Friday, March 16, 2012


This post first appeared in November.  I'm going to reprint it in its entirety because I like to amuse myself with silly stories before getting to the heart of the matter.  At the heart of this story is how the roots of social media began to push through the ground and into our every day, always on lives.  I'm reprinting it for the Terri and Britta, both of whom have some very special things happening in their lives.

Terri's birthday is approaching and Britta's new product line just hit the shelves.  I just decided to give them each a nickname.  Terri is Guts and Britta is Determination.  Their story.... is part of my story.... and that WHOLE story is after MY silly story.  

From November 4, 2011:  

The world got so small.  It started with the internet (Al Gore, right?).  I caught my very first glimpse of the power of the internet in September of 2001.  It was prior to September 11.  Barely.  But prior.

My daughter was still in high school and on the school soccer team.  My son just started college in Rhode Island.  One afternoon, my son called.  My daughter was still not home.  Soccer practice.  He proceeds to ask me, "What happened in the girls' locker room?"  I had NO idea what the hell he was talking about.  Which locker room?  Should I turn on the TV? Was there some disaster on Long Island?

I'm pretty sure my response was along the lines of, "What the HELL are you talking about?"  So he continues, "At the high school.  Some guy was caught in the girls' locker room.  It was an older guy, not a kid from school."  And me, still saying, "WHAT?  Where do you come up with this bullshit?"

Continuing along, "Mom, some guy was caught hiding in the girls' locker room before soccer practice.  Did my sister get home yet?"  He played a few high school sports.  (Mostly, he spent his time on the local golf courses, after school, generally after dark and his best sport was running off the golf course.  Just sayin.)  He did, however play some "real" sports and he knew it was far too early for his sister to be home.  As I recall, it was barely 4PM.

Now, I'm simultaneously upset and annoyed.  "There was an incident at the school," he said, "after classes were over, they saw some strange guy running out of the locker room."  I did a quick glance at the clock and realized if this was all accurate, he was, true to form, getting me the news within 45 minutes of said incident.  Bin Laden?  Bullet hadn't yet exited and he had the information.  Earthquake?  Before Fox and CNN.  Qaddafi?  C'mon mom, I was listening to it when he was STILL ALIVE.  My son, The Information Compass.

I already ascertained somewhere in this conversation that all of the girls were fine.  No one was touched and this jerk (to this day, unknown) didn't expose himself.  No harm, no foul.  Close call.  Knowing everyone was safe, I immediately went into WTF mode, "How the hell did you find out about this?  I'm three miles from the school and you are up in Rhode Island and you're calling me while your sister is still AT the school??"  And the reply, "My friend's mom told him and he told me."

So, this is how the news got to me.  His buddy's mom happened to be at the school when this happened.  Mom (the witness, who happened to be a friend of mine) spoke to HER son in Tucson, Arizona.  This was back in the days of buddy lists and instant messaging.  When AOL was king...... (back story coming shortly.....) ....  My son got an IM from his friend who was at the University of Arizona.  In other words, in less than one hour, some nut managed to get into the locker room, the news traveled from my neighborhood to Arizona...... and from Arizona to Rhode Island and ultimately, from Rhode Island to my home.

Like I said, the world got very small and it started with the internet.  AOL and instant messaging were the foundation. Now we are tweeting, friending, unfriending, blocking, skyping, blogging and I'm sure plenty of other things that I would likely rather not know about.

The world began to shrink and simultaneously, the world expanded.  Exponentially.  Explosive.  The explosion finally came banging on my door.  I was strolling along (really, struggling along would be a more accurate description) in a direction. Headed no where.  Totally closed off.  Exceptionally unfulfilled.  Kinda disgusted.  Definitely annoyed.  Tired of listening to (mostly my daughter, to whom I've apologized), "It's never too late to try something different."

Yeah, yeah.  I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes at her many times.  Probably, no not probably, ABSOLUTELY told her, "You are wrong.  There comes a point in life when it IS too late to shift gears."  It makes for a great inspirational plaque or a greeting card or some other nonsense.  It all sounds great.  On the bullshit plaque.  Or the greeting card that will inspire me for a moment and then Piss. Me. Off.

And suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, my life decided it was time for me to make a left turn.  I haven't a CLUE how or why I allowed myself to take the turn but once I stepped left, life changed.  Passions began to stir.  I am so far from the point where I made that left turn that I don't remember life before This.  I'm not even sure what "this" is quite yet.  I only know if something Sounded Right.  Felt Right.  Seemed Right, I explored.  I became the proverbial kid in the candy story. And, in less than four months, I have been enriched by the relationships that I have developed with a multitude of new friends.  Dozens and DOZENS of new friends.

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with "strangers."  Except we aren't strangers.  We were five people who connected via the internet and in a most serendipitous fashion, managed to make the time to Make It Happen.  Five people whose sole form of communication was This.  Words on a screen.   There wasn't one moment of awkward silence or one second of anything other than a sense of belonging.

Yesterday, my soul was touched.  (Yep, it's official.  I turned into my daughter who, although she isn't reading this, IF she were, HER eyes would be rolling.... )  I'm not sure how it all came together but I do know it started when we found out Terri would be stopping in NY as she embarks on an adventure that is absolutely inspiring.  Elyn graciously opened up her home to BrittaMurray & I so that we could all spend time with Terri before she heads toward the next stop on her great journey.

I can't describe how strongly I now feel about new friends I met less than 24 hours ago.  Yesterday, I explored yet again, and again, I am home, feeling wonderful about the day.  There are bad days and sad days and mad days but at the end of ALL of them, I always feel like it was a good day.

I still haven't determined exactly where this is all taking me, but I'm following my heart and I'm feeding my curiosity and I'm finding my way.  I'm aimless with a purpose.  I'm moving in a direction.  And yet, I'm exactly where I am supposed to be at this time in my life.  Right Here.  Happy.  Fulfilled.  Riding the Wave.

The End....

Now, go back to the post from the other day.  Britta expressed the same sentiment about our afternoon gathering.  Check the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Strangers? What strangers? Seriously, I have made friends through the virtual realm who are much closer to me than many of my flesh-and-blood ones. Thanks for reminding us of the value of friendships online, the kind of that give us good days. Congrats to Terry and Britta. XOXO


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