August 31st, 2004

if i gave a crap

Pointed accounts of people you (may or may not) know.

not to get too personal on this heah journal, as i am making more of a point than ever not to do that anymore. but i just wanted to say something about trust. and yes, this is truly, truly, truly true a general statement, not any sort of veiled attempt to Get A Message To You Rudy. I swore off that shit, what little of it I did (three or four posts that I can remember, three of which had to do with Relayshunship Isshues) a couple years ago, about the same time I swore off repeatedly deleting my LJ and drinking so much. (I would at this time also like to personally thank the several of you who got across to me nicely or even not so nicely that such types of "communications" belonged squarely in "Revenge of the Stupid, Part Sixty-Four.")

anyway, what I wanted to say is, for some time I have been wrestling with the concept of trust in this medium. Awhile ago people were all doing a "trust meme" where they classified all their "LJ friends" as dragons or gargoyles or some other level depending on how much they trusted or liked or hung out with each other. There is no way I could ever impose such a rankings system on my friends, actual or I-net. There is also no meeting of the minds that I can see on here about how people use their LJ f(r)iends list. Some just want their RL friends, some want nobody they know in RL (presumably so they can discuss RL stuff in a safe space), some are looking for "a connection" with new close friends or dates, some just seem to randomly add people and then ignore them or forget where they came from till they don't know their LJ f(r)iends from three-toed tree sloths, and some simply add entertaining journals without giving too much thought to the person writing them.

My favorites are those who seem to consider everybody on their LJ f(r)iends list a buddy to the point where they get upset about being dropped, despite the fact that they rarely comment and in some cases can't be bothered to ever say hello in person even when the person lives in the next town over. Yeah, I had RL f(r)iends like that too. "Uh, like, I haven't bothered to speak to you in five years but I still consider you my good friend! Really!!" Please. I do have a very few friends who I know would still be my friends and think about me sometimes and wonder about what I'm doing and care about me even if I had not spoken to them for 20 years, but they are rare gems, few and far between, and what we shared to get to that point was a hella lot more significant than bantering on the Internet. I won't even comment on the ones who "consider someone a friend" despite the fact that it is obvious to all and sundry that they can't stand Someone, because they don't want to be honest and dislike or at least ignore Someone out loud for Some reason.

(I know, I know, rambly brambly GET TO THE FRICKIN' POINT AWREADY!)

which is, I finally figured out how I feel about all of youse on my list today who are not my RL friends (who presumably know how I feel about them :). I am not so presumptuous as to consider you "friends", because my sense of that term entails a lot more than most of you care to put out on my behalf, and that's just fine; we all need some low maintenance interactions, some stuff that's just for entertainment, some people who we can talk to about amusing mundanities without having to go the whole nine yards of Getting to Know You. But, I do require something from everybody on my list, and that something is a basic level of trust. Which for me basically translates into You won't act like an ass on here or spend too much time bringing up people who do.

Occasionally someone pings my trust-o-meter. And that's usually all it is, is a momentary ping. Once in a while someone starts pinging it regular and then whanging away on it like a whammy bar and then I drop them, because I don't keep people around who I can't trust, even in the stupid world of the public Internet. I just don't do it, not because I have to post Deep Dark Secrets on here, but because people who strike me as Untrustworthy make me Uncomfortable. There are also many reasons why I have dropped people besides lack of trust (such as their own lack of interest or us just not having much in common) and I'm sure many reasons why people have dropped me in return.

It seems like a stupidly simple conclfusion, but it took me a long time to reach it. The idea of trusting in near-total strangers for ANYTHING, no matter how minor, is wildly against my logical nature. Yet it is such trust that forms the basis of communication on the 'Net. OK, I gotta go now before I morph into eughhy Larry Lessig.
explosion nit wit

What doesn't kill us makes us...more compulsive.

when I was little I was afraid of skulls and skeletons. not the Halloweeny kind, but the serious gothy deathy kind. this was not a problem at mine own house because my mother refused to keep that stuff around. She said it gave little kids nightmares, just look at Tommy across the street whose parents let him watch all the horror movies on Channels 43 and 61, he would scream in his sleep so loud you could hear him all the way across the street in our house. ( Tommy, who grew up to play college football somewhere, would probably not appreciate being remembered for his night terrors, but whatever.)

but once a year we would go visit my aunt who lived in a cluttered house with dozens of relatives in all stages of life passing through and gifting her with various Catholic doodads scattered about like crackerjack prize indulgences. and invariably I would come upon some Skull or Skeleton that would just scare the peewodden out of me. one year it was the statue of St. Francis on the landing, that was about 2 feet high and had a fairly big skull at its base symbolizing that he triumphed over mortality or was a great philosopher or something like that. I would try not to pass that statue and if I did I would shut my eyes. at the same time I would be thinking up reasons to pass it and scare myself or try to get over the scare or whatever it is little kids feel when they're trying to get a grip on themselves and being scared is pretty awful but just a tad neat-feeling.

same with the pamphlet some uncle left behind about Prayers at the Bedside of the Dying. I am not sure who, if anybody, had died recently enough to justify this booklet's presence, but there it was in all its pinky red glory, with an illustration on the front of a SKELETON REACHING IN FROM THE NIGHT THROUGH THE WINDOW to grab some old sick-looking guy laying in a hospital bed. I was about 6 or 7 and remember peeking at the cover and being so horrified I stuck it immediately up on a high shelf of the china cupboard, only to take it back down again and look at it real quick and scare myself again and stick it back up on the shelf---it was so horrific that even covering the picture with my hand didn't make the fear disappear---and kinda keep it up on the shelf and dust the shelf with it while humming and looking the other way and then SNEAKING ANOTHER LOOK and freaking out and keeping this up for like 10 minutes till my mom figured out what I was doing and took the pamphlet away.

i guess this behavior is normal for little kids. hell some of them carry it over into their adult dating lives. they've scientifically proven that the thrill of fear isn't that far off from the thrill of a turn-on. whatever.

i buy a lot of skull jewelry now. i can't figure out whether that's a controlled outlet for my anxiety, or pleasure in my self-mastery, or whether the craftsmen just make friendlier-looking skulls than they used to.