13 Aug
2003

Norahs for Everyone

Dylan hardly ever makes fun of people (at least to their faces), but one thing he does frequently is tease me about the blogs I read regularly, saying that the authors are imaginary friends that make up for the real friends a happy, healthy, socially well-adjusted girl my age should be calling on the phone to talk with about boys and shopping and makeup and stuff. I do not like to be teased, but I do like my imaginary friends. And just because they’re not real friends (at least with me), doesn’t mean they’re not real people. They are funny and interesting, they live cool places, they travel, they have drunken parties that I can enjoy in pictures rather than in person, they get pregnant, and they are not in graduate school studying history (no offense, guys, really, but there’s a limit, you know).

I have a handful of friends I hang out with regularly, but we’re getting to the point where we are starting to feel comfortable speaking freely about major emotional personal drama with each other. I have no problem with personal emotional drama; shit happens. But I don’t want people to ask me for advice and go on and on about the same problem if they’re not going to listen to my responses. I do not want to be merely a flesh-and-blood sounding board. My philosophy: If the problem is something you can fix, fix it. If you can’t fix it, there’s no use stressing out about it because there’s nothing you can do; worrying will only make you more upset. So dump the loser, drop the class, stop eating the burritos, and get acquainted with a treadmill. A simplification, yes, but it works for me, and look how great I turned out.

Here’s where the imaginary friends come in. I freely admit that I like reading blogs because they are friends you can turn off. I meet up with these people when I want to, I can give them feedback (or not) at my own leisure, and if they ever start getting dramatic and stupid, I can ignore them and no one’s the wiser. But people mostly post writings and photos to be hilarious and brilliant and creative and cool, and who doesn’t want friends like that? I know that a lot of what they write is probably exaggerated and that some of them may not even be who they say they are, but when it comes right down to it, that really doesn’t bother me. Jay Gatsby wasn’t who he said he was either, but that didn’t make his parties any less grand, his car any less golden. And what I get out of it is a great story. That’s all I’m after.

Even though most of my favorite bloggers are way too cool to ever be my friends in real life, I do feel a personal connection with some of them. One is an ex-Mormon from Utah who lived in California briefly before moving back to Salt Lake. One is obsessed with Hamlet. One is just a superb writer with a knack for creating that special glowy nostalgia feeling you get from The Wonder Years and Stand By Me. One is in love with her boyfriend to the point of distraction. These are my people, whether they know it or not. So what if I sit at the dinner table telling stories about what Heather and Sarah and Alex did today, only to admit that no, they are not new people I met at work or at the gym, but nothing more than composites of type and images on a screen.

The reason that I bring this up is that I have finally been validated, albeit by the powers that have given John Edwards his television fame. I have telepathically connected with my favorite blogger.

I check her site a million times a day, waiting with unhealthy investment to see the latest update. I have read all her archives, I have cried tears of joy for her personal moments of happiness, I have (gasp) started my own website in the likeness of Her Greatness’s own. I am a shameless devotee.

And now to the point: Today when this Site of Sites was finally updated around 4 pm or so (the agony!), I was stunned to discover the new entry was a lengthy piece about going to a Norah Jones concert the night before. The entry ended with a sincere promise to name her firstborn–boy or girl–Norah Jones Armstrong. The coincidence (or sign from the gods of Fate) is that hours before, I had also been picking out my future baby’s name. (Don’t get excited, Ma; it’s just a girlish frivolity, not a womanly necessity.) But here’s the part that’s either downright creepy or proof that I have indeed harnessed the power of the internet and used it to connect with a kindred spirit. I also chose the name Norah, adding the final “h” after much consideration. Here’s proof that the Fates are alive and well and down with twenty-first-century technology.

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