Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A Captive Audience

Let me take a very quick break from being snide (don’t worry, this won’t take long) and say that I was touched and flattered that Joe asked me to mind his blog while he was away. I fear that to Joe’s many longtime fans, I will be the Velveeta to his aged ripe Camembert – not to suggest that Joe is old, stinky, or even worse, French.

I thought about doing a quick post introducing myself. Many of you loyal readers recognize me as “Carol S.”, a frequent commenter here and at The Knitting Curmudgeon. But I was immediately faced with two challenges, the first being how, well, boring it is to recite one’s resume: “I was born a poor black child….”

The second is how hard it is to distill oneself into a succinct and truthful summary. If you were to ask my mother-in-law to describe me, she’d probably say I was cold, self-centered and a child abuser (seriously; this is the woman who threatened to call Child Protective Services when I followed my pediatrician’s recommendation as to the type of shampoo to use on my oldest when he was an infant). My friend Pat, on the other hand, who’s known me even longer than my darling M-I-L, would probably say I was a devoted mother, perhaps too selfless and neglecting of myself (she wants me to get my hair cut more often and get more "me time"). I am sure there are former colleagues of mine from my attorney days who would say I was a smart & tough trial lawyer, while the guy at Best Buy with whom I was talking about digital cameras might tell you I’m a complete airhead (since I asked what speed of film he recommended for a digital camera. Doh.).

Which are true? All of them, none of them, some of them.

It reminds me of our curmudgeonly Marilyn’s post on multiverses. She was talking about subsets of the knitting galaxy, but don’t we all have personal multiverses, too? In our daily lives, but particularly on the Internet, where our interactions are limited either in subject, or by the lack of visual and sound cues. In one chat room a few years ago, I was a stressed-out, earnest woman asking question after question about secondary infertility. (Boy, oh boy, did I get answers: I got a pair of twins, too.) There are knitting forums in which I sound like a patient, seasoned knitter willing to share tips with newbies. Readers of this and other blogs may think only of me as a sarcastic, snarky bee-atch, who loves to poke fun at other people, or at least, other people’s pretensions.

All of them, none of them, some of them.

I had lunch yesterday with a dear, sweet friend whom I happened to first meet via the Internet. Luckily, in person she is every bit as smart, funny, warm and fun as her posts & emails suggested (which is NOT always the case, but that's a whole nother story). She’s a loving and tremendous mom, she is creative and artistic and a kick-ass knitter and crocheter. She also happens to hate pretentiousness, and self-absorption, and humorlessness, and hypocrisy. Often she says so, sometimes pointedly and sometimes subtly, in a few of her internet multiverses. Lately she's been on the receiving end of heaps of abuse, from people who think that any comment that isn’t full of sunshine and Care Bears® is destructive and bitter. This makes me sad, because my friend is not mean or destructive or negative, and she is not attacking others because she cannot create things herself. As Shaw said, “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”

All of them, none of them, some of them.

So we continue to muck around, traveling in and out of the personal multiverses we create, on and off the Net. Today I’m creating a new multiverse with you. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope all this Velveeta doesn’t make you barf.

-- Carol S.