like to share something. About the power of internet.
This week on two different occasions I experienced what it is like to participate in the world from behind a computer. Safe in your own home, detached from all things you don’t want an attachment with. Sometimes that is EVERYTHING. So it’s just me, seeing things on a flat screen, making my emotions flat perhaps too, with no ability to literally look further than what I see in front of me, and without no opportunity to ask any further, because the person and I do not have actual contact, I am just watching a rerun via YouTube of something that is in the past already. And it’s all just dots and dashes, bits and bites.
Digital is not emotional, right?
I even sometimes ‘say’ that I feel binary. I either am happy or I am not happy, there is no in between any more. On or off. Black or white. One or the other.
Roaming a digital highway, without the urge or the push to really connect with what I see, because everything is just one click away.. But there is still something alive in me, something or someone who still wants to display or vent or share inner thoughts, emotions, feelings, desires, wishes.. All these things being so colorful, and so hard to put into words, but you have to: even in black and white.
Black letters on white screen. And I must use my fingers to get the ideas out of my head, into words, into sentences, via my muscular system working my fingers on the keyboard, into the screen in front of me. The whole thing detaches myself from myself to the point that I no longer realize that it is ME who writes these things. That this is my name and that I connect with this name. No. It’s just words on screen, separated by spaces of white, sent out there via one press of a key. “Enter”. Where does it go? Well, to the screen of course. It enters the digital world. There. I had my say, I close my computer and go out into the world.
Then I receive a reply. Someone calling me by my name. This is the first wake up call, holy crap I really forgot, that sheepy avatar has my name, and that name is me. I am a human being! I swear that even I had forgotten that I was real.
The reply talks about being surprised at my message.
Occasion 1. I wrote a review on tripadvisor about a restaurant that I visited. The experience wasn’t as pleasant as I hoped it would, and I wrote about that. Not to bash, but I just like writing, and like reviewing things, so when I am positive about something, I post positive words, if the experience is not, then I write about that.
Occasion 2. I wrote to a stand up comedian, asking him why he stole two jokes from two other comedians, passing it off as his own. Both other shows were from many years ago, but they were almost literally repeated by this new stand up comedian.
The replies on both occasions made me mild.
Is there a verb for that?
To “mild” someone?
Both replies were friendly, even human-like. They didn’t judge me, they spoke from their feelings, and were genuinely surprised and even invited me.
The restaurant owner said that she almost knew for certain that I didn’t have dinner at her place, because a couple of the details I wrote in the review didn’t match their menu, and she kindly invited me to come to dinner, promising me I would have such a good experience that she beforehand was absolutely sure I would leave a good review afterwards.
The comedian replied that he was stunned that the jokes were in other people’s shows and said he almost had a surreal experience when he watched the clip I sent him, where ‘his’ joke was literally told by someone else years earlier. Also this person invited me to come to his show, for me to have a good time.
By the way: occasion 1 turned out to be a huge embarrassment on my part. It turned out that went to the wrong place for dinner. I overlooked the entrance door and took the ‘wrong door’, entering the neighbors of the place I wrote a review on; it’s in a street with only restaurants, very closely packed together.
I felt torn.
No binary this time, but torn. An actual feeling. A painful one too.
I want to make amends. I need to shake this woman’s hand, I felt, I want to buy her a big and wonderful autumn colored bouquet of flowers and sit down with her and tell her what happened and all, oh my goodness, how can I set this right, what an awful wrong on my part.. I should think twice, thrice, four times before I ever do something online..
The other side of me said: you can NEVER show your face, it’s bad enough she knows your name, don’t let her put it to a face, once it goes around, it goes around, and if you show your face, she will know who you are, so just stay away.
I decided on the first feeling I had. The flowers. Because I felt it gave me the opportunity to do something with my mistake. Feel through the feelings of embarrassment. I felt grateful for the feeling of embarrassment. This is I guess what I secretly was praying for. For God to humble me. Show me humility. Humble me. I almost cursed because it is a personality trait that I somehow cannot get rid of, that tendency to (want to) feel superior.
I also blamed God a little for making me feel so disconnected from people, that I blurted out that if He really knew me, He knew what I needed and why didn’t He give it to me..
I have been literally sick the last couple of week from being disgusted by my myself oftentimes feeling so much ‘better’ than others, many times I feel way to great and too good over other people, putting people down, so I can feel good (but in the end not good at all),.. that I almost pleaded with Him to humble me.
Lord, make me small!
So I went with the shame, wore it like a heavy coat, bought the flowers, went to the restaurant, kissed the blushy cheeks of the owner and sat down with her and we had a person to person interaction. No digits, but actual eyes. No keyboards but actual fingers fidgeting. No emoticon, but actual smiles. No black and white letters, but a face, colored hair, the smell of cappuccino, the sound of the music playing, the scent of the kitchen getting ready again.. Actual actuality. Real. No screen behind you, no screen in front you. No screen between you. No avatars. Just two people, face to face. Her side of the story, my side of the story. When we parted, it was she who initiated kissing again, we almost urged into a hug and I am looking so much forward to actually having dinner there, for she made it almost into some sort of celebrity reception, as she said ‘let me know of your arrival and I will make arrangements for you’. She was proud of the flowers she received and asked me to take a picture of her with them so she could post it on their Facebook page. And I felt so grateful for being invited to dinner there, that she will still have me..
Ocassion 2 ended with an acceptance of a friendship request via Facebook, and an authentic mutual wondering how it is possible that new ideas can sometimes spring from different minds at different times, without knowing the other person, and I am sure that him and I will meet in person as well, or that at least we’ll stay in touch somehow.
I am so incredibly grateful for these two stupid mistakes I made, because God turned them into something that I needed (and so desperately wanted!) to feel: Humility. And He did so much more, because by turning my mistake into something positive, he showed me that I do matter. My opinion mattered to another actual person. Two other persons even. By making me feel humble, I felt that I mattered, something that I have been blaming Him for too lately, that He doesn’t show me that I matter .. so.. maybe.. God.. does.. listen.. to me.. even.. when.. I … think.. otherwise..