I was having a discussion online about Twitter and whether it's frivolous or not. This sparked again this frustration I'm having with people online talking about how stupid different medias are because they aren't real communities, or that they are but they're not as "real" as face to face communities. Several bloggers I follow and a few people on Facebook have stopped completely, because their online life was overtaking their life life and they didn't want that to happen. I mean I get it, I was thinking this morning about cancelling Myspace because I'm hardly on it and just copy/paste blogs from here for the most part.
But what frustrates me is a lot larger than just the online thing. What frustrates me is this idea of partnering up or shutting up.
I was talking to my friend Joan the other day and she said she wished she had things to do like I did because it's just her. There's not much else to do. She is single, older, divorced. There's this perpetual aura of loneliness and partial satisfaction surrounding single people. I'm neither of those things really, but I am a little dissatisfied with the interaction I have with people sometimes.
I'm not uncomfortable being the 3rd, 5th, 7th, or even 9th wheel. I am friends with a lot of husbands and wives and I (for the most part) love the glimpse inside of such intimate relationships it allows me. But I don't really want one.
Almost all of my friends are married or coupled up in some way. Most of those couples also have kids. I attend a church of almost entirely young families or empty nesters. I work at a company of mostly married people or people that I just don't hang out with. I work really hard to be flexible to all of these schedules with husbands/wives/kids so that we can spend time together. I'm also trying to spend more time at home, it just happens to be alone because everyone has their families and their own homes to go to. This is all ok.
But in addition to all of that I am on a few forums, Facebook, and Twitter. I follow way to many blogs but they're all organized neatly in Google Reader so I can keep up without breaking a sweat. Through all of these places I have met people who are married, single and all levels of in between. I met Pete (whom I love) through Myspace after pinging onto his page through Dan. He is now working to move to Cincinnati and live in my basement. I met Katy, Melissa and Angie on a Don Miller forum and have met them all face to face, they are some of my closest friends (and coming to Cincinnati to see me in T-Minus 3.2 weeks!) Some of the people whose blogs I follow I've jumped to following them on Twitter, and maybe someday we'll meet face to face.
In all of this gobbly gook is a place for me. Because don't we all really just want to belong somewhere? I belong all these places, my house, your house, church, work, online and offline. When people talk about how these places are just distractions and wastes of time I take a little bit of offense to it. In a partnered up world it's really difficult for a happily single girl to feel like there's still room for her. It's hard to convince people that I'm really ok when they give you puppy dog looks and decide that anyone with a penis and a pulse is clearly husbandly material for you. It's hard to find your way in the sea of strollers when you can't relate to 2am feedings and the terrible two's. (Luckily I have 2 beautiful nieces and a handsome nephew to help a bit in that area). It's hard to type this out without making the couples and the parents in my life feel alienated as if my desire for non partnered up and parental conversation and hanging out is somehow a slam on their life. Because it's not, anymore than their desire for a partnered up parental life is a slam to mine.
Sometimes this happily single girl just feels a little squished between the parents and couples in her life, wondering if there is any room for her.
So maybe a lot of the stuff I post on Twitter is a distraction, but so was a great deal of the conversation I had with some of my closest "real" life friends when we were first getting to know each other. That's how you build a relationships, online or off.