…life on the synaptic firing range

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Bent but unbroken Southern California native seeks understanding, companionship, and resonance along and off the beaten path. Teresa plays well with others and makes every effort to perform to her potential. Usually. *processed in a facility that processes nuts and nut products

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I'm a closet blogger, sort of. Only a handful of people know about this place, mostly folks from a message board community I frequent. It's not so much that I want to keep it a secret—though it is easier to stay true to myself when I feel protected by the anonymity of cyberspace—but that I've never been much of a "look at me!" sort. At a party, I'm not even the person sitting quietly in a corner, I'm the person who runs out for more ice—and visits a bookstore on the way, and maybe stops for a burrito.

I actually do want people to pay attention to me. I just don't want to ask them to. And I want them to pay attention only in very specific ways. Ideally, I'd like to be able to edit my social encounters, which I'm always doing in my head anyway, as if do-overs were possible in life. I perform postproduction on therapy visits as well, and while I often share with my therapist thoughts that occur to me in going over my mental transcripts of previous weeks' sessions, those aren't do-overs proper, because they invariably prompt discussions about why I feel such a strong need to edit myself.

I would never have to run out for ice if partygoers were issued writing tablets and pencils with erasers, if being social didn't involve speaking extemporaneously.

I've recently formed a friendship with a woman I met online. We have so much in common I keep asking her to reassure me that I didn't make her up—which may start to annoy her, so I should stop that. We wrote each other for weeks before we traded phone numbers, then I was terrified to actually talk to her for fear that I would be found out for the mentally defective person I am. I wasn't sure I wanted her to know anyone but the person who could speak in complete sentences and whose uncomfortable silences evaporated between lines of text—but I was sure that I wanted to know her in an unqualified way, not as an online friend but as a friend. Then a surprising thing happened. We spoke. We talked on the phone for over an hour—with no awkward silences. It was a minor miracle, one that I'm not sure would have happened had I not introduced myself to her in writing first. Had we met at a party, I'm not sure we would have met at all.

Eventually I'll share this blog with some friends I met first in the flesh, one of whom I know will be mightily pissed that I didn't tell her about it sooner. And I wonder whether they'll recognize the person I am here. I wonder whether they'll like her. They'll be far too polite to tell me so if they don't, and maybe that's for the best. Still, I can't help imagining what would happen if they met me here first, how our relationships might be different if they came to know me through my writing rather than always having to read between my lines.


Blogger sporksforall said...

It's funny because I had met you and liked you and then I read a story of yours and thought I got more from it. It was very much a between the lines feel. Which was nice. And you can talk on the phone and be who you are, all at the same time.

7:17 PM  
Blogger treecup said...

Wow. You actually copyedit your life.

It's funny -- I'm always sort of an adjunct friend in your life. First because I was Elizabeth's friend. Then, after Joel and you worked at the same place because I was Joel's wife. So in a sense I am only really getting to know you directly through this. Just so you know, I do like you.

10:41 AM  
Blogger scout said...

Aw, thanks, Sandra. I think you're a pretty cool lady, too.

12:45 PM  
Blogger sporksforall said...

When did we start calling one another "lady?????"

2:28 PM  
Blogger Slangred said...

I met you in the flesh first and liked you immediately. So there. I've enjoyed many a great talk and laugh and perhaps some comfortable silences with you. I think the only imaginary thing about your new friend is your belief(?) that a written introduction is necessary to "get" you, Scout.

11:09 AM  

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