It’s a pj’s kinda day

we’ve been way too social over the last week or so. It’s been wonderful, and I’m glad we did, but I needed to take a day off. Normally on Sunday morning we go down to Krain, WA (just north of Enumclaw) and have breakfast at the Krain Cafe. Damned good food and amazing people.

Today, we came home and changed back into pajamas and are having something of a goof off day. I just made myself a redneck mocha (areopress coffee and hot cocoa mix, with coconut milk). Just hit send on the latest BW newsletter. (the serious one as opposed to the redneck chef one). Writing a blog because I can. And want to.

Got to thinking about circles over the last few days. There are a lot of people I know (my wife the Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) knows everyone). But I don’t encounter all that many people IRL. Don’t have a job anymore, except to write, so that and gaming group folks are about it, except when we do special events.

But there are a lot of lives I sort of follow on social media, and then it gets weird when I run into them in the flesh, as it were. I know way more about them in cyberspace than I do meatspace, so I have a moment of hesitation engaging.

Last night, at a friend’s birthday/Xmas party, I got hugs. I used to hug, but in the modern age, I’ll hug men and stay reserved around most women. They get it initiate.

I think they appreciate my not assuming a hug, but it got me to thinking last night about all my circles.

These are not Venn diagram circles, but the layers each of us has around themselves at how they interact with people. Closest friends and family who get the whole story. Folks who get the reader’s digest condensed. The elevator pitch edition. The none-of-your-damned-business people. The strangers.

I’m an introvert. An extremely gregarious one, but last night I didn’t feel like engaging in direct conversations, because of all the people at the party, I knew two that I would just talk to. A dozen more I have talked to and who know my name. Two dozen faces I more or less know, but might only see at this particular party. Maybe don’t even know their name (except I usually remember names) or they don’t know mine. Maybe only ever shared a dozen worlds in the last few years.

Internet friends, but not IRL friends you go have a beer with.

I have internet friends who rant and unleash their anger, but I have had to learn to just shut up and listen, and hope I can gain context from the words. Angry black men (with damned good reason, mind you) but if I ask what’s going on, I risk becoming a target. (Again, mind you. Been there, done that, got the scars from what I had thought was an innocent question. Ignorant certainly.)

It isn’t their job to educate me, but sometimes I get lost because I’m not part of their inner circles, same as they aren’t mine. Maybe never met in the flesh, because they live in North Carolina or Georgia, most of the country away from me in Seattle.

So I listen, and contemplate circles.

You ever do that?

Stop and try to figure out if you know someone on the interwebs well enough to ask a harder question than the weather, unsure if you’re about to be virtually bleeding as a result?

These folks don’t know me, except from what I’ve posted and the sides I’ve taken in the past, if they saw them. I can be an ally. Am I a friend?

Hard to know. Strangers come up to me at the party for a hug, and she commented that she felt like she knew me so well, because we interact on the social medias, but this was the first time we’d actually met in the flesh to say hi.

I’ll take her word for it that we kinda waved at each other last year at the same party, but I didn’t know who she was, except a face in that crowd. Got my hug. Had a brief conversation about her kids, because she had just bought a sweater for her oldest that was similar to the one I was wearing.

Small talk. The kind of thing you share with a relative stranger, rather than someone you tell dirty jokes to. Don’t know her well enough to make the sort of sarcastic jokes I might with the gamers who know I was raised by pirates and sailors. Partly, it’s the modern age, and I’m okay with that. I have other women I do make those jokes with, because they’re just as salty.

But it’s the holidays, and I only maybe see these people in the flesh at someone’s holiday party.

Kinda sad. Kinda strange. Kinda interesting, in a philosophical way. (And I’m a trained philosopher, so kids don’t try these stunts at home.) Not really sure where it takes us, other than the need to unplug and talk to those people in real life.

I frequently try to get people to meet for coffee or a beer. I’m happily married, so not even remotely a threat, but people are shy. Easier to talk with all the cyberverse between you, because on the internet, everybody is one state over.

How do y’all handle that sort of question with circles?