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eve_l_incarnata encouraged folks to cultivate new friends and hold dear the old ones.

The former isnít one of my talents. And a real skill it is like playing the guitar and writing shell scripts. In faded sociological jargon Iím inner-directed. Thinking about what Iím thinking, more a viscous than vicious circle, absorbs and tickles me. Half fondly, half with the dispassionate curiosity of an entomologist viewing a new species on a slide. Too sober an image, I think Iím likely more funny than fascinating.

Then again the categories of friend and acquaintance arenít as neatly fixed as I thought in my intolerant youth.

Through the bookshop I know people with whom I'm on the warmest terms. Their lovers, marriages, kids Ė theyíve confided the hurtful and happy details. And Iíve done likewise. Neither of us have ever been in the others homes or ever seen the other outside the shop. But weíre all happy to see each other.

Iíve never met my online friends. They won my esteem and affection. One of the happy accidents of the internet is the chance to know folks who in conventional daily life differences of age, education, cultural biases and monetary heritage might keep us from.

Several days ago I was chatting on the phone with someone I've known for about twenty years. He's the only person I know without email. Quite proud of it he is. One of his protests was that you don't really communicate with folks via email.

I told him there are a small handful of folks that I value greatly, maybe even a couple that I half-adore. Had I ever met them, spoken with them via voice he asked.

Nope, never I told him. . A time or three I could've. He has too much regard for me to call me a fool. But his disbelief was solid and thick in the background. A decade or so from now I donít think anybody will think online friendships weird or faulty. Besides it is plain enough that fleshly friendship are full of incomprehension and confusion.

Iíve kept Gordonís friendship for thirty years. Were Victor still alive weíd have know each other for thirty-eight. I lost track of a few folks when I moved to North Carolina. Yesterday I tried to find a couple of them. No luck. Maybe theyíve left Atlanta or donít have listed phone numbers. Both Davids with equally common last names. I wish I hadnít bee so careless of them. So I havenít been as good at retaining old friends as I shouldíve been.

Reading the lives of others Iíve often been struck by the terrifying stories of those who died alone. As much as I often imagine Iíd like to be on a desert island with a large library or have been a scholarly monk Iíd hate to pass away with only doctors and nurses for company.

Skimming back Iím wondering if this Ė actually Iíve feared this of several recent entries Ė is some sort of rhetorical masturbation . . . if Iím becoming lost in the pleasure of my own typing.

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My Life is an Open Blog
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