In these lovely years affectionately referred to as “middle age” I have made hundreds of friends and am fortunate enough to be connected in some small way to various sensational people. I’ve never done the math, but I’m pretty sure I’m only two or three degrees removed from Kevin Bacon.
Social media has not just brought everyman closer together, but it has also brought celebrities closer to their fanbase. I love reading a book on my tablet, and getting a notification that the author of that book has played their turn in Words With Friends. I am tickled pink that I actually have a category I call “NASA Peeps” even though I have met very few of them in person.
There is one author in particular (who will remain nameless to protect the allegedly innocent) whose novels I adored when I was growing up. We’re connected on facebook, and he comments on my stuff now and then. Even after a couple of years, I still get that fangirl-fluster when I see that he is communicating with me, even though it’s just a punchline or insight.
Tonight he put up a status that included some SciFi psychobabble and I commented “I’m glad I’m not the one who has to proofread that.” His response was that I understood his point, and we exchanged a few more comments.
To him, it was a casual convo, but of course I was barely containing my fangirl flutters. I was afraid I’d put my foot in my mouth, just as I surely would do if I ever get to meet him in person.
Then he made an analogy with Theory XYZ. I was confused…Theory XYZ sounded familiar, but I didn’t know what it was. So I googled it. But I still didn’t see how the analogy fit…
That’s the point where I should have said “I don’t see how that fits?”
But no. This is a man I idolize and adore. I was sure he was making some incredibly insightful point, and I was just too naive to understand. I didn’t want to lie and say “Oh, yes! LOL!” so I took the safe route and said “You mean (insert summary of Theory XYZ)?”
Then someone else joined the convo, and the thread was lost. I didn’t think much of it.
A short time later he posted “Sorry, some comments ended up on the wrong status, so I deleted them.” I looked at his other recent status and realized that Theory XYZ was a perfect example of what was being discussed there! All comments regarding Theory XYZ on the SciFi Psychobabble status had been deleted.
I was thrilled when I thought we were on the same wavelength, and the bubble burst when I thought I just wasn’t getting something. It turns out we were on the same wavelength all along, but I’d been too reluctant to speak up and point out that something didn’t fit. I’m not talking about correcting someone’s mistake, I’m talking about saying “Huh? I don’t understand your point…”
In real life, I’m usually pretty good about this. I might nod and smile when my five-year-old tells me the details of her video game even though I don’t understand half of it, and if I’m just briefly exchanging a few words with someone as we sail by each other, I might not bother to exactly interpret that last garbled word. However I generally do make a point of speaking up when I need clarification. Just ask my teenager. I do it with her all the time.
I’ve been guilty of rolling my eyes when I see someone else fawning over a celebrity. I tell myself “I’d never do that” but it turns out I would. Shamefully, I must hand in my official cajone card that declares I’ve got a pair. Maybe I do have them in my possession, but I certainly am not using them correctly.
Time to put it behind me. I think I’ll look through my list of connections and see if any of them have ever done a film with Kevin Bacon…