They were sitting down on a bench talking. I had just taken my son to his tennis lesson, and my other two kids were playing in the playground. My Mandarin is weak–if that is what they were speaking–it could have been Cantonese but I was fairly certain they were originally from a part of China. They were probably in their 60’s and were so excited to see each other. I got the impression that they regulary met in the park. While I was watching my kids, another lady joined the other three. It seemed like she wished them a Happy Chinese New Year–obviously I am assuming a bit, but it was right after the New Year’s celebrations, and they were definitely repeating a phrase. I found myself wanting to join them and listen to their stories–although I wouldn’t have understood them. They were taking a break from the business of life to spend some time with their friends–they had community.
Cooper made a comment on my last post that made me think about this blog world:
“Anyway, our non-neighborhoodness seems to make the isolation of raising kids harder if we live in our own little worlds and not reaching out to each other. I remember when my girls were babies, I would have done about just anything for a real, live friend. Perhaps that’s why we are all online, connecting like we do.”
I bold-ed the last sentence because that is what I want to touch on right now. I think we are using this blogosphere to build community that we lack today. As I read different blogs I see there are connections being made. Some blogs seem to connect on hate which puzzles me, others are connecting with humor–which I always understand, many connecting over child-raising issues, breastfeeding, religion, politics.
Are the blogs taking the place of the clubs of yesteryear or chats in the park? I know clubs still exist but not like in years past. Do you remember in Happy Days (my TV examples are so moving, aren’t they?) Mr. Cunningham always going off to his “Leopard” lodge, and I think the Cleavers played bridge in Leave it To Beaver, and do any of us get together like the Mertz and Ricardos in I Love Lucy (maybe not a good example)?
My, point, and I do have one occasionally, is that I believe the blog communities are taking the place of our former connectedness. But, does that really take the place of face-to-face contact? It still wouldn’t have helped Vincenzo though, perhaps, if he met with his friends regularly in the park, someone would have missed him.