Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

A Friend of an Internet Friend

Friday, May 30, 2014

this entry brought to you by waxahatchee, "coast to coast"

I have a friend on face book. We went to the same high school together during the same years, but we never actually met. We began chatting on Myspace, mutual friends with two of my closest high school buddies, boggled that we went to high school together and had no recollection of the other. Our school was built for us, and our Freshman year we were the only ones in the building, all 600 of us or so; our sophomore year it was just us and the freshmen, and so on. It is perfectly reasonable for two students in any other school in any other year to grow up together and graduate but never see the other, in a building full of students, but in our graduating class, this was much less possible. So when everybody migrated to Facebook, she and I chatted more.

There was a girl who would always be the first to comment on all of my friend's posts. She would affectionately refer to my friend as "Kiwi", and my friend would refer back to her as "kiwi". Every picture my friend posted would be affectionately commented. I didn't even need to be told that she was a childhood best friend and that they grew up close.

And there was a fellow, who would comment much less often than the childhood best friend, same last name as the best friend, obviously the husband. A kind fellow, by his words and pictures. Sarcastic, but gently so. Witty. Upbeat.

I saw my friend commenting that a close friend of hers had passed one day and her childhood best friend commented thanking her for her kind words, and I realized they could only be talking about her husband. I quickly checked her profile to confirm it and, morbidly, I clicked on his profile, wondering what his last words in public were. His last post was written some 16 hours prior to his death, and they were, predictably, a witty remark.

I learned through my friend that he had been sick for years, and died peacefully in his sleep.

There are a lot of horrible things on the Internet that I don't need to bother elaborating on because there are so many horrible things we are all exposed to within days of our first experience with it. But we all know the benefits; all the information in the world is available, somewhere, on the internet. And we all know what a wonderful tool the internet can be when it comes to connecting with old friends-- even before the days of Facebook or Myspace, I would occasionally get emails from people from my past who just one day tried Googling me.

But I think when we think about the Internet and strangers, our feelings turn to the negative, because strangers are even more caustic and willing to share their horrible opinions than they are even in real life. And I think about my friend, a girl from my high school I, against all odds, never met, her friend who I've never met nor even had a cursory conversation with, and her husband, whose connection I only made because of the same last name he shared. Yet when he died I was genuinely affected. Like taking the same bus every day and seeing the same guy sitting behind the bus driver making conversation and then one day he stops showing up, it's not like you're torn up, but its odd how strange you feel at his absence though you never introduced yourself.

I was thinking about his widow the other day because she hasn't been commenting on my friends posts and they hadn't been calling each other kiwi. She's doing great, my friend tells me. She's got a boyfriend now, is happy, hasn't been online as much because she's not as home much, which although this wasn't told to me, I assumed she used to spend more time at home taking care of her husband.

And hearing about her happiness gave me comfort somehow.

with love from CRS @ 4:01 PM 


Post a Comment