Ah, friends. They’re great, aren’t they? Indispensable, one might say. No matter what’s going on in your life, good or bad, if you have solid and dependable friends, you just know things will be fine. You can rely on them to be interested in your life, to get in touch, to want to hang out, to care, goshdarnit. Friends are the best.
Unless you keep a blog, that is.
One of my best friends dropped out to visit me yesterday, and we had a lovely time. We spent hours laughing, talking, drinking tea, and sharing our life’s burdens. Everything was going wonderfully until she admitted that she’s addicted to my blog. A good thing, you might think? Perhaps not, gentle reader. Perhaps not. ‘That’s why I don’t ring you any more,’ she joked. ‘If I want to know what you’re doing, I just have a read of the blog and it gets me right up to date again.’
Well. Did you ever hear the like of that?
I never anticipated this particular drawback to keeping a blog, I must admit. It’s easier to just summon up my words on a computer screen than it is to go to the trouble of making an actual telephone call – that’s undeniably true. So, in a way I can’t blame my friends for relying on the blog to keep themselves informed. However, it would be nice if they’d ring or text once in a while, just to say ‘Hey. How’re you doing?’ Is that really too much to ask, in this technology-saturated age in which we’re living?
Anyway. The only upside to the whole thing was that we started to talk about things we might not normally discuss, like politics, perception of women in society, music, and so on. The fact that she already knew all the minutiae of my life meant that we were free to get stuck into the deep stuff, so that was a bonus. But it sort of felt like a cup of tea without that extra squeeze of the teabag, or a piece of toast that’s only half-buttered; something wasn’t quite right. The foundations were missing. Don’t get me wrong – it was fun, and brilliant, like all my conversations with this particular friend. But – I don’t know. It just felt weird.
Among the things we did discuss though, this friend and I, was the ageless topic of ‘Where Are They Now?’ We named as many girls from our old class at school as we could think of, and tried to work out if we knew whether they were married, if they had children, what had become of them, and where they were now. We realised that while we’d done an excellent job of staying in touch with one another, and our own tight little group of mates, we’d lost touch with a lot of people, too. We amused ourselves by sharing anecdotes and memories from school, dredging up a lot of stuff I thought I’d forgotten. And – of course – as is almost inevitable these days, one of these dredging missions dragged up a story idea. If we’d been too busy talking about me, and what I’d been doing, we may never have managed to start sharing our school memories, and – logically enough – today, I would be idea-less. I have the blog to thank for that, and I am truly grateful.
It’s sometimes strange to think that there are people all over the world reading the words that I write here. Sometimes – as happened recently – a relative will tell me that they follow the blog, and that they read it whenever they can, and I’ll immediately start to feel flattered but also slightly embarrassed. I’ll wonder if they liked what they read. I’ll wonder if they think what I write is worth reading, or if they just cast their eyes over it out of a sense of duty or family loyalty. It’s easy to sit here and type out into the void, but when I think about all the eyes that take in the words I throw out, it makes my head spin a bit. (Admittedly, that might be due to still being rather unwell. I’m not completely back to myself yet!)
The blog, of course, would be nothing without its readers. Whether you know me in real life and read these musings because you feel you should, or whether you wouldn’t know me from a hole in the wall in real life and read the blog because you like it, I’m thankful. And to all my real-life friends – thanks for the support and the encouragement, and rest assured I’m not hoping you’ll get in touch just so I can rummage through our conversations looking for things to write stories about.
Well, maybe a little bit.
Anyway. I’m off to start working on the idea my friend sparked off in my head yesterday. Let’s hope it goes places!
*Just in case it wasn’t immediately obvious, this entire blog post is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, and no insult, injury, upset or offence is intended. If you’re a friend of mine in real life, rest assured I love you.