Monday, May 18, 2009
Well, for starters, I grew up in the 60s, which gives me, I suspect, a peculiar take on reality. Then again, it is said that if you remember the 60's, you weren't really there.
So, it should probably come as no surprise for the reader to learn that interactions and relationships in cyberspace often confound me. I mean, who are you talking to, really? Especially when one is allowed to speak from a 'persona' or to weigh in on a any given subject and be known, simply, as 'Anonymous'
And, who do others think they are talking to? Really?
I love the term 'real time'- as if time spent in cyberspace is not. Well, it once was you see, but that was then and this is now. So, does that mean that what anyone said then, when they first wrote on someone's wall or left a comment on someone's blog, even if just 10 minutes ago, is no longer 'real'?
Of course not. I mean, get real!
But, then again, some people actually spend large quantities of time pasting (or reading) captions of their projections of what cats might be saying about a particular subject or situation.
It is different, in 'real' conversations. One can say and do something and, a few minutes or hours later, regret what was said and apologize. It's much, much more difficult to write something and then take it back or even apologize. There's something much more permanent about the written word that lends something to the reality that's not there in 'real time'.
I think the ability to say hurtful things about a person in public and then deny the opportunity for that person to explain or others to join the conversation lends itself to an unreality of sorts. And, if you've already got a problem with reality, well . . . it's not exactly a pretty picture.
I've been thinking a great deal about 'reality' over the past few days. Ever since I learned that my brother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
He's fifty-five. That's 55. Years. Young.
I am - we all are - in a word, devastated.
This is a devastating disease. As memories of our childhood antics come cascading back to my present reality from the inner recesses of my brain, I find myself weeping.
Then again, I just went into another room, intent on getting something and, when I got there, completely forgot what it was I was after. And, I wept. Well, I wept after an almost paralyzing fear seized my heart.
Oh God, oh God, I thought. Is this what it feels like? To put on your shoes and forget how to tie the laces? To pick up the morning paper, and forget how to read it? To live only in your memories because your brain will not allow the firing mechanism to remember what you thought of just 10 minutes prior - or have known since you were six years old?
What is 'real time' anyway?
Some of you who read this blog already know about my brother's diagnosis and have very kindly written to me, offline, or called on the phone to express your love and support and promises of prayer.
You simply can not know how much that means to me.
Some of you are strangers. We've never met. We are 'friends', but we are, for all intents and purposes, strangers. At least, that's how we would have described ourselves just a few years ago.
But the definition of 'friends' on blogs and FaceBook has changed the reality of our understanding of what it means to be a friend.
Even so, I am relying on the reality of your promises of prayer. I take them with absolute seriousness. I cling to them, if one can cling to a vaporous substance not emitted in 'real time'.
In my weakest moments, I sometimes gasp for them like a woman drowning in the devastating knowledge that the reality of her relationship with her brother is changing.
Because his reality is changing - will forever be changed.
For real. In real time.
And yet, I must say, this feels completely surreal.
I always suspected, being a child of the 60's, that the meaning of reality would always haunt me and confound me. Now, however, the loss of the ability to be haunted by or search for reality and truth terrifies me.
I'll be writing more and more about this, I suspect. Writing is one way for me to deal with reality. Or, my perception of reality. And, as it has been said, 'perception is reality and reality is truth.'
My thought about that for today is this: I am suddenly aware that spending one's hours of reality gluing captions on cats makes complete sense.
That may be one blog were I spend more time these days - to escape reality in order to accept it.