Making Friends

It’s Friday night. I’m on my second glass of wine, and I have the prospect of a week off stretched ahead of me like a glorious savannah full of possibilities. Of course we know that by Tuesday I’ll be writing a bitter account of cutting the lawn, the privet hedge, and making numerous trips to the rubbish dump, but that’s not the point. At the moment, the immediate future involves wine, and unfounded optimism. Surely the best foundations for a few days off work.

I often see other people posting reviews of their week – looking back over the past several days, and re-telling the stories of note. I really only have one story of note worth telling (well, aside from a snore-inducing solution to a technical problem that had my trousers on fire this morning), but at least it’s a happy story.

I made a friend.

I suppose in reality we’ve been friends for a while – commenting on each other’s blogs, and firing the odd email back and forth. This last few weeks though, we have became more than strangers that occasionally comment on each other’s blog posts.

I have very few “real” friends on the internet. I suspect the same is true of anybody else too. Interacting with people you don’t really know involves the building of walls, and the imposition of filters. Some have higher walls, and some have more filters. Some seem to have none at all – oh how I wish I could do that.

It’s odd though – making friends across the vast reaches of the internet. While you never make eye contact, and never get to wander into town for coffee together, you share thoughts that you might not otherwise. Silly ideas, hopeless dreams, and petty annoyances. It turns out distance is useful sometimes.

A friend on the internet is an escape too. While writing an email to share the occasional day you can let go of the obligations and expectations you drag behind you for a little while, and remind yourself that somewhere in the middle of parenting, working, cleaning up, washing up, and so on, you’re still there – still putting one foot in front of the other – and so are they.

I can’t help thinking about Dumbledore’s words though – that it doesn’t do to dream and forget to live. Of course when you have a family surrounding you it’s difficult to avoid living. My youngest daughter came running in earlier, breathlessly relating a complicated tale of woe at great speed, regardless of what I might have been doing before she turned the corner to prop herself at my shoulder.

Anyway. Regardless of what else has happened over the last few weeks, the most important thing is that I made a friend – and I’ve been sitting out here on my batman perch above the internet city long enough to know how rare and precious a thing that is.

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