Several weeks ago Laurel walked in the kitchen and I was writing a message to a podcast that I listen to. “What are you doing?” she asked.
I told her.
She looked at my phone and said, “They write back?! You write back and forth?! That’s kind of creepy, Mom.”
I didn’t send the message that night. I wanted to tell them that they mispronounced Evelyn Waugh’s name. And that she’s a he. A bunch of other listeners did it for me, though.
But Laurel was right. I do have a running conversation with these guys. Sort of.
I asked Mary if that was creepy. She knows how much I enjoy this particular podcast.
“Do you like it or do you find it creepy when people contact you about your blog?” she asked.
Hmmm…. Mostly, it’s very encouraging.
Of course there was that one person who was downright nasty.
Early on I also had a heated exchange with another blogger when I referred to my mother’s Alzheimer’s as a gift. I still stand by that one — because in the humble obscurity of taking care of the most basic bodily needs of a person, love can wash away old conflicts. That is a gift.
I’ve also had a lot of encouraging words — some on the blog itself, some in cards sent to my home, some sent directly to my email. If someone really wanted to track me down, it’s not hard, I’ve learned. People have sent me gifts: poems, CDs, books, bookmarks. I’ve met some people face to face. I’ve corresponded with others via email and snail mail. I count many as friends. I hope that’s not creepy.
The thing with this particular podcast is that I have become one of their running “jokes.” Every time they read off comments, there I am. “And where would we be without a comment from Sally,” they’ll say — and I cringe just a little while at the same time feeling happy. It’s weird.
In Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), Mr. Bennet said, ” For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
There’s also a scene in Jayber Crow (Wendell Berry) where he arrives at a get-together of some sort in Port WIlliam and the other men tease him about something. Jayber realized that the ribbing was a sign of acceptance.
At this point, some of you may be wondering what podcast I’m referring to.
And I’ll tell you.
In my next post.