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HANDS ACROSS THE OCEAN
I'm not here today. I'm blogging on the other side of the pond. :)

Edited: Guest Blogger #3
I suspect Liz at Lizardek's Obiter Dictum is a lot like the rest of us. That is, she probably has moments when she's bored, lonely, depressed, dehydrated, goofy, grumpy, sneezy or sad. The difference with Liz, though, at least the way I see it, is that unlike some bloggers I can think of (ahem) her angst stays out of the picture, and what we get is a nice daily dose of sunshine.

Liz is a transplanted Yank who now lives in Flyinge, Sweden with her husband and two awfully cute kids who say funny things, even with the translation. You could do a lot worse than checking Liz every day. We all need a little sun.


HANDS ACROSS THE OCEAN
By Elizabeth Slaughter-Ek

He made me promise NO QUIZZES when he asked me to guest blog, spoiling my nefarious plans. But, a friend doesn't meme all over someone else's blog. So no meme, Chuck, just youyou.

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There's this man across the ocean who gets me. I get him, too. I wonder sometimes what my husband would think if he knew how often I think about this man and wonder how his day is going. I wonder what his wife thinks. When you consider how many people nowadays meet their soulmates online, you realize that there is definitely reason to wonder. But I don't worry about either of them. Because I suspect that my husband would like this man, and his family, as much as I do.

One of the nicest things about this man across the ocean is how much he loves the people he loves. I've never talked to his wife, and he's very good about respecting her privacy, but I know she's a lucky, loved, and loving woman. I've never talked to his daughter either but I envy her relationship with her dad.

I dithered for days about what to write in this guest blogging spot, and suspect that he will be cringing with embarrassment over the fact that I chose this instead of some ramble about life in Sweden, but really, what better way to pay tribute to someone who is genuinely FINE than by hijacking their blog for a day and shouting out to the world about someone who is a good friend, a good neighbor, a good writer, and a good man?

I started reading his writing because he intrigued me with his comments over at Real Live Preacher. I was just a blogging dilettante back then, in awe of these people with their writing lives and their published books. I was just beginning to realize what I was getting into, but I didn't understand that I was opening a can of worms and finding a nest of friends instead.

It's pretty easy to be friends with someone online, you might think. He never borrows power tools and "forgets" to give them back. He never blows me off for lunch. I never worry about whether the house is a mess when they stop by. Writing an online journal has given me friends in places I never knew I needed them.

The friends I left behind when I moved across the ocean fell away, and not through my own lack of trying. Friendships are fragile creatures, easily bruised, easily dropped and left lying, to blow away with the next breeze. Even for a letter-writer, an e-mail addict such as me, when you write to friends you once saw daily, and they never write back or when they do, never connect, never leave an impression of themselves and their lives in their letters, it's too difficult to stand there with your hand out and no one clasping it on the other side. I slowly stopped writing, stopped trying. I began to put them out of my mind. Distance x time x busy lives is a powerful equation that beats the stuffing out of even the most resilient friendships.

Maybe, I think, if I actually met some of these people that I'm friends with online, I would find that they are not nearly as interesting as they come across. Heck, I don't think I'm nearly as interesting as I come across. But I'm willing to bet that Chuck lives up to the impressions he gives (ha! impressions! get it, Chuck?)

I find now that the friendships I have formed with people BECAUSE of their writing, that are based almost SOLELY on their writing, that comes directly out of their heads via words and into mine, is somehow stronger. I've never met this man across the ocean, and maybe I never will. But I know that when I put out my hand, he's grabbing on and shaking it. He's holding on to his end of the friendship.
 accomplished
mood: accomplished
music: Alan Parsons Project—Eye in the Sky


Comments

How about that!

I must yell, so you'll hear me 'way over there:

HOW ABOUT THAT!

A nice job, too.

A NICE JOB, TOO!

WELL DONE!

thankee kindly, ma'am. :)

That was nifty, Liz. You little Miss Sunshine, you! :)

rawr! RAWR! *bite bite*

Cool! Can we say we knew you when?

LOL! I'm hardly anywhere near that sort of level :)


A green tiger? Perhaps feeling a bit queasy?

Your blog by invitation was quite interesting.

thanks :)

That Liz, you never know where she is going next.

I'm going to HOLLAND next! :D

You're so honest about the way offline friendships fade. It's happening to me as I continue living as an expat (7 years this August) and I'm still not ready to admit it yet. *sniff*

It's sad, is what it is. I feel much more connected these days to people I have never met, and don't know REALLY, than many I know in "real life" or old friends. Not all of them, mind you, but for the majority, it seems some sort of frequent real-life connection is necessary, otherwise it's "out of sight out of mind."

I only have a handful of close offline friends. I know we think about each other often but have little chance to catch up. It's been years since I've seen some of them and it will probably be years until we do. The kind of friendship we enjoyed when we were in the same city is a thing of the past. I miss it but at the same time know that it's just a part of getting older and having our own families to think about.

yup, you're right. Some of those friendships would have changed drastically anyway, with people moving jobs, or moving from the city (I was in Chicago for 10 years) or having kids or whatever. It just seems more final somehow because I'm so far away.

Woot! She's hit the big time! (Do we get to say "we knew you when"? *g*)

And with an excellent post -- a job well done. ;-)

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