So, this is not the post I set out to write this week. I had planned an account of my torment at the hands of a schoolyard bully and how the old adage, 'stand up to a bully and he'll run away', isn't always the best advice, but that will have to wait for something has come up which I need to address. Something which has been playing on my mind for a couple of days.
Now it's entirely possible that there isn't a problem and I'm just being paranoid. This has certainly been known to happen in my long and torturous history of 'trying to interact with other people like a normal human' but if it is all in my head, then all that's going to happen is I'm making a fool of myself, which is kind of what this blog is all about. If I'm not paranoid though, and there really is a problem, then I hope that this post will go some way to putting it right.
I spend a lot of time on Twitter; a time sucking indulgence which has become akin to an addiction for me, and I don't use the word lightly. You see I joined twitter, as I do so many internet do-hickeys, with the intention of extracting the michael out of all the saddos but unlike the various forums I've joined and never posted on, or the MySpace and later, facebook pages I set up, I have stuck with Twitter and now wouldn't be without it. Why? The people.
In a course of events that I didn't foresee and would never have thought possible, I began to engage. It took me a while but I began to consider these 'tweeters', these people I've never actually met and possibly (probably) never will, as friends. Is that 'sad'? Is that 'abnormal'? If it is, I don't care.
My whole life I've struggled with the social niceties, with the societal pressure to 'do this', 'think this', 'feel this'. I've had few friends, I've become estranged from the bulk of my family, I consider those I work for and with as nothing more than interchangeable/replaceable colleagues. When people are particularly happy or miserable; when babies are born or engagements announced; when people are ill or die, I feel nothing. I put on a show of camaraderie in the good times and feign empathy in the bad but it's seldom genuine and if it is, it's fleeting. I had begun to think myself broken. Until Twitter. I don't know how they did it but they brought me out of my shell, they made me laugh genuine laughter, engage in genuine banter that I wasn't forcing to fit in, care about what they were doing in their lives and want to share what I was doing in mine. So yes, I think of them as friends.
And, as I'm told is common in real life, by the tellybods and the bookwriter people, some are better friends than others; some are more important to me than others.(You can see their names over to the right there). I care, not just about their opinion of me, but about them in general. How they feel, whether they're happy. So when I think that I could have done something, however unintentional, to make one of these people unhappy, it pains me. It pains me a great deal and I want to put it right.
ON SATURDAY I posted a comment on twitter about Person A. It was a joke; a comment posted in response to something Person A had posted earlier that day, which had in turn been posted in response to something I had said the previous night. You know, like a conversation, but with reaallly long timedelay. Shortly after I posted this comment, someone we shall call Person B seemed to get very upset. They posted some things that, while not addressed to me personally, could have been written in direct response to my post. The timing and their content certainly indicated that they were. I pretended not to notice. I hoped very strongly that what I thought had happened, had not happened. I'm now convinced that it had.
You see, taken in context, I like to think that my comment was mildly amusing. Taken out of context (and let's face it, what's the likelihood that anyone would have just happened to see the previous 2 messages in the sea of thousands over the 24 hour+ hours that the conversation took?), the comment took on a whole other meaning. And it was a meaning that Person B would have had every right to get upset about.
I hold my hands up here. It was a stupid thing to do, especially since I knew that Person B was online at the time. I just didn't think; I had an idea for a funny thing to do and I did it, without a thought for how Person B would take it. I apologise; all I can do is apologise, but I want that person to understand something.
It was never my intention to hurt your feelings or upset you. I was an idiot and I've felt like shit about it since it happened. I hope you understand that you are genuinely one of my favourite people to talk to online and a big part of what makes Twitter so positive an influence in my life. The thought that I played any part in making you unhappy kills me. I hope you understand, it was a joke.
As I say, it's possible that I'm overreacting; that the whole thing was in my head, I'm the only one worrying and the above post is just a big load of 'Paul Being An Idiot'. If that's the case, nothing would make me happier and you should all feel free to mock me mercilessly. But if not, then I hope that Person B understands how sorry I am.
And also, I suppose, that all of Twitter doesn't now disown me for being the freakazoid needy loser that I have just ousted myself as. Slipped up there.