We all know that personal blogs conjure a deceptive sense of intimacy with their writers. And yet, when a rock-star blogging couple in Utah splits up, readers go bananas because they feel betrayed. And they forget that even the blogs who come across with the rawest emotion aren't telling us everything.
I was thinking of this as I was running around the track at my gym. Have I mentioned I'm training for a 5K? I may not have, because training to run three miles sounds lame, considering how many of my online friends can run a marathon and get all their shopping done before breakfast.
The only difference in my running routine is I've left the treadmill, which I love, for the running track, which sucks. The treadmill is cushioned, and parked in front of a TV, and I can watch all the machine's numbers advance and extrapolate data in my head to pass the time. Making actual progress on a horizontal surface is dull, and polluted with other people, and makes my knees pulse like a beating heart.
I was jogging on the outer ring of the track when I came across an older couple, presumably on their constitutional stroll. He was laboring a bit, perhaps recovering from a recent injury, and she was shuffling along beside him, holding his hand. As I neared them from behind, I saw them gesturing with their free hands, and they often turned to each other and smiled.
And I thought, that's the goal, isn't it? To find a companion you can grow old(er) with, who still engages you in conversation long after most couples have run out of things to say. Who'll support your weight when you're limping, and will accept your help when she needs it. Good for you, Older Walking Couple. I'm enamored of you. You're delightful.
When I caught up to them, I heard the woman say, "I don't get why she's still with that cocksucker."
Then the man launched a really loud belch that bounced around the basketball court below.
When we read blogs, we like to delude ourselves that we're really getting to know their writers. And we are, to the extent the writers are letting us. But no matter how perfect you think something is from far away, it's only when you get really close up that you smell the burpwaft.