Friday, September 12, 2014

Ephemeral Quality

One of the things that bothers me the most about the Internet is how easily things disappear.

Websites vanish. Blogs vanish. People vanish. Often there is no warning when a blog is no longer updated or it is removed. One day it's there, the next day it isn't.

You never know why. Maybe the website was business related, and they went bankrupt. Maybe the person running the blog became ill. Maybe someone simply forgot to pay the renewal bill - that happens frequently, I think. People "unfriend" one another on Facebook or decide certain social media isn't for them, and then they aren't there.

Sometimes you notice. Sometimes you don't. On Facebook I think it could be a while before I notice someone has "unfriended" me, depending on who it is. Family members I notice right away, of course.

Recently a friend of mine removed her blog. It had been up about as long as mine but she posted more frequently and had more entries. I actually met her through blogging and consider her a personal "real life" friend now. I was surprised when she suddenly took down her blog. I haven't asked her about it, but I have wondered what caused her to hit that "delete" button. Maybe she hit her limit on photos and didn't want to pay the storage fee that Google demands after a certain point. Maybe she simply tired of it. It is her business and if she wanted me to know I suppose she would have told me. But I missed her blog immediately, along with the wealth of information she had on it - lots of interesting links to how to make your blog better, things like that. Being somewhat lazy, I used her list of blogs on occasion, too. I've lost those folks, as well, because in most instances I hadn't followed them or otherwise hooked up with them.

Once I was on a group list and felt like I knew all of the members intimately. One of them committed suicide not long after we'd actually spoken on the phone. I was as devastated as if she lived right next door.

And now something I've feared for a while has happened. I've lost contact with someone I consider a close friend - though we've never met in person or even spoken a single word to one another. What we have done is exchanged more than 10,000 emails over the last 13 years. Usually we write each other twice a day, morning and night. We also exchange Christmas presents and birthday gifts, usually courtesy of Amazon.

My friend, who lives in England, had been complaining in her emails of not feeling well and on Monday had gone for an EKG and blood work. But they sent her home, and I thought that a good sign that they thought there was nothing seriously wrong.

She hasn't written since Thursday morning. Twenty-four hours is not a long time, really, but given the circumstances I am concerned. If I haven't heard anything out of her tomorrow, I will try to call her, though I suspect that won't do much good if she is ill and in the hospital. I do have a phone number for her, but she lives alone. She has a sister but I don't have contact information for her. *Update* I heard from her sister; my friend has had a heart attack and is in the hospital.

Isn't odd how we form these friendships, so nebulous and ephemeral, yet so solid and real? I do that with blogs I read, too. Does it mean we love too much? Can you love too much? Care too much?

I don't know. I tend to give my all when I care about someone. It means, I think, that I have a chronically broken heart, but I am not sure that is a bad thing.

The internet - so personal, yet so detached. What an oddity it is.


  1. I understand the connection you feel. I feel the same way about faraway friends in general. You don't have to "see" a person to feel close to them. For me, writing is a more intimate form of communication than in-person visits.
    I made a pen pal via Archie comic books when I was nine years old. She was from Australia and we remained pen friends for forty years. She died of cancer five years ago and that loss leaves a very real hole in my life.
    I hope your friend in England is healing. We cannot love or care too much : )

  2. Your last line says it all. I've made a lot of friends through the internet as well, some through websites, some through blogs. Some I've actually spoken to via phone, a couple I've met IRL, and there are others with whom I've exchanged hundreds of emails. It can be difficult to suddenly lose all contact with someone you considered a friend. I'm glad you heard from your UK friend's sister, and hope that she is recovering. (((hugs)))


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