There are times when I hate the internet.
There are also times when I greatly appreciate the internet.
The times I appreciate it are, as I noted recently, when old friends find me and we renew relationships that began decades ago. Thanks to the internet and some social media, I’ve found people whom I knew as a teenager.
I’ve found those folks, they found me and we are glad for it. There’s a lot to be said for the people who knew you as teenager, during those hard years.
There’s more to be said when you find those people years later and both of you have matured and changed. Things that mattered at age 16 are now items to be laughed about.
Feuds, yes you had ‘em too, are dead and gone. While we may remember the feud and in rarer cases remember the reason, we do not bring them up. It’s not a case of letting sleeping dogs lie. It’s a matter of not trying to resurrect the dead.
It is good to find these people and get to know them again.
I only wish the internet were better at finding folks. Taka, where are you these days my good friend? Takanobua Miwa, a Japanese exchange student in college, was like a brother. Chuck, where are you and Leilani? Did you have a third kid? Where is Clan Pennycuff these days? And the guy I called Doc, although he hated that name, who was the physicians assistant to the heart surgeon who did Lewis Grizzard’s third heart surgery. He and I had some good times on Apalachicola Bay.
Then there are the new friends I’ve made. People I met online and later met in person. People who, and even I don’t get this, want me to come visit them. I of course am likewise eager for them to visit me. Toby & Jane. Count & Countess, Jake Blues, Kagoo, PrplFzz, Allison and others. Then there are the people who plan to make a trip close enough for me to run over to see them.
But that’s not what I hate about the internet.
What I hate is the friends I have made across the planet whom I likely will never get to meet face to face in this lifetime.
There’s something fundamentally wrong about that.
Sure I “talk” to these folks about daily in email, IM, the rare occasions I go into a chat room and some of ‘em converse with me by phone on a regular basis.
But that’s a poor excuse for pressing the flesh so to speak.
Being human, as much as this will surprise some of you, I do need the occasional contact with another person. Handshakes are fine, but nothing can beat a hug. Doc Jeff will agree with me on that one.
There are people all over the United States, like Doc Jeff, whom I likely won’t get to meet in this reality. There are folks in Canada, South America, Europe and Australia who I’d really like to meet, but probably won’t.
And that is what I hate about the internet - giving me friends whom I can reach out and touch. I’m not saying this is wrong - to do so is to slight the impact these people have made on me and my life. But I am saying there is something about this which is beyond annoying.
It’s times like this we really need a Star Trek teleporter.