An Illusion of Involvement
Back in the Good Old Days™* of the early 2000s I was part of an online community known hereafter as the OceanCrew.
As has already been written before now, it was a great group of people (hell, still is). And the best thing about it (well apart from the endless quotes of course) was that we all cared about each other. (Hell, still do).
Whenever we logged onto that community (as I did pretty much every day); there was always a familiar username, a friendly avatar, on the forum and in the chat - and when we asked each other ‘how’s your day been?’, it was because we genuinely cared (hell, we still do).
*GOD may appear greater than they are
Why bring this up?
Well, for me I think that sense of belonging I had with the OceanCrew is akin to what I felt much more recently in the last few years with two relationships in particular.
You will notice I said ‘had’ there - not because I don’t consider myself close to the OceanCrew as I once was - but because the reality of having to grow up and develop a life of my own [OMG TEH TRAGEDY ;_;], and with everyone else in that social group also rightly forging ahead with their growing up; that social closeness hasn’t existed for a while now.
Oh don’t get me wrong at all - when we do catch up now and then; things are grand - happy times, and such - but it is all done with acknowledgement that we don’t live in the same street; we don’t socialise online all the time; we don’t all hold those same central hobbies and interests that we Once did, musically speaking.
As I say, in the last two years I have had two significant relationships - one friendship, one romantic relationship - and what was one of the most wonderful things about that was that I felt truly involved with another person - there again was someone who cared for my well-being as equally as I cared about theirs.
Again, not to get myself wrong here - that is not to say there was a gulf of care/involvement in-between the two time-frames I’m talking about here - my friends have been spectacularly, well, friendly throughout (even when I did my best to make them all worry by falling under a truck) - but in the absence of these two relationships, since the past year or two - I now find myself (once again?) reliant on internet-based society, as I am - seemingly - incapable of forging my own personal relationships.
At work there is an illusion of involvement - yes we are all working as a team to Indirectly Procure everything a company undergoing a potential takeover might well need - but the social interaction there is polite and only so deep; with no real identifying characters that I might want to develop more than a working relationship with.
At badminton, there is a regular weekly interaction with a group of lovely people - but that is largely the extent of it; save for an ad-hoc social gathering and occasional poker night.
At my am-dram group, I am very focused on the Autumn production, and whilst we have met each other for social meals a few times over summer; come September, my production blinkers will be on - determined to make this a fine show, for - hopefully - a fine audience.
Which makes me all sound pathetic really. I mean, why don’t I engage further with people, and get more out of life?
It definitely feels like a step down, from having two great people regularly in my life - to apparently whining like someone who shouldn’t really have something to whine about, and generally shutting out the outside and waiting to play some Rocket League, and then meander through the week ahead.
And I used to be able to cope with this - the illusion of being involved in something was something I could readily believe in, and assure myself ‘this is perfectly normal; this is fine’. And then I have come to realise and to experience that when people come into your life so significantly, take you to new places in your mind and beyond; that when those people step away (in one case through a fault of my own) - then you start to learn what you had.
Feeling somewhat powerless is new to me I think - I always had an arrogance that having ‘figured out the fundamentals of existence’, I could take on the world with a wry smile, knowing that it wasn’t exactly real, or that nothing mattered.
Even now, I cringe at my self-espousing nonsense that once was a shield against the world, along with my humour - and start to fear that I no longer have the ability to take on what the world might offer.
I shall expect I will hunker down in my am-dram stuff to distract myself from things. And try and ignore the question of whether I will ever reach the dizzying heights of emotion again.
Or if I’ll just disappear up my own sense-of-irony.
Are you watching closely?