Encounters of the Misty Kind

It has to be apparent I love technology and have a special fondness for the Web. But it’s not just because it feeds this info junkie’s habit, it’s also for the people I’ve met. From the first time I participated in a bulletin board using 80 byte files that were appended and all in lovely monochrome display, I’ve been hooked on communicating with people who had a shared interest and wanted to talk about it, to offer some knowledge or glean some knowledge from others. For those who have never participated in something like that, they usually don’t get it. They usually don’t understand that it’s possible to form relationships where you are edified by others whom you never see or hear. I do hate that I can’t hear your voices, and that’s the chief reason I wanted to do voice as my subject for last year’s FanstRAvaganza. I’m deeply affected by what I hear. Much more than by what I see.

But even if I have never heard your voice, I am affected by what many of you have typed into your keyboards, and I’ve come to know some of you and know you’re real people with real lives which have highs and lows. I never forget that when I’m online. So when one of you goes away and there’s no clue as to where you went, it leaves a hole where you used to be. I’m never quite sure what to do with that. Part of me thinks I should adopt society’s demeanor and throw you away and move on, but I’ll never be able to do that, because I don’t want to do that.

Years ago I participated in a forum and one of the members who became an online buddy was a gentleman named Fred. He was a delight and had such wisdom. Everyone on that site loved him, and then one day Fred stopped talking, and for months we wondered what happened. Only one of the forum members had ever talked to Fred offline, and he offered to find out what he could. It was a long time before that member got a response and came back to tell us that Fred had died and his family sent us a message. I’m so glad they did that, and whether Fred really died or not (I’ll never know the truth of that), he was dead to us, and we could mourn him and not just throw him away in our minds.

That incident had such an effect on me that I’ve left instructions with my will that in the event anything happens to me, SO is to get online and say goodbye. When I told him about that, I thought he would laugh, but to his credit, he understands relationships whether online or not and knows how very important it is to gain closure. I’ve now worked with countless people who have experienced death of a loved one, and closure is imperative. If someone can’t say goodbye, they’re never over it. In the case of being online, I think it’s as important for the one leaving cyber space to say goodbye as it is for those left behind. So I hope our friend will at least give herself a chance to say it’s been fun, but I’ve got to go, and take care.

More thoughts on this later and in regard to Richard Armitage and his relationship with fans in cyber space and beyond. For now a close up of a fan’s encounter with RA:

[click to enlarge]

Spooks behind the scenes candid shot courtesy of KuchingGirl


  1. If you never hear from me again, “the beat goes on”

  2. Well, my recent experience of unexpectedly being offline for more than a week made me realize both how much I do depend on the internet to keep me in touch with both family and friends, (and research) and that, yes, people DO miss you when you simply vanish. I was both gratified and humbled by that. (and my connection has been acting up again for the last few hours–%&*$#%!!

    I have had people disappear off my radar, too, and not ever been able to find out what happened. I do find myself worrying. Another online friend and I have actually exchanged phone numbers so that in case of emergency we can get word to each other. Because we really don’t ever know what a day will bring.

  3. Frenz, a similar thing happened to me. I lost touch with a friend from college, who was usually good at checking in with me every few months depite real life. We’d had a disagreement, and I thought she was still mad at me, so I didn’t press it. Turns out she died a month after our last conversation. I didn’t find out for a year and a half when I tried to reach out to her again. So I’m like you, I hope a friend or family memeber will reach out to my cyber friends should anything happen to me, and I hope the same of my friends.

  4. Having lost my internet for more than a week recently, I came to realize both how much I depend on it to touch base with family and friends local and online as well as doing research for my writing.

    An online RA friend and I have exchanged telephone numbers and other into in the event of an emergency. When I finally got my connection back and saw the emails trying to find out what had happened to me, I realized ofthers want to hear from me just as I want to hear from them. You do become friends and friends want to know you are OK.

  5. Sorry, I didn’t mean to double post. We’ve been having some issues with the connection again tonight (trust me, if there was an alternative I could afford, I would get it).and I thought my original post had been lost.

  6. I recently discovered that a young woman I knew superficially through another forum (not at all RA related) who disappeared from that forum, took her life. It left me deeply shocked and finding out through someone who knew her in person, how troubled she was, really put my own problems into perspective.

  7. I have always found it extremely sad when people just leave. Either through choice or otherwise. Who says we are not all connected, even if it is through technology. I have heard of some great friendships developing on the net and some marriages too.

  8. The specific event that sparked this post was really disturbing. I hope that she lets us know what happened somehow.

  9. […] we know disappeared inexplicably this week. Frenz reflects. Seriously, folks, if you’re going away, let someone know. Just because we don’t ever […]

  10. It is difficult to lose touch with people, but especially when we don’t really understand why? I am sure she is unhappy about it, but I doubt she realizes that there are others affected as well. I can just hope for the best for her, and maybe later she might get in touch with one of us again.

  11. I’m so under my rock (=RL) I didn’t realize her blog dissapeared :(.

    I have to say I never thought about it in that way, thanks for making me conscious about it.
    I’ve been around internet for more than 10 years and I guess I’ve seen it so often that even if it surprises me, I’m used to move on. On the other hand, I do appreciate when someone ‘says goodbye’, like Calexora, who said a partial goodbye (it is nice to know you can still keep in touch with her).

    I’ll remember if I have ‘to leave’, I’ll say good bye.

    OML :)

  12. Hi Frenz,
    Yes, this lady friend’s almost immediate and total absence has everyone baffled. I’ll share here with you what I shared with our ladies in RAFN as concern grew there–and still continues–removing her name for privacy
    Cheers! Grati

    If this lady–or anyone for that matter–wonders if their presence matters, just look at the response here to her “disappearance”. Whatever her reasoning, we’re all sending good thoughts and best wishes to her.
    Cheers Grati
    P.S. And ladies, each of us makes a ripple of waves on a calm lake with our very existence. Everyone matters. You matter. And everyone makes a difference in each of our lives. I love each and every one of you my dears. Our “tides of friendship” wash upon the shore of our daily lives cleansing it and renewing it–and in doing so, renewing us. We are none of us alone because we have each other. So, dear friend, we’ll be here for you when you’re ready. Just drop a pebble in the water and we’ll see the ripple and know that you’re there.S

  13. Thanks, Grati, and well said.

  14. Like you, I’m really concerned about her as my experience with someone closing all their online accounts has been one of sudden death as well. I really, really hope we’re wrong and she’s OK. Like everybody else here, I really miss her and totally agree with what Grati posted on RAFN. Everyone matters!
    Good idea to include instructions in your will though – especially as it can be notoriously hard to access accounts after a loved one has died.

  15. Completely know where you’re coming from. If you’re online (somewhere) long enough people do notice when you’re not there anymore. And although it would be good to have someone tell us what’s happened you can’t always guarantee that you’d be informed.

  16. Frenz, I think it’s sweet that you gave your SO instructions to let us know if anything happened to you. (Because if you disappeared, I’d go hunting for answers.)

  17. Thanks, Natalie. :)

    And I”m glad we got an update on Alfie even if it was depressing to some.

  18. ……………………………………….


  19. /\
    About photo

  20. It’s really sad that some people just disappearing and we don’t know if they are ok in real life. I remember when one of my friends just deleted her account on AA Forum. She after one month when we meet sent me copy of Sparkhouse, because she had 2 of them, without return adress. So I really can’t thanks her properly. When I had possibility I send my second copy of Mackbeth with RA and McAvoy to polish fan. But I really wish to thanks her in some kind of way.

    I’m waiting on some news about Alfie too :/

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