Virtual Friendships

I’m just going to go ahead and get this first paragraph out of the way.  I know it’s going to be a little awkward because after Oatmeal’s last post, I almost feel like I need to offer some type of explanation.

“Um, Lola what in the world just happened?  I read your husband’s post and it totally threw me…. are you going to offer any type of back story?”

Nope.  Ain’t my story to tell, folks.  Keep coming back for more and I’ll keep bugging him to keep posting.  You know you’re intrigued.

You know what else is intriguing?  This picture.  It’s a picture of a cat.  I have no idea where it came from.  All I know is that I left my 14 month old on my bed with my laptop long enough to switch the laundry and came back to this picture imported into iPhoto.

Ummm.... how did my baby import this picture, and is she trying to tell me something?

Ummmm…. anyone know this cat?

If this is her first attempt to ask for a pet cat, she has a long road ahead of her.  Lola no likey the felines.  I’d consider a reptile over a kitten any day.

She also figured out how to make a “thumbs up” emoticon on Facebook and sent it to a few people I know.  So if you got a random thumbs up from me on your wall or on a comment, just know that my toddler finds your life very interesting.

Anyway.

The past week has been so much fun.  Oatmeal’s sister Kelley and her family just moved back to the States.  They have been in Japan for the last three years.  They flew into Texas last week and stayed a night with us on their way down to visit their parents.  We got to wake up early together, cook breakfast, and then go on a little tour of A&M’s campus.

Olson

Then on Friday my friend Natasha came to spend the weekend with us.   I cannot believe that Nat and I have been friends for over 10 years!  Gulp!  She brought her whole family – she and her hubby, Kirk, have a son and a daughter.  I am not lying when I say I have seriously never met such adorable, well-mannered little kiddos.  I got so many sweet hugs from Seeley and cute grins from Sam.  Those kids made me melt, and let’s be honest, I’m not exactly someone who loves everyone else’s kids!

Pool day with the Collins!

Pool day with the Collins!

Anyway, tonight is a late night and this post simply serves as a way for me to wind down.  Tomorrow will be a doozy of a day.  I have to work, drive three dogs down to Sealy to be dropped off with my in-laws, pick up an entire frozen cow and meet the friend that is splitting it with me, and finish packing for our trip to Japan.  I’m excited and nervous and really looking forward to it.

But that’s not what I wanted to write about tonight.

If you are reading a blog, there is a chance that you have a Facebook account, check your email daily (at least), and may even be known to toss a picture up on Instagram.  And if that’s true, you probably have some “friends” that you actually feel close to even if you don’t know them that well.

I know that in my case, that is so true.  Five years ago I only felt “close” to people I met for dinner or talked with on the phone.  Thanks to the internet and all of the avenues we are given to meet and keep up with other people, I now feel like I know a LOT more people than I actually do.  For example, there’s a good chance that when you upload a picture of your 2 year old on her birthday, I’ll smile and say, “Wow, her baby is getting SO big” as if you and I used to be roommates and I just saw you and your toddler at lunch last Tuesday.  The truth is probably that I knew you for 5 minutes when I was a junior in college, but because we are connected online it feels like something more.

Or, I may have never met you at all, but because you have a blog and tend to write about things that interest me, I secretly wish I could just call you on the phone and talk to you about that really cool thing I just picked up at the store.  That thing I just KNOW you would totally drive across town to buy, too.  And I know this because I read your blog (ie your personal thoughts) and connect with you as if we are old friends.

I’m talking about these odd online connections right now because I have been thinking of an “online friend” constantly for almost a week now.  You see, I got invited to be in a weight loss group on Facebook about 4 months ago.  I joined a group of roughly 50 other people who are largely from Texas, but no one lives very close to me at all.  We had to post pictures of ourselves in the (nearly) buff in order to kick off our new membership, start an open food journal that anyone else in the group could read, and weigh in each Saturday.

Well, participating in a group like this is sort of as much or as little as you make of it.  I for one get really motivated when I see that I am motivating others, so I jumped right in and posted lots of meal plans, recipes and cooking ideas.  There were about a dozen other members who were equally as involved.  I won’t lie, after a few weeks I began to feel like I really knew some of these people.

Last week a member who I particularly like with gave birth to a stillborn baby boy.  She was 35 weeks pregnant, and there was absolutely nothing in the world she could have done to avoid such a devastating outcome.  When I checked our little Facebook group that morning and saw that the administrator had posted the horrifying news, I was walking into the grocery store with Poppyseed.  When I read what had happened I turned around and got back into my car.  I held my own baby and cried for hers.  I soon realized I was not alone, as a couple of the other members began to post and send messages.   Soon everyone had heard and was sending messages, making plans to take her food, sending gifts, etc.   I don’t think many of us have actually met her, but we were all shedding tears and generally feeling heart-wrenched for her family.

I don’t think that I really realized how impactful these “social media” relationships could be until then.  I have never met this girl, and honestly if she were to walk past me in the grocery store I probably wouldn’t recognize her right away.  And yet I have been thinking about her constantly, wondering how she is doing, worrying about whether she is eating and sleeping, and just imagining how painful every day since Tuesday must feel for her.

I don’t know what my point is, other than that it seems that sometimes we really do have more friends than we think we do.

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Comments

  1. That is Megan’s cat Normann haha

  2. I know I just realized that! She texted me earlier. Hi Normann.

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