Thanks to social media in general, and Instagram “stories” in in particular, I have this weird sense of connectedness to lots of people from the myriad and at times bipolar lives I’ve lived.
In some cases, we are people who meant a lot to each other. In other cases, we only briefly met. And, while it gives me pause if I think about it too hard, in most cases, we will most likely never meet again. Yet we’re now somehow aware of the mundane goings-on of each other’s lives. I worry about what they think about me—and wonder if they worry about what I think about them.
Old coworkers. Old drinking buddies. Nearly all my [many] unrequited loves. Nearly all my old bosses. Some people that I knew when I was a very different person than I am today, and other people I hung out with only when I was trying to be someone other than who I was at the time.
Some of them are people who I wanted very badly to impress back when I knew them in person. And I get excited now when they react to something I’ve posted, in spite of the fact that, beyond some ephemeral intellectual connection that we may have, it’s really meaningless. They have their lives in their countries and I have mine.
At the same time, though, it is something. We were, however fleetingly, a part of one another’s lives, just as we’re now, in however absurd a way, connected and aware of each other. Sometimes this makes me happy. At other times, it fills me with a deep existential angst.
On the bright side, life, for all of its complete lack of promises, is never short on surprises. And while it may be I will never see many of these people again, it’s possible that I will, and that it will mean something more because of our voyeuristic awareness of each other in the intervening years.
Or maybe it’ll just be really weird. It’s impossible to say.