The Sunday Scribblings prompt for today is Phantoms and Shades.
I am a phantom. You are a phantom. I have a host of phantom friends hovering in cyberspace, conjured from words and pictures that can, at most, depict a tiny, possibly flawed, picture of the living person.
I love my phantom friends. Most of you are honest, shaping into words your joys and sorrows, small traumas of daily life, fleeting emotions, everyday activities and exceptional events.
Your photos let me see the world through your eyes. A detail of wind-blown blades of grass, the majesty of a mountain reflected in a mountain lake, the smile of your shy granddaughter as she half-buries her face in her mother’s skirt, your just finished piece of intricate knitting, beloved dogs, collections - all these resonate with what I imagine your personality to be.
Many times, my friends, you cast into cyberspace thoughts that you would not express were we face-to-face: emotions, mental struggles, heartbreak. You make me laugh, you make me cry, and often we find common cause against the world’s injustices and rejoice together when the right man is elected president. In cyberspace we whisper our fears to one another.
But as well as I think I know you, unless you are someone I actually have known in the flesh, I have incomplete and flawed images of your person. Maybe you (as I do} post only flattering portraits of yourself. And some of you might be lovable frauds. I know of at least one whose posts are delightful and wholly fictional.
No, it isn’t me! I am truly Granny Smith, happily married to Otto, visited at the moment by two grown grandchildren who are still asleep downstairs after a late night of dancing. But do you know me? Only in bits and pieces, my warts hidden, my most becoming side exposed.
I love my phantom friends. I want to know you better. If you plan to come to Berkeley sometime, let me know, and we might share a cup of coffee (Peet’s) or a cup of tea (Mint or Lapsang Oolong). We’ll get together and no longer be phantom friends.