Friday, January 09, 2004

A Blogless World

There is a woman who comes to the Caribou Coffee where I hang out at. It is the general consensus--general being Brian and I--that she has some form of mental illness because she talks to herself. And she wears stirrup pants. With heels.

Today, she comes in, grabs a discarded coffee cup, goes to the bathroom and fills it up with water and then sits right across from me. She doesn’t smell. Her clothes look clean, albeit disheveled. She doesn’t say a word to me, her eyes unfocused. Caught unawares, I am frozen in my seat. In a minute, she starts talking to her invisible daughter standing behind me. I turn around and make sure that the daughter is not trying to pick my pocket. She keeps talking.

I often have similar conversations in my own head. I would argue myself about whether ripped jeans from the 80s are back. I make devastating comebacks to the queens that dissed me a year ago about my hoodie/leather jacket combo. Should I tell my friend that alcohol has made him a different person from the one I loved?

When I started blogging a couple of years ago, I found that blogging captured the conversations that existed in my head. After awhile, it became a separate, almost tangible self. This self is more popular, more articulate, funnier than I am. It has made friends, acquaintances, blogstalkers. Things have gone so far that it has formed its own online clique and excluded me; I am not cool enough for my virtual doppelganger.

I thought, maybe blogging can help this woman across from me; help her to release her mocking self, to resolve her internal conflicts, to smooth out her split ends. I wanted to show her how to blog on my wireless laptop.

I focus back on her. She has now joined an invisible book group. Being an avid reader, I wanted to put in my two cents but I didn’t know what book they were discussing. If she had a blog, I could bring up HaloScan and maybe comment on plot inconsistencies. When she started berating an invisible shopgirl for giving her the wrong color nail polish, I could comment that the color matched her pink sneakers. She intimidates me in person, but my virtual self is bold, opinionated.

The United States has the highest number of bloggers in the world. If terrorists wanted to wipe out America, they just need to bring Blogger down for a week and watch the violence and suicide increase as people find no vent for their Seinfeldian observations. Right-wing extremists, with no outlet for their fiery misspelled rhetoric will declare war on other nations, resulting in nuclear holocaust. A blogless coup.

Blogger has been going down more often of late. When it is down, I find myself worrying about how soon it will be back up. I feel impatient, helpless. The words are running and I want to catch them before they turn around the block and disappear. Without an outlet, how many people revert to talking to themselves? Without blogging do we find ourselves back in that place of loneliness?

I look at the woman in front of me. She is staring into off space.

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