Wednesday, July 17, 2013

For the Love of the Cave

I get why my husband and his friend call me Kramer & Lucy (as in "I Love") and say I always have a "Wack Pack". I do go out of my way to do things a little different and that includes how I make friends, how I find friends, and how I manage these friendships.

I was on message boards before people even knew what message boards were. I've probably discussed this, at least somewhat, because my message board friendships that developed have always been important to me. I'm still friends with some people I "met" on the first board I was on in like 1995 or 1996. They helped me get through a gut wrenching break up and they were there for me, all over the country, at any time- day or night. That's where my love affair with internet friends began but certainly didn't end.

I found a group on another site, in 2005. People came and left, left and came back. We merged boards, moved around a site like nomads looking for a home. A core group of us who can't seem to quit internet friends became close enough to move off the site to another internet place and now that's where we've stuck. We pretty much talk all day, every day. Some days the group moves faster than others, sometimes it's a crazy drama-filled debate/discussion/love/call out fest. Some days I don't have time to really contribute & I just catch up late night. But being that everyone is from all over the USA and Canada there is almost always someone around to chat with.

A lot of them are closer to each other than I am with any of them. They can get together at other times of the year. Quite a few of them coincidentally live in a little cluster that makes it easier to see each other more often. Some are divorced, dating, married, remarried, engaged, working, not working, which also can help or hinder getting together. Some get to meet up because they travel for work and some just have a better financial position. Some just have more in common, have dealt with difficult life situations at the same time, or just found an Internet soulmate-friend.

It's my own fault for sort of being "at arms length" most of the time, but that's my general modus operandi. I do that with people "in real life" too. That's why I'm always on the periphery of any clique I might hang out in- I'm always the "here and there"- never the constant. Yet- I'd say the people in my Internet group know me better or just plain more about my daily life, minutiae, etc than anyone. I AM always "there"- I don't talk to anyone as much as I talk to them. I just don't tend to take it off-line. I can't make it to more than one get-together a year really, I don't talk on the phone, and I don't know what g-chat is, how to use it, or why I would even need it. I also can be an acquired taste. Sometimes, in real life and on-line I just say whatever I'm thinking and sometimes it can be misconstrued or just be a head-scratcher. I don't even need alcohol to say something odd, strongly opinionated, oversharing, or just out of left field. But I love this group-  I love being a part of it, and I just stay in there, hope I'm not annoying to anyone, and try to add something to the community- in whatever form that happens to be.

So they obviously know what has been going on with my friend Jocelyn and her shitty cancer. We post a lot of random things and last Friday someone asked about everyone's weekend plans. I mentioned that I had Joce's benefit that night. Our lone guy in the group asked how much the tickets were and asked for my PayPal info. I was a little confused because none of these friends live here so I didn't get why he would buy a ticket. I gave the info and almost immediately, he and someone else sent money. I was surprised, not because I don't think they are the kind of people who would donate to a "good cause" but they don't know Jocelyn, it's not like they're all independently wealthy, and honestly- there are a lot of good causes out there to give donations. I was really moved. But, I was at work, it was busy, and I couldn't keep checking into the group or anything else online. I didn't have time to think about it.

WELL. People left, I went back to my computer, refreshed, and every time I did, there was more money. It was like a telethon without me being on tv, and no kids or Jerry Lewis. I was yelling out numbers in my store, to B, like a lunatic. He was just like WTF, what is going on, and you're making more money today than the store. I was giddy. It just kept coming. I couldn't even give it to her at the benefit because I exceeded the amount of money I could transfer to my bank from PayPal and I had to wait until it cleared in the bank because I couldn't cover it myself. I was able to get the limit lifted, and money just kept coming in all weekend. By Sunday or Monday- I don't remember, with a small amount of money given to me at the benefit from selling roses plus around twenty-five of my Internet friends donating different increments, I was able to write Joce a check for over a thousand dollars.

I spent all day at work on Monday making a card with all my friends faces in it so Joce could actually see all the people rooting for her all over the country- AND Canada. I couldn't wait to give it to her & I couldn't sit on this secret any longer. I went there midday on Tuesday and awkwardly handed it over. She seemed overwhelmed as I told her the whole story, how it came about and just snowballed. She just quietly asked- How do I thank all these people?

Hopefully the best thanks of all would be to somehow harness all the positive energy everyone is sending and get better. Other than that- we don't know what the future will hold. Everything is just one day at a time. If nothing else, the money is just something that can make one thing a little bit easier, maybe take one bill or worry off the table. And that's all anyone wants. Cancer sucks and everyone feels powerless. Helpless to do anything. We say the wrong things, feel we don't do enough, so on and so forth. But if the kindness of friends and strangers can inspire a little more fight, a little more help, and/or a little more hope, then it's all good.

I would just like to thank my friends, again, for their selfless donations and you've given me renewed faith in humanity.

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