Betty Duffy

***

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blogger's Meetup....Hmmmmm....

I met the Darwins today. I've never met "people of the internet" before because I've been told it's a dangerous thing to do. Though to me, the greater danger is the loss of my semi-anonymity. Hashing things over with Pedge afterwards, she said, "I know you're going to want to write about this, but you can't now because you've met them." But let me not be deterred, dear Pedge, I am truth teller. Hear me roar.

Upon first meeting, we all do the mutual size up, a split second erases the image you had in mind, and a new one takes shape: So that's how it is... And fortunately the Darwins were friendly, and fun--I could have talked to them all day (I did talk to them all day)--and not murderous or freaky, as one might expect from an internet arrangement.

But I also feel so...exposed. My pretty little cyber-persona has been cracked. I'm supposed to be an "enviably cheery and efficient fifties style housewife" (thanks P) or a "hip Catholic mom" (what?)...not...me. So you have to wonder, does anonymity supply a blogger with just a little bit more credibility?

There are some bloggers I read who have done such a fine job of shaping their online personality, I'm not sure I could tolerate having my fantasy taken away from me with the dirge of real life. And that doesn't even touch on the expectations I have of you based on your name alone. If your name is "Rich" I've given you a notable adam's apple. If your name is "Kate" you're automatically a brunette. I want to picture you as a melancholic businessman in Italian suits. I want you to be a wood-cut of a Catholic martyr, a Renoir painting, or a dreamy profile on gold damask. It's all part of the fun, or at least, part of the genre. We get to be whomever we want to be. Or we get to be wholely ourselves, but protected.

The Darwins and I had a laugh today about the idea of "making connections in the modern world." So many modern story-tellers are fond of waxing philosophical about it (as I seem to be doing right now). Have you ever read any of Miranda July's short stories? I like one or two of them. I liked her movie, "You Me and Everyone We Know." The rest of her stories made me want to poke my eye out. There's something really corny about getting too complex on the issue. It's just meeting people. It used to happen all the time.

And maybe because there's so much history already aquired by reading one another's lives, things feel instantaneously intimate, even when they're not. How can I look Mr. Darwin in the eye when he knows I posed in the buff? Well, it wasn't that difficult. The Darwins don't make pretenses of being anyone other than who they are. I, however, have made it clear that I stretch the truth a bit on this blog. Or maybe I just say that to bamboozle my mother. I'll never tell.

At the end of the day, these blogs are just a bunch of words. I have a tendency to weigh the words too heavily. In real life, we ate, we drank coffee. Our kids played and fought with one another, and we let them work out who was going to be in who's club on their own, while the adults had conversation. Conversation being an entirely different animal than (and infinitely superior to) this blogging thing.

6 comments:

Pentimento said...

Way back in the nineties, I saw a cartoon in the New Yorker that pictured a dog standing on an office chair facing a computer terminal. His head was turned back toward the viewer, and he said, "On the net, no one knows you're a dog."

Oh, and Betty, I meant it as a huge compliment, just in case there's any doubt!

Jus said...

what are the chances we will meet "in real life" before we leave?


ok, ok so we have met but you were not "Betty" way back when ;)

Betty Duffy said...

I'd say, Jus, that the chances are very good, barring another Duffy-demic. But it seems the season is passing for that sort of thing.

And P, this dog was obviously very intelligent.

mrsdarwin said...

All readers will no doubt be disappointed to know that Betty does not actually look like the pictures on the blog header -- this was rather a surprise to me, though I don't know why.

But the minor discombobulation of having to rearrange mental pix was nothing to the delight of meeting such a gracious hostess and a delightful conversationalist. If you're ever in Texas, come on over for a beer and a weenie roast. And then it will be your turn to ogle our handmade furniture. :)

jen said...

betty,
some months back, you published a post about loneliness/community. can you direct me to it? i wnat to link to it in an post i'm working on.

Betty Duffy said...

Jen, I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but I don't know if it went through. Were you thinking of the public life of the family post? I mention loneliness and community towards the end of it, but I can't think of one that's all about that. I'll dig around a little more though.

Mrs. D. I'd love to take you up on that weenie roast, though it might be a few years before I make it that far south.

FYI: the header pic is of my grandparents. I've been told I resemble my Grandpa more than my Grandma--so I can see why it threw you.