The internet is weird.
I “met” Rachel on a breastfeeding message board. Her son was teeny tiny and my daughter was about six months old. Nursing babies was what we had in common. As women are apt to do (both in person or via the internet) conversation eventually strayed away from the original topic of breastfeeding our babies.
It was more than six years ago when we realized that we loved the same band in our 20s. In those first few months wearing the name tag that says “Mom” feels so awkward. It made me feel more normal that someone else was wearing it, too, someone else that had previously worn a tie-dye and danced all night.
When you meet a woman in a line by the restrooms at a concert and you decide to be fast friends it might last the evening. You might squeal when you see her later in line to grab a beer “Oh my gah!!! Hi!!!” When you meet a woman at Baby & Me yoga you will might run in to each other from time to time at the grocery store. But eventually as the season of life that brought you together passes so, too, will the occasion to cross paths.
That’s the not the case with the internet.
Six years ago I realized that Rachel and I like the same band.
In the time that has passed since I met Rachel I have learned that we have polar opposite political beliefs. We don’t share similar points of view about religion. I’ve never shot a gun. My kids go to public school. I swear like a sailor. We don’t actually have much in common on the surface at all.
But we still “see” each other frequently. I read her blog. She pops up in my facebook feed.
In our day to day lives we find people that share our beliefs. We meet similar families through our schools and our churches or where we choose to live. It is easy to feel that we are doing the right thing, making good choices, or voting for the right candidates when our beliefs are never challenged.
But the internet is weird. You can stay friendly with someone for a long time with very little effort. Unlike that woman in line at the bathroom or the lady from yoga with a baby the same age as mine when you become “friends” on the internet it is easy to stick around. You don’t have to carve out a mutual 20 minutes to get coffee. You catch up when you can.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging.
Rachel challenges me frequently. I am challenged to remember that while we might not see eye to eye we were brought to the same place at the same time six years ago because we wanted what was best for our children. And ten years before that – we were probably shaking our booties to the same jam.
How about you? Has the internet brought people in to your life you’ve not have had occasion to meet in your day to day life offline? If it hasn’t – come and see me at Excitement on the Side. Maybe you won’t have anything in common with me. And maybe you will hang around anyway.