There are some things in life about which it wouldn’t be strictly accurate to say that they irritate me, however they do make me feel a little uneasy within myself. It’s actually quite difficult to describe how they really make me feel… perhaps a combination of embarrassment, guilt, obligation, frustration and reluctance – all mixed up in various measures, and very much dependant upon anybody else who may be involved.
Whilst thinking about it, i have to take care in choosing my words – if i were to categorise the phenomenon i’m thinking about as virtual ‘junk mail’, then you’d probably have a good idea about what i’m on about, although i’d feel distinctly uncomfortable about describing the particular sort of ‘junk’ that i’m thinking of, as such, particularly because of the reasons that it’s sent, because of the negative connotations that brings to mind.
It’s not the proper virtual junk, (although some may think so), that we’re all used to seeing from Mr Obabasoo Sulubombo, desperate for our help in freeing up his millions from locked Nigerian bank accounts; neither is it the offers of herbal supplements to increase our ‘girth’, (i’m quite capable of increasing my girth with cream cakes and roast beef crisps, thank you!) – i have no problem with consigning those to the trash without a second thought, or if i’m feeling particularly devious, i have even less of a problem setting up a fiendish e-mail loop that’ll ensure that Mr Sulubombo is drowning in offers to increase his girth from here until the end of time, (that’ll be sometime tomorrow, then!)… well, he can afford it! Nope, it’s the other stuff – and again, please don’t take offence at my wording – the things that we get, which despite being sent for all the right reasons and with the very best intent, really do feel like emotional blackmail!
Take the e-mail i received from my mum on Tuesday; subject line ‘I want this back!’… It was basically one of those stories about how somebody’s selfless good deed was rewarded later in life, in a way that couldn’t possibly have been imagined, and consequently, we should always take an opportunity to appreciate the people around us. In fairly typical fashion, the e-mail went on to instruct me to forward it to as many people as possible and to make absolutely sure that i returned a copy to the sender, in order to show them how much they are appreciated.
Well, i’m certainly not going to forward it to all my friends – after all, what few friends i have, i want to keep! The challenge here, is do i send a copy back to my mum?
If i do, then i perpetuate the nonsense, but in some twisted mechanical way, i’m also telling her that she’s important to me and she’s very much appreciated. If i don’t follow these instructions then i feel guilty – and what sort of a message does a non-response give to my mum? Then again, if i respond out of a sense of duty or obligation, doesn’t that muddy the waters even more? Damned if i do – damned if i don’t!
There’s no escaping these things in sl either. Every now and again, i’ll be the recipient of one of those notecards that reads something along the lines of:
“You’ve received this note because you are a special friend, and the person who sent it to you wants you to know that you appreciated and valued.
Please send this card on to all of your friends – we so often take each other for granted and do not take the time to tell our friends that they are special to us and make a difference in our lives.
And don’t forget to send one back to the person who sent this notecard to you, to let them know how much their friendship is also appreciated.”
With so much of the milk of human kindness flowing at Christmas, it’s inevitable that this sort of thing will crop up, but for me, it can be a little overwhelming. Just recently i arrived at a crowded venue and, before my surroundings had even rezzed, i was bombarded with a whole folder-full of notecards like this… i froze on the spot and pretty much had a mini-mental moment!
Please don’t misunderstand me – it’s a lovely gesture and i really am touched by the spirit in which it’s given and the genuine intentions behind it but, it really does send my mind into spasms of awkwardness. Yes, i really do think that all you guys are great and i really do appreciate you – that’s why i spend time with you, enjoy chatting and messing about when we’re together and support all the things that you do… and i know you feel the same way about me.
Do we really need to state what should be obvious, and ask for reassurance that the obvious is reciprocated?
Ugh… now i feel all horrible about even bringing the subject up. It was probably a bad idea. Maybe it’s my psychopathy kicking in? Maybe i should just grow up, enter into the spirit of things and just be grateful that people care, and maybe, just maybe, i could make a bit of an effort too?…
Why is SLife so complicated?
Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do
Alex Parks – Yellow