There's worse things in life than being taken for a ride ...

Saturday, 18 October 2008

I had someone email me a while ago. They had found me via my blog, and their simple comment was "Can I talk to you?" It was one of those emails that you dither over, hovering with your mouse over the delete button. Okay, so I'm not going to be taken in by emails from Nigerian benefactors informing me that I have money I never knew of, or from beautiful Russian girls that want to get to know me better. But this was one somewhere in the middle. Was this real? Should I respond? Ahh, why not? No harm in that. But from the very beginning I was wondering how real it all was.

But anyway, I clicked reply, and then we began to talk. I won't go into all of the juicy details, but this person - or at least, what they were conveying - was in a really difficult situation, one that would have been very alienating for them and very lonely. A situation that wasn't by any means an everyday occurrence. The internet is great to connect with others slipping through the cracks of the footpath. Who of us here hasn't tasted the sweetness of connecting with others, of sharing things that are so much harder to do out on the surface of life with face-to-face real messy people? Of course I was gonna hit reply. There is risk in every reply.

Of course, the flipside of the net's openness is its anonymity. It went through my head more than a few times that maybe the person on the other end of the screen was actually, say, a 56 year old woman, or a 23 year old man, writing a book, using other people as kind of human reactions, you know, instead of the 15 year old they claimed they were? The flipside of the internet's beauty is that people can be bigger tools on here than out there because it's easier to commodify people when they're flat pixels who can't look you in the eye.

After we had spoke with each other for about three weeks or so, I got an email saying "I'm sorry if I upset you." I got two of those. And no explanation of what they mean. And I haven't heard from him since.

So if you're reading here, and you're apologising for taking me for a spin, then fine. I accept your apology. If it turned out I was praying for and feeling for someone who never even exists except in your imagination - well, that's fine too, you know? If it's a book you're writing, then I hope I helped your character spring to life. Because it's not really any skin off my nose, in the end, is it? But I'm not going to condemn you outright if you have fabricated yourself because ... well, for one, we all fabricate ourselves to a certain extent but two, you obviously feel bad about it. And I might feel like a tool for believing you, but I reckon you probably feel like a bigger tool for using someone else.

And if you do happen to be real ~ well, then, anytime you wanna talk, drop me a line, Mr PM Austin :)


  1. WOW, usually when I get those kinds of e-mails it's someone trying to correct my theology. Yours seems much more interesting.

  2. You know, I just never get those. It makes me wonder - am I such a heretic that people just don't bother?

    Which is kinda cool, really. Flying under the radar :)

  3. I wish I didn't get them. How about next time I get one I'll send it to you and you can respond to it?

    Truthfully I haven't got one in a very long time now, so maybe I have wandered into that heretical no-man's land or something.


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