Tuesday, October 12, 2010
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet
The internet sometimes bugs me. Like when my family is mesmerized or I receive an email which content should have been ‘Snoped’ before being sent to everyone in the known world. And, honestly, I think Facebook is silly – seriously, who cares if I’m baking banana bread RIGHT NOW or if I’m sleepy or on my way to work. It just seems terribly self-absorbed and teenager-y. I forget to go to it for days on end and when I do, I’m lost because I haven’t kept up and have to go back days to figure out what someone is referring to. But I honestly can’t hate the internet anymore, because I’ve made so many friends there. And, because of email I’ve been able to maintain very old friendships and family links that I’m sure wouldn’t have been nurtured nearly as well without it.
I blush to remember when I used to call The Child's online pals her "imaginary friends". I thought that someone that she hadn't met in person was as good as fiction. I believed that there was no way that it could be a true, real friendship. I know better now.
I know the gifts of my online friends. Both tangible and intangible. Some come here and some I just 'run into' at other websites. A few special 'shout outs' (I am SO old and uncool):
Rachel at Lawn Tea has to be mentioned first. She was my first online friend. I wrote about our online meeting and our face to face meeting in my "The List" post on July 21st. She cheers me up, makes me laugh, reminds me of what is really important and shares her days with me. An amazing gift. She shares in a very practical way, too. An accomplished cook (I know from personal experience) and former caterer, she is unstinting with supplying recipes and information about cooking, serving, etc. Her recipes do take a little deciphering and an understanding of 'Southernisms'. Not just everyone knows precisely how much a "good sized clop of mayo" or a "glug of Lea & Perrins" is. When I get a craving for chicken salad, the one I make now is Rachel's incomparable concoction. In fact, I made it this weekend:
It is a wonderful mixture of chicken, fruit, egg, mayo, pecans, celery and a fantastic secret ingredient. If you want to try it (and you DO), the recipe is here: http://www.recipecircus.com/recipes/Kimberlyn/POULTRY/Rachel39s_Chicken_Salad.html . Her 'Paminna' cheese is superlative. Her son's 'Piggies' are a wonder of pork and sweetness. Every single thing that I had at Rachel's was delicious. But the real gift of Rachel is her generous spirit and whole hearted hospitality - at home and at 'Lawn Tea'.
Maggie at Cheap and Cheerful is a wonderful, wry and fascinating writer and one of the smartest (and most self-deprecating) people I've known. Sometimes I wonder if there is anything she doesn't know about. She's also a gifted seamstress and makes the most beautiful, imaginative aprons. She is tentatively starting to sell them, so go to her website to see some samples. They make fabulous gifts. I've given two away as wedding gifts and tucked three more away as Christmas gifts (shhhhh!). The wonderful thing is how she doesn't have a million identical aprons in stock to ship out at a moment's notice. Most of her pieces are two sided - two different fabrics. I gave her a little description of the people that I wanted to give them to and she found amazing, apt fabrics. She also did a lovely thing and sent me two aprons as gifts. The first to come was a two sided one for Mr. Kim and me:
(There are the feet in 3rd position again. Momma will be so proud!)
Flowers and camo! Adorable. And I wear it ALL THE TIME. The other one is very different - both in design and fabric:
Getting a ‘just because’ gift is a wonderful and special thing. It reminds you that someone, somewhere is thinking about you – that you are NEVER forgotten by real friends.
The gentleman known here as ‘Anonymous’ is a friend from a website that I frequent. He always remembers my culinary difficulties and will send me advice from his own experiments, articles, etc. I can’t tell you how nice it is to know that when he reads an article on what causes flat cookies (my most common bugaboo), he thinks “Kim was complaining about just this thing” and zips me a message.
Not to mention what I am given here. Folks come here and give me the gift of their attention and respond with support and kindness and an appreciation of what I'm trying to communicate. They put up with awkward wording, foolishness and my overuse of the word “wonderful”, just like ‘REAL’ friends do.
Some of my “friends” (and here’s a weird thing) don’t even know I exist. I am often what’s called a ‘lurker’ (almost as creepy a word as ‘stalker’) at lots of internet forums. One of my favorite places on the internet is the Table Talk forums at Salon.com. It's so wonderful to spend time with smart, literate, funny folks (my peeps, I fondly and conceitedly believe) when my days are spent at a dull job where I’m just marking time.
If I am awake at some ungodly hour, I can get online and go to sites and blogs and see what my friends are thinking and saying and cooking. No, it's not a conversation, but neither were the letters that lonely pioneer women treasured years ago. They got mail very rarely and cherished letters from a friend, a mother or a sister back east – giving them news of loved ones, clippings from newspapers and magazines, recipes, dress patterns, advice. This is really not so different from what I get from my "imaginary friends". And I, too, cherish all I receive.