Sunday, March 30, 2014

The people we know, the people we don't know, and how we cross that divide today

Today someone asked me, "So do you think you'll post to your blog again?" in the nicest possible way, and I thought about how not writing it kills some teensy part of me, and how writing it takes time and care and the willingness to look at a screen for more hours than I do on a regular work day, and here I am. Having weighed those two considerations against one another, factored in another Rather Important Something I wanted to do today, I find I have Done Math. And as frightening as that news is to serious mathematicians everywhere, the resulting equation has led me to this result. I am writing a post this evening. It's also only fair to mention, for a couple of reasons, that I'm reading P. G. Wodehouse. Reasons: he's funny in all the best ways; he reflects all the ways in which it has been possible to cross the social divide expressed in my title, and - most importantly - he was so good at his business that no one ever minded if he told the same story more than once.

The long-form blog you're now enjoying was abandoned by me a couple of years ago, in favor of one or two of its snappier cousins of the micro-blog form, including the ubiquitous Facebook, the more elusive but fascinating Instagram and the lurid, not-for-the-fainthearted Twitter. There's more reliance on images to convey ideas and less room for blather. Twitter being the Land of the Free Celebrity and the Home of the Brave Troll and Heckler, Instagram offered a certain promise. Not so much of your mother's high school NHS pals; not so many inappropriately public celebrity battles between family members. I liked Instagram. There was a developing community of common interests, some banding of citizen photographers with similar subject matter, and some figuring out of how to make, or more often, supplement, a living by leveraging those micro-connections. Doubtless there are trolls, but it's been quiet on that front for me so far. I connected with people who liked books, with people who took gorgeous shots of their gardens, or their backdrops while on their morning runs in Sydney or on the Isle of Man, or of moths or old houses. I found people who were Boxer fosters. I was found by people who live near an altogether different Ponte Vedra than the one in northern Florida. There are old friends, and local folks I've never met but with whom I share an acquaintance or two. There are people whose interests skim close to my own, and include the preservation of a nearly-lost Florida. Which is where it got interesting today.

On a yearlong challenge to visit all the state parks in Florida and having driven from Tampa (roughly) through the terrifying roadways of Orlando, stood atop the northernmost beach access walkover at the GTM Research Reserve with my dear old person and me this afternoon. They had thoughtful questions. They took notes. They cared about things like North Atlantic right whales and sea turtle nesting and kayaking and water levels and salinity. They had quite a lovely dog, who is not a Boxer, but is a rescue with a great deal of dignity, and a new appreciation for stairs. They plan to spend another day or so, exploring the #gtmreserve and visiting some of the state parks in northeastern Florida. Just yesterday we thought they were People We Didn't Know. Today, they're People We Know, and people we want to know even better. And just as I was thanking my lucky micro-blogging stars for the connection, I happened to read the blog roll of @ThatFloridaLifePress. It features @BlessOurHearts. I can only hope that my taletelling is sufficient unto the day, and that my generous readers, like those of the sainted P.G. Wodehouse, will hardly mind at all the telling of the same fine story, many times more than once.

Note: This post appears without the editorial oversight of Dylan Christensen, whose presence is sorely missed by this blog.