I feel a bit uncomfortable sharing my thoughts, ideas, recollections and musings on a blog. I’ve read many others’ blogs and enjoyed them immensely, but felt unusually insecure about writing my own. I think some of my insecurity comes from being English. Often the sarcasm common in English repartee is mis-taken. The nuance of sarcasm is lost in writing to those who are overly literal; unable to see the deadpan face or twinkle in the eye that helps sarcasm go over as one would wish. So, please, before pouncing like a lion in wait, try to find the humour. If you find that difficult, don’t read my blog.
I’ve only been on Twitter a short time. I’ve been in contact with many funny, charming, gentle, raucous, talented people. There are one or two brilliant people. I’m sure you know who you are as you’re not shy about letting us all know. I venture to say there are many brilliant people on Twitter who are not recognised as such simply because Twitter allows one a few moments of non-brilliance. It gets tiring to continually be expected to be “more than.” To my surprise, I’ve found these brilliant people to be surprisingly “sensitive” to having a bit of fun. They often take things personally. If you are truly brilliant, you know, and would assume it’s all in good fun. Well, I suppose we all have our thresholds.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
That is an age-old question, is it not? Usually asked by upper classes when one they consider an underling dares respond or question their opinions, questions, or any manner of “unseemly” behaviour.
There are not many aristocrats left worth their salt. Few are still of any consequence, yet Americans love to find out they are descended from the very people they revolted against. Had you not revolted agains Britain, you may have had a title! Well, not worth much anyway. Having a title and lineage and $12 will get a Starbucks coffee. Unfortunately, my background is bit like Heinz 57, except without the the billions they’re worth. I came from Spanish heritage via the Armada. My ancestors lost that one. Fled the channel to the north shores of England and settled there. Some made it to France. My direct ancestors were the original Dukes of Mallorca. Nope, don’t get a tuppence from the Mallorca tourism. Sad but true. Therefore, I’m a bit English, Spanish, French, with a bit of Celt thrown in for good measure. The one good thing is it explains my unnatural passion for flamenco dancing. And, YES, for those of you bothering to read this, this is all about me.
Right now I live in a part of the United States for which I’ve had to learn a new language, TEXAN. Do not be alarmed, there are different dialects in Texan. Where I am now is in West Texas. Actually, a fairly nice, breezy sort of Texan. One of the less twangy dialects and somewhat easy to fall into without appearing to be trying too hard. The people here, aside from being very conservative, extremely religious, and a few other eccentricities are kind friendly, generous, good-hearted anglophiles. They like to hear me speak, although I’ve had some of the “you aren’t from around here are you?” I get very generous “There you go girl” when I say, “Bye, Y’all.” One nice young man said I was “prettier than a bluebonnet.” I wasn’t quite sure how to take that until I saw a field of bluebonnets. See, I said they were kind.
Twitter is an interesting exercise. Learning to participate was a trial for me. I’m not one to speak in short sentences and kept routinely going over my 140 character limit. It made me feel inadequate as a writer, and as a human being. What was wrong with me, that I couldn’t say what I wanted to say in 140 characters or less? Well, nothing of course. Yet, it leaves me feeling as though a few more words would have been better. Yet again, it has helped me train myself to respond with less wordiness to out-of-the-blue questions. I like that. Less apologising. The great fault is tone. It loses something in Twitter. You can write things in a way that it actually hurts someones feelings when this was not at all intended. There are people out there who wish to find the one thing they can in order to embarrass you, or make you appear unknowledgeable. Twitter is not a place for a lengthy discussion about ANYTHING. I sent out an innocuous chart regarding the wage differentials between Congress and the average American worker. Oh, my goodness, the tweets starting flying from far right to far left, all being continuously streamed into my Twitter feed. People can be vile. Fortunately, I learned many years ago, that responding any longer than necessary (if at all) only creates a feeling of dominance within some Twits. I don’t engage in nonsense, and that’s what it was, pure diatribe. I try to tell people I instruct that in cases like this, whether it be in person, through e-mail, or correspondence it isn’t worth responding. Engaging at any level with people who do not want to be open-minded or accepting of your opinions aren’t there to discuss anything. Don’t bother with them, they aren’t worth one second of your time because your time is too valuable. Twitter is for ongoing comment, not debate or intelligent discussion.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
I like the people with whom I have an ongoing Twitter exchange. Most are in the sciences, some are professional comedians, some writers, but mostly funny, nice people. A lot are challenging. They make it interesting by providing bits of information you may not know and wish to explore. Others are just simply happy people who like to share a part of their day with you. Many are talented photographers from all over the world and “solar system.” I admire them for so generously sharing their talent and that includes artists in all genre who share a part of their art with me.
We cannot, however, neglect to mention the Bad and the Ugly. It is proliferate out there. Mean, misinformed, hate-filled, and sometimes pornographic tweets find their way into our Twitter feed too. I suspect there are also those who, like a beloved uncle of mine, make an outrageous statement just to watch everyone’s response. In my uncle’s case it was the family gatherings at our home in Surrey, after dinner around the fire. He would get everyone going in raucous debate, usually moderated by my brilliant Dad. And uncle? Sitting in a comfortable chair with a smile watching it all and never saying another word.