Why I Hate The Internet:
Okay, so I don’t hate the Internet. I love the Internet. I love the stupid Internet way too much, which, if you’ve ever loved anything too much, might help you understand why I’m saying I hate it. (What a lovely, clunky sentence that was!)
It’s one of those addictive personality things, I think. Like noodles, alcohol, fidgeting and cigarettes (never tried, but dreamed about… weird). It’s just so intensely, immediately gratifying. It lets you to do things you really shouldn’t be allowed to do. Like, for example, Google your way to the equivalent of drunk-dialing an ex. An inclination that used to be appropriately road blocked by, but not limited to:
Your friends. (Unless you were drinking alone. Sad.)
Manual dexterity. (Dialing is harder than typing.)
The mental capacity it takes to remember an old number. (No Google.)
Among other things.
Thanks to the Internet, doing stupid things is just way too easy. It’s too easy to find people you hate, and even easier to find people you like. Everybody and their dog is blogging, so it’s similarly too easy to pseudo-catch up with people you really have no business catching up with. And of course, what you find out is inevitably so patchy and encoded, you’re left frustratingly unable to get the real story, because calling the person you’ve just been spying on is, if not expressly forbidden, at least frowned upon. Which is how it should be. If it weren’t for the Internet, I mean.
Sigh. I think I’m in a bad mood. I spent the morning obsessively (like, I literally couldn’t stop for a full hour) reading other people’s blogs and bios, which of course has left me feeling sad.
Okay, it’s relevant tangent time:
Remember this? How to Break Up With A Friend? (You probably don’t, but let’s pretend you were supportive and following my career a year ago, shall we?) Anyway, I thought it was funny. Not everybody did, but I did, and in the end, since it matters more to me that I like my writing than if you do, that’s what counts. Anyway, it was a joke. A joke that I’ve actually put into practice in real life, but one that wasn’t particularly saddening, which is I guess why I made a joke of it. I thought that breaking up with a friend, as troublesome as it can be, was ultimately easy-peasy.
Now, let’s get one thing straight: I’ve both dumped friends and been dumped. When I was the dumper, I went the full disclosure route. I aired every grievance. Then I shut the door to further communication. It was a major power trip. In contrast, the time I was broken up with was fairly emotionally devastating, because it happened with no explanation, no aired grievances, and no warning. That said, the brush off was ultimately effective, and with the wisdom of a little perspective, I’d categorize it in J-Dawg speak as ‘harsh, but fair’. So when I recently found myself in the position of having to break up with another friend (who, okay, I briefly, but not seriously dated) I figured I knew what I was doing. I didn’t want to do a big grievance-airing brush off, but I didn’t want to be harsh, but fair, either. I was hoping to stumble onto some middle ground.
Silly, Jenny. Tricks are for kids.
Anyway, it backfired. I did the break-up email. I tried to explain, and I left the matter open for discussion so that the dumpee wouldn’t feel blindsided. Only, the dumpee didn’t accept the dump. The dumpee argued. In fact, the dumpee made such a good argument – an argument that negated all my carefully thought out and somewhat kindly worded explanations – I had no choice but to reneg on the whole thing and agree to give the friendship another chance. What is THAT about? It may well be the most mature thing I’ve ever done. Or, it may be the most stupid. I subscribe to the “you can’t be friends with everyone” theory, and tend to prioritize friendships (in a semi-bitchy way), so maybe I give up on things too easily. I don’t know. Anyway, the point is, the whole thing was weird. It put me in a weird mood. And as a result, I’ve been Goggling in the manner of someone who gets sad and eats a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s to compensate.
See? I told you it was a relevant tangent.
So this brings me to my rant about the Internet. There are a lot of people out there in cyberspace who I used to be friends with. And reading about them, via blogs, in their own voices, is just so overwhelmingly sad. It’s like a parade of failures. All the relationships I abandoned, couldn’t make work, or was booted out of are on display. I think I obsess about stuff like this more than most people. (Damn my need-to-please complex!) D doesn’t seem particularly bothered by such things. Probably because even the people he’s lost touch with still love him like crazy, which he deserves of course. I’m completely paranoid that people I’ve lost touch with hate me or have forgotten I ever existed, which may be worse.
None of this is helped by the fact that so many of my friendships past have been with unbelievably smart and interesting people. If I’m to believe the blogs, these people have remained unbelievably smart and interesting, while I, on the other hand, have remained whatever it is I was then. Which, while occasionally funny (not in a “ha-ha”, sort of way, but in a “wow . . . you’re funny?” sort of way) is maybe not as smart or interesting by comparison.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned here.
1. Covert voodoo is fairly ineffectual.
2. Living life according to a sort of Nick Hornby, High Fidelity-inspired manifesto is perhaps less than wise.
3. In Buffy, episode 118, Entropy, when Tara said, “Things fall apart. They fall apart so hard. You can't ever put them back the way they were," she was completely right. When she got to, “Can we just skip it?” she was genius.
I know what you’re thinking.
Jesus, Jen. Save it for your diary.