Last night over dinner, Toby Joe asked me what character I thought he was most like from The Feast of Love. I thought about this for a second. My first answer didn’t seem right but it was the first one that came to mind. Diana’s character is rather cold. She feels love but doesn’t often admit it to herself. She’s a lawyer and on the few occasions she feels anything at all, she tries to figure out whom she’s going to sue. Diana is strong, too. But it’s almost like she finds feeling itself weak. Diana gave me the impression that should she admit to harboring such emotion, she’d unravel.
At first, her character is whom I picked for Toby. And I told him that. And he cringed. In the end, I actually settled on Diana’s lover, who, literally wakes up next to life one day.
But I’m not writing to talk about which fictional characters we either identified with or which characters we felt the other was most like. (Although, for those of you who’ve read it, the exercise is rather fun, I must admit.) I’m writing to talk about us, real people.
People come here and they get an idea of who we are, Toby Joe and myself. Through the comments we leave and the stories I tell, people have a general idea about who we are. For the most part, I know that people keep it in mind that although they’re given a window into our life, there is so much more I will never talk about. There is so much more I don’t talk about.
Some people have taken what they read here to an entirely different and dangerous level. It’s as if they firmly believe that they have us ABSOLUTELY figured out. I usually find them uncomfortable, like a bitter pill or sand in wet shoes. They are hard to ignore. How can anyone claim to have someone, whom they’ve never met, figured out? I barely know Tobyjoe and we’re intimate, we see each other every day.
Anyway, here we are, Toby Joe and me. I write a Web site and I keep it almost every day. I write about whatever comes to mind, sometimes employing filler (a lot of the time employing filler), as I don’t have something to say every day. Sometimes, I update because I’m tired of the old post staring me back in the face. I get tired of myself often. Which makes me grumpy. I tend to be pretty grumpy, actually. I’m also insecure, totally imperfect, and I doubt myself 75% of the time, the other 25% is spent trying to figure out how I can make what I feel I have done well even better. I don’t articulate my emotions well to those I know, as I barely understand them myself. I often mingle with sadness. I find comfort in it. But that’s just me. And while I may come off judgmental (at times, harshly so) of others, I’m equally as judgment of myself. Not that that makes it OK, but I’m trying to be honest.
Behind this Web site, there is me.
Toby Joe can come off as cold, just like Diana. Believe me, I have seen this side of him, this façade, before. He may speak harshly when speaking politics. He may offend you with his off-color comments about being over-weight, drinking too much, smoking anything at all, littering, whatever. And I realize that’s the risk we take when we put our words out there like this. And I realize that you can’t please everyone ALL of the time. Those who haven’t met Tobyjoe, haven’t experienced his compassion for others, his loyalty to those he loves and his ability to put everything he knows on hold, personally, to make sure those outside of himself are O.K. Behind that tough guy, lives the sweetest person I have ever known. Just ask him for help someday, you wouldn’t believe what he’ll give you.
Never in my life have I met someone so willing to help others with a problem. He’ll help with anything from PHP to Ruby on Rails, to teaching someone how to love themselves again. He’s always there to help. I’ve watched him come to the aide of literally dozens of geek-minded people with their Actionscript/PHP/Java needs, desperate to figure out why something isn’t working within a tight and stressful deadline. He just does it. He doesn’t ask for anything in return. He doesn’t even gloat. He’s just kind. That part? That part I can’t ever articulate or prove to anyone. Completely kind acts don’t reap fields of flowers. But, rest assured; had those acts been actual seeds, we’d all have a lot more flowers to look at.
Behind this Web site, there is him.
We’re good people, for the most part. And neither one of us are fictional characters. I know I have had my bad days. And I am told via email that I’ve offended people before. I know Tobyjoe has had his as well. Even we work on getting along better each and every day because life is way too short to be combative.
When I asked, “What character am I?�? Toby Joe said I was a cross between three characters: Bradley’s lesbian ex-wife (the first one), Bradley’s other ex, Diana, and Chloe.
“You’re grumpy and sweet, like the lesbian, and at the drop of a hat, too just like her. And you’re sporty and you’ll probably run off with a woman someday. You’re cold like Diana, and you’re flakey like Chloe.�”
“Wow. Not a very pretty picture of me, eh? If I were to die tomorrow, that’s how you’d remember me?”
“If you were to die tomorrow, I’d remember only the good things. And the good things are really, really good.�”
Sometimes, when we sum up the people around us using only words, they come off sounding like the most unlikely people to love.
There’s so much more behind each and every one of us, so much more.
If people take anything away from this Web site, anything at all, I’m hoping that they at least take that.
Nice to learn more about you both. Thank you.
BTW, this wasn’t directed at ANYONE who leaves comments here. I mean that. I should clarify that. I haven’t ever been offended by comments left here, political or not. (Well, at least not in the past year. Progress!) So please, don’t think this is a post directed to anyone at all who comments here. I mean that.
OK. that’s all. Clarification made. :]
I think it is quite easy to feel that you know all of what someone is about based on some very limited contact with them. Even with people that you see every day face to face. It is easy to make assumptions and to categorize people. I know that I am guilty of this. It is easy to forget that people have dimension and depth and a whole world that exists beyond what we see.
Thanks for the reminder.
People are so much more than their temperments, desires, habits, and experiences (although each of these dimensions-
and more-make up who a person is). It is impossible to “know” someone through a website, but it is possible to determine if a person is someone you’d like to meet, learn more about, and spend time with.
What I find so demoralizing about my professional life is that while I like working with my colleagues, I can only think of one or two that I suspect I’d want to have any sort of social life life with. Strike that. I can’t really think of any. And I love my job.
Similarly, of all the people whose blogs I read or whom I’ve become aware of in the online world, there are only a handful of people that I’d want to meet. That’s why it was so pleasant to actually meet you guys last year.
And while I know you didn’t write this entry to garner compliments, I’d say that, without really knowing either of you, I find you both to be thoughtful, intelligent, articulate, funny people. You each possess a quiet charisma that is charming and entertaining, and the “faults” you confess to (or exhibit) here are endearing.
It could be the cold meds I’m on and I have no real way to prove this, but you just made me cry here at work.
I love this website, because of the people behind it. Beautiful people. Beautiful site.
I love this site and I think you are both wonderful people. When I get to meet you in real life, it will be even better!!!