Thursday, September 01, 2005

Virtual biographies

5:30 am. The humidity is 90%. It's like breathing through a wet sheet. No sunrise.

There is a message from Man in New Orleans, who is actually in Baton Rouge, wishing me pleasant dreams. The number of time zones between the two of us mean he's writing when I'm asleep. Half my friends are on eastern, central or pacific time and still in bed when I start my work day.

At least I know where my friends are. WS, my Baton Rouge friend, has friends missing. People who didn't evacuate New Orleans. "I can't look at the pictures," he says.

We manage to maneuver the direction of the conversation to a more personal level. We are getting to know each other. It's a weird experience, trying to tell a stranger about your life online - like reciting one line of lyrics from a song without reference to the melody.

My process goes: state a fact (like, "I've been married three times.") and then add the usual disclaimer "but...."

A good rule of thumb is, "Don't explain." But the capsulized version of my life, if I'm not leaving 85% of the information out, sounds just a little unhinged. The life of someone with her feet planted squarely in mid-air. And I'm far too blunt, which often startles people.

I plead time constraints. I don't have time to fuck around with superficial conversation. I can't be bothered with superficial relationships. The mortality clock is ticking. I have no doubt this attitude makes me a complete pain in the ass to deal with. But c'est la Vie.