Whoa! Didja get the numbers off that truck?!?

December 21, 2003 - 9:51 a.m.

Christmas Tree, Year Three

It's that season again, and my third season here as I write while you all watch. All three of you. I would suppose that the interest in my space has waned as I lost the enthusiasm to write here. I'm not gone completely, that might not ever happen.

Some people take this online writing gig as a form of therapy to get through whatever crisis they're in and then they move on. I have seen and also heard of many who immerse themselves in the online experience a little too much and as a result their world crashes around them. They become something they didn't envision and their view of the world, and their own personal orbit in it changes dramatically. Many times the change is good but the cost of that evolution is too great. If they're strong they recover, but by then the spouse is gone, they've had to move and move on in many other ways.

I lived that experience myself. In my case though, the online experience started after my spouse decided to take a hike. In fact, her on-line experience is what precipitated the whole thing. This was back before the dawning of the World Wide Web in the bad old AOL Chatroom Days. She went looking for something she couldn't find at home, as many do. She found it.

In a cruel twist of irony I found what I was looking for on-line after she left. I went looking for friendship and I found it. I discovered many people who thought and felt like I do, and many of those people are still my friends even after seven years have passed. It's not friendship in the conventional sense though, it moves in a different pace. We know of each others personal crisis and celebrations through the world of electronic text.

The bad part of all of my on-line experience is that it began to replace real life. Many years ago I spent hundreds of hours in front of the keyboard. In the process of exploring the WWW, I also became the de-facto expert in IRC (Internet Relay Chat: the Model A of chat engine software). I even hosted my own channel, for all my displaced chatroom buddies who had been orphaned off a website that had unceremoniously cut off the space where we all met. That lasted about a year, we all became bored with it and each other, it was a pretty closed little society. A few weeks ago I installed mIRC software and went back into IRC on a lark. I didn't enjoy my short visit, I found it stupid and pointless. It took me about 15 minutes to figure that out. There are thousands there who don't find it that way; that is fine for them. For me, the IRC software got uninstalled the same night. You can't go back home.

I also did what many here in the internet do: I met and fell in love with someone. It lasted longer than it probably would have in real life, but the engine of the internet kept it going. If all it took were the internet it would still be going today but I need Real Life. I need Touch and Feel and day to day contact to make it alive. The trouble was, her Real Life was hundreds of miles away and it was impossible for her to make that leap. The underlying reasons for that are beyond the scope of this, and besides I really don't care much anymore. I made my final peace with that reality a long time ago.

There is a much better Real Life for me right now. I have finally grown and evolved and become someone ready to accept a Real Life Relationship. I've had to make a few adjustments, all my years in front of a keyboard turned me into a real loner. I really didn't have much other than my computer, my kids and my dog. Pretty small orbit, wouldn't you say? My Gardenangel notices this and has been annoyed by it on more than one occasion. She's helping me through this transition from Loner to Real Life, and it's going well thankyouverymuch.

The reason you don't see me here much anymore is because Real Life is going so well. I still feel compelled to write, just not as often as I used to. I'm now doing what others do: existing in social context with real human beings. It took me awhile to get to this point, but it's good to be back.

Oh and the headline? I almost forgot!

Merry Christmas to all my real and virtual friends!

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