Imagine having a relationship with someone for years, decades perhaps, and never having met them.
I’ve known people, through my work on the net, literally for decades. One fellow, Charles Carroll, I met while writing magazine articles for MIND (Microsoft Internet Developer) in the late 90’s, and while we worked on that ancient technology known as Classic ASP. We still connect, though infrequently. I’ve never met the man.
I once worked for a fellow for five years; we never spoke. Only exchanged emails.
These days it’s as common as “Alexa: play my morning mix”. We get to know folks — through the internet — and may never speak to them, never see them, never identify who they really are. But yet, we know them.
Attachment through familiarity. Time does that to folks in occasional, or frequent contact — regardless of the medium of communication. Consider penpals: a 19th and 20th century pastime which hooked up people from across realms, countries, continents. They exchanged pleasantries, goings-on, and perhaps, more deeply, misgivings, personal beliefs and aspirations.
Did they meet? Seldom is my guess. But still, they developed a relationship. Perhaps a true and soul-penetrating connection that may have held the two ends-of-their-string up for years.
Today this exists anew. All of you have people you interact with whom you’ve never met. Will never meet. Are such relationships lesser than because of this physical divide? I think not. I think there are those of you with whom I’ve connected, on some level, through this digital bridge. And I think you too have made connections to folks you feel attached to, indebted to, cosmically enmeshed to the point where their absence might leave you wondering — what happened? Where are you? You might feel deflated somewhat, lost.
What if they were to go away and you would never know them again. Their cheerful notes would cease. Their place in your ritual would gap open, unfulfilled. Their vanishing would leave a hole in your life, one that you might not patch, not really knowing if their absence was permanent — or their delay of interaction simply stretched out.
Stretched out and out… until forgotten.
I’m certain, were some of us to meet, we’d be fast friends, confidants and fishing buddies. And as you disappear from my virtual life, and I from yours, recall that there was a spark of connection shared between us.
I’ve never met you, but I love you.