Monday, September 29, 2008

I love computers!! And a few realizations.

Okay, so not a weird way at all!

And don't even think about saying "well if you love computers so much, why don't you go marry one?!" because that is soooo fifth grade. And sooo my joke.

But the truth of the matter is, I'm awfully fond of computers and the Internet and all of the useful things that go along with them!

The other day, I got a text from my friend in Washington State (who I met online) and he was on vacation. But something came up, and he needed to contact our mutual friend in Nottingham, England (who we both met online) about some urgent business concerning him, and yet another mutual friend who lives down in Alabama (who also is one that we met online)! I got the text after school, and as soon as I was home, relayed the text to my friend in England who appreciated the help and took care of things from there.

It made me feel special to be a part of this sort of "grapevine" of messages. Like I was in that movie 101 Dalmatians (the cartoon, not the real life one with Hugh Laurie, Jeff Daniels, and Glenn Close) and it was that part where the dogs have their little "barking chain" thing going on? Not that I am anything close to a dog, but the basic concept was close enough for comparison.

Now, I have a considerable amount of online friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. who I communicate with on a daily/weekly basis. And I feel connected! I have three different pals in Romania, two in Wales, three in England, and one each in Ireland, Russia, Turkey, India, and South Africa. And about a dozen others across the United States!

And friends that I've made in my life that have made their way across the globe and are now in places like Cambodia, Argentina, and Hawaii.

And those people have dozens of contacts around the world as well! It is amazing what a small world we have!

And it's getting smaller every day.

I have a friend here in SC who comes over and chats about once a month. She's really awesome, and very very interesting to talk to. All of her kids have moved out of the house. I have met only one of them, but I hear her talk about the others and feel like I know them.

Just the other day, I had this friend over and we were having a nice conversation about why I was learning Romanian and about the things that each of us know about Europe and other far away places. And as it turns out, her son is really into Gypsy music. And we chatted about that for awhile. She asked if she could give him my e-mail address and I said that that would be fine, and I gave her the one I use for personal interactions. And she also mentioned that he had a blog, and suggested I check it out.

So I checked out his blog, and my mind was blown.

You'll understand why in a minute.

I guess. . . growing up in the South, I don't really realize how . . sheltered. . . I've been. Especially growing up in a LDS family. And I realize now that having friends out there in the world doesn't really give me an accurate view of the world itself. The life I live goes by like a slow, quiet, gentle river. My constant sub-urban surroundings have sheltered me from the chaos on either side. I've never known city life. I think I know it from movies and books, and fancy magazines, but those never tell the truth about what it's really like. They dress it up and throw it out there on display for everyone to see, but for no one to really experience.

Growing up Mormon helped as well. I've had LDS friends as long as I can remember. And it's WONDERFUL! I rarely hear any foul language, I never have to deal with any smoking or drug use. I don't have to be around alcohol. Being surrounded by people who share the same beliefs as I do has made my life easier than most. I know my friends would never ask me to do anything that is against my standards or beliefs, and I know that as long as I am with them, my values and morals are safe. I'm constantly uplifted mentally and spiritually by the people I surround myself with, and it's splendid. Sure, I know about the things that happen in the "real world" and can tell right from wrong, but I really haven't had to make that many decisions on it. I've never been offered drugs or alcohol or cigarettes. (Although I'm sure I'd say no if I were offered.) And I haven't seen firsthand the effects that these things have on people, families, or friends. I have never been around anyone who was intoxicated. I've never been around anyone whose life has been torn apart from drugs or some other dangerous addiction. I don't really "Know" what it's like to see someone throw their life away through substance abuse.

Watching movies, I've come to a certain sense of what is "normal". I have ideas and concepts of what a "normal" person is like and, for the most part, expect that everyone is just as "normal" as everyone else. I recognize different cultures and traditions and religions, but all in all, I think to myself, everyone is really the same.

-Back to the "Mind Blowing Blog"-

And then I stop by that blog. And I see things that make me think. Just seeing his video of him riding the L train at 6:00 in the morning in New York and riding a bike through the streets going from work to home blows my mind! There are people who live in New York and they actually ride trains and they work all night and get home early in the morning. There is a big, busy city there that I personally would be scared to go anywhere in without my mother's permission and a printout of directions from Google maps. And I certainly would never think that anyone would walk to where they need to go! Much less ride a bike!

I guess I never really realized that those people on the streets are actually transporting themselves from home to a job or to school or to a party or from a friend's house back to home or something like that. I never really realized when I watched those movies that Hey, this is actually their form of commute! And I saw that video and I absolutely went nuts with this realization. Why hadn't I thought of that before? Why hadn't I realized? Why am I just now seeing this??

And then this guy whose blog I stopped by, I see that he's not Joe schmo office worker calling a cab to take him to his apartment or to his cubicle. I see that he works in a bar. His culture and surroundings and social life are completely different than anything I've ever seen. I started to realize that maybe not everyone is the same. I guess people are different. And can be unique without being those attention-starved posers you see in the halls of your high school. This whole different "sub-culture" of punk gypsy bands and going to places, and trying to break into "the biz" (my word, not his) of tattoo artistry. This life that he leads is an eye opening view!

Not to say that since reading his blog, I'm now an expert on the world. I'm not. I'm still protected and sheltered here at home. I'm just a little more aware now. And a little less. . . brainwashed by media portrayals.

Needless to say, I'm going to stop by more often.

The Aforementioned Blog: Captain


EZ Money said...

Yes...computers are grand! They certainly make our jobs easier and social lives much better. Where would we be without computers? Imagine no email. Modern technology has indeed enhanced our lives or is it complicated?????

Liz said...

1.You really need to get out more!
2. Movies are NOT a viable portrayal of 'normal' in any sense of the word!
3. Yes, you are sheltered (and wonderful!)
4. Someday, girl, you'll visit all those awesome places and you'll have a ball!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we really are sheltered as LDS, but can you imagine living in Utah all your life? I don't mean to put down any Utah people because I have dear friends that live there, but can you imagine how not sheltered we are because we don't live in that bubble? I always got called sheltered because of Star Wars, but we won't go into that. It's just that the world is crude and so what we've been sheltered from that, that's not always a bad thing, but I'd like to travel and not be so "American". It's sad because people in other countries know our politics better than we do!! Crazy. When my friends and I plan that trip out to Europe, I'll let you know and maybe you can tag along with us! That would be so much fun. *sighs* Someday when I get the money!