Seriously. I am so not good at them.
The WotF blog has posted a second list of Honorable Mentions for the 4th quarter contest. I am also not on that list. According to the lovely blog-keeper, there will be another list of Honorables out in the next few days, followed by a list of semi-finalists and finalists. I have spent the morning doggedly attempting not to waste time on over-analyzing information which, at this point, gives me no clues whatsoever as to which list (or neither) "Pale Roses" may land upon. Exercise in futility, Lori. Move on.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, there was a conversation about the teens in the family and how they're on voice chat on the Xbox so much. One of my sisters-in-law made a remark in reply to one of the grownups who had not tried voice chat: "Well, why would an ADULT need to know how to do that?" The judgmental tone of this is why I spend most of my time with my in-laws with a polite smile plastered on my face and saying as little as possible, even though what I really want to do is scream "I would trade ONE of my online friends for the entire bunch of you in a heartbeat!" and flee back to my computer.
Not that my in-laws are horrible people, by any means. But there's something so comforting about talking to people who GET you, to whom you don't need to explain yourself or your interests or make sheepish excuses for liking what you like. There is a common theme among my anti-online/gaming acquaintances that the internet is a dangerous place. Yes, you do need to use a little common sense and caution. But I have also had neighbors whose houses I forbid my children to ever set foot in, because they gave me the creeps. I've met the parents of my children's friends, most of whom are pretty cool people but some of whom I would never invite into my home. My husband was threatened by an employee and had to have a restraining order put on him, and they added our house to the alert list for the local police patrol.
These were not online-related incidents. "Real" people can be dangerous, too. Moreso, I'd go so far to say, since none of the potential online creeps I've run across had access to my real name or my address or my kids. So, y'know... There may be a line between people who are OK and people who are not, but that line is not defined by the internet.
The boys get out of school early today. We will be traveling to Indy to visit the Children's Museum, where we will spend the afternoon with two friends I've know for... a couple of years, now? I talk to one of them almost every day. We share tastes in books, talk about writing, hang out and play video games with each other and often with my boys, as well. He is one of my highly valued first readers, offering that rare but treasured combination of sincere enthusiasm for my stories mingled with intelligent feedback and questions that help me make them better. The two of them got engaged a few months ago, and I spent most of that day grinning because I love how perfect they are together.
Today will be the first time I meet them. If I'd let some generalization rule my life, about how the internet is a line you should never cross, I would never even have known them. I wouldn't know most of my current friends (online or otherwise), as a matter of fact.
That's a line I will never regret crossing.