Friday, July 07, 2006

Keeping Up Appearances

The kitchen sink is piled high with dirty dishes. Unprocessed clothes are strewn on the bed in the other room from a vacation that ended two weeks ago. The invoices for last month are done a week late. The lawn is unmowed and some of the weeds are mighty big.

My routine of scheduled jobs has stretched from a normal three days to five in the absence of a lovely assistant to work with. It is hot and I am beat when I come home. My own garden and nursery languishes. The extra work I am asked to do gets put on hold. It is a chore at times to remember what I need to do just to keep up.

Social engagements and obligations are kept to a minimum or skipped. I manage late at night to feed myself. I think the bills are all paid. The cats have been fed. I must remember to brush my teeth.

Almost three years ago I got my first computer. Except for a class in college that seems an eternity ago, I had never been on a computer, much less online. The first part of the year with my new computer was spent in a futile pursuit of prurient interests. Boredom with that set in quickly. Meanwhile an epic battle was raging with The Evil Witch in Kula over business and loaned money and this machine was an invaluable tool in the lawsuit and lawyers and court rooms that followed. I found satellite photos with numbers and names of an oil well in Hackberry Louisiana on which the Witch had a claim. I put a lien on the land and the oil well too. I got my money back real quick.

I did however have to move thousands of potted plants from Kula down to Kihei and now had a tropical plant nursery tucked away in my back yard. My internet service came with a free web space and I had gotten a digital camera the second Christmas I had the computer. I built a website for my nursery to promote my hidden business. They make it so easy for complete novices now.

In the process of trying to promote my website I bumped into forums and blogs. Here were places where I could type in my less than humble opinion, hit click and Wa La, instant publication. This was so much better than that pesky editor at the local paper that kept changing and curtailing the letters I had been sending so often and so easily by e-mail.

I started actively participating in a couple of forums. I forgot about promoting my nursery. One forum or blog led to the next and I found communities of people who regularly spent time with each other.

I also learned slowly that the cast of characters in these rooms is as diverse and as complicated as the real world. I also kept reading that without eye contact, body language and tone or inflection it was very easy to misunderstand the plethora of less than humble opinions expressed on the web. This was stimulating. This was informative. Some times it was vicious. A lot of time there was genuine care and concern.

Here was the mental stimulation I kept thinking I needed, a window out of my humdrum world. I had been led to believe that I was an intelligent guy in the course of my life. The more I explored and the more I read of other people’s thoughts and ideas, the more right sized my view of my own intellect became. There were many well read, well spoken and informed people out there. I was learning things again. I was not the most brilliant person around.

I was however writing. I promised myself from the beginning that no matter where I was I would not use computer lingo or shortcuts. I would type in full sentences, correct spelling and the best I could accomplish with grammar. I had been thinking about writing for a decade. This was all practice in a big way.

I had written a short story for my nursery’s website. A loveable but deliberately tempestuous member of one forum sparked a parody. All of a sudden a bunch of short stories poured out of me and I posted them to this forum.

The online revolt and demise of a political blog coincided with the corporate greed of a favorite forum. I moved to another forum to try and make it my favorite. I still miss all the people at the old place. I already had a Blogger account from expressing my less than humble opinion else where, so when the community from the political blog moved to its new blog location it dawned on me that I could have my own blog. I could post the pictures and stories here that the greedy corporation was claiming the same full and equal copyright privileges to as me. Their intent to collect for free and then sell was transparent. The whole site sold shortly after the new greedy terms of service went into effect.

I started posting entries to my blog. It is somewhat addictive and very egocentric as another person from the political site who started a blog has noted. It is also quite time consuming. This blog has led to new connections across the globe. The places where I have or continue to participate keeps expanding. I have new e-mail friends and actually met in person a charming and beautiful woman of substance while I was on vacation that I met on the web at the political blog.

I come home nearly cooked and turn on this machine and have little spells of OCD. I no longer watch TV. It gets hard to keep up with all the connections when my brain just seems to slowly read and stare. My response is slow to come in the instant world at my finger tips and I fret over appearing to lack in proper manners.

I sit here unbathed typing. I have been sucked into cyberspace.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

Another adorable pose from Greyman. You definitely feed him well. I was the main caretaker of my former boyfriend's cat for nine years. I must have fed him pretty well, because he got to be eighteen pounds. Even so, he could run like the wind, up and down the hill which was our back yard. He was a very cool companion for us.

I hope you're able to catch up on all your domestic chores. I've managed to catch up on some of my paper clutter -- up to everything dated May 2006. I've made my paper shredder part of the furniture for the time being. Once I get completely caught up, it goes back in the closet. I think one other solution will be to get on-line subscriptions to my favorite newspapers and magazines, just like you got ones to the Maui News and Dave's Garden, and I can post them as links to my blog too. Then I won't have this problem of hard copies stacking up on me any more.

I also managed to fix my blog. I know it's not rocket science, but I'm patting myself on the back just the same. I put the close-up of the baby bird into photobucket, and put the link to it in the title box for the bottom post. Whenever (if ever) you have a free moment again, I'd like it if you'd come over to see it. No hurry, though -- I completely understand about the time crunch.

Cheryl said...

That was lovely. I enjoy the imagery in your writing. You've expressed what a lot of us have been feeling.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I saw this morning from Bread Crusts that you have started a blog Cheryl. Deb mentioned Richard's and I went and checked that out a few days ago. Christina's is up and running with some very nice, quite good actually free verse poetry.

Who really knows where this road will lead each one of us. The journey is filled with all kinds of sights, sounds and stimulation and it has television beat hands down as a source of information and a learning tool.

Even when I tell myself, "It is time to step away from the computer", I don't feel too bad because the time spent hasn't been totally wasted.

whistlestop caboose said...

Catching up here, slowly but surely, and reading this was comforting! A woman who has been visiting my blog a lot lately because she's trying to work out how to do her own finally got her first post up. "I feel kind of silly, like I'm talking to myself," she confessed. So do we all, I said - and then along come a few people who comment, and it's like someone walking up to you at a party and making you feel less foolish standing alone.