Virtual vrs Reality

One of the definitions I have found for the word Virtual is

Existing in the mind, especially as a product of the imagination.

Recently I have found myself living and interacting with people in the virtual world far more than those in the real world.

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 in Skyfall with the Aston Martin DB5
Image from http://www.greencarreports.com

What brought this to mind, was I was watching Skyfall, and near the end the film James Bond and M are driving up to Scotland in the truly beautiful Aston Martin DB5, previously driven by my second favourite bond Sean Connery, my favourite being the Daniel Craig, though I digress.

As I was watching the car drive through a glen, on a winding road, with mist hugging the hills, a thought came to mind; I wish I could drive on this road with my friend. He would get a kick out of it. Perhaps even on his bike. That would be awesome.

Then the sensible head kicked in. He is a virtual friend, and although we have talked every day for almost two years the idea that we would ever be able to do that is just insanity. To be honest the idea we will ever be in the same place at the same time is wishful thinking too. We almost did, but it never materialised.

One of my virtual friends says I am imaginary, and that until we meet in person, even though we converse daily, I will stay as such. That amuses me, as my virtual friends are as important and real to me as the ones I can see for real. In fact, this year I have endeavoured to meet more of my twitter chums in the flesh, and to date I have met ten, though most I have just met once, some are far away, I hope to meet them again, but alas I fear for some, that may not happen.

The problem is that I get too attached to people. The world of the virtual is very real to me. All relationships, are real and special. Then life changes, routines change, work patterns change, correspondence changes, lives move on.

This could be attributed to the fact that new friendships are always exciting. There are lots of new things to find out about people, they haven’t heard your stories, they are yet to learn your bad habits and experience your bad moods.

I have a theory; if a friend is in your life for six months and is still there for you, they are likely to be there for the long haul.

Though just like relationships of the heart, friendships change. The exciting stage, when you are finding out about each other, morphs into normality, and whilst I like this stage of comfortableness, many people move on to the next exciting stage, as a new person and their newness brings an element of excitement to the mundane of life.

I am starting to wonder if I invest too much in the virtual. Are these friends just shadows? I realised today that I haven’t seen some of my real friends in months. My best girlfriend is pregnant, and it’s been weeks since I have seen her, I miss her dreadfully, and we have only exchanged a few texts. My best mate from Uni lives far away, but I haven’t picked up the phone to catch up with her for months either. I am useless! It doesn’t mean that I don’t think about them, or love them any less, just that they don’t immerse themselves in the virtual world so we don’t bump into each other so much.

Many don’t get that you can connect with people on-line. It has been said to me that me that everyone lies on-line, and whilst a few people have lied to me, I have found most people to be honest. Also the lies I have been told have mostly been told to protect themselves, a mask created before they can trust fully.

Perhaps the anonymity element of the correspondence creates a space that you can feel more free. A space that you can share in a different way, a community that you can walk into and find support and comradery. Some of the people I have met are far more shy in person than they are on-line. This space, in the virtual, perhaps allows them to battle their shyness. I however, have been told I am just the same in person, freakishly so.

The thing is, I can’t be bothered to pretend. If you don’t like me, that’s cool, but I will just be me, and you can decide if that’s something you want to interact with or not.

All of this aside, I am wondering if I should spend more time in my real life, focus on people I can see; sit across a table from; share words over a cup of coffee. Extricate from the virtual, focus on what is on my doorstep.

Perhaps my house will be cleaner. My laundry will be folded and sorted rather than pile up. Hoovering will occur on a more frequent basis. Though perhaps my life will be less vivid, be less full of passion and laughter, though perhaps the laughter needs to be heard in person, rather than just typed between *’s?

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