Thursday, July 24, 2008

Excuse Me...Do I Know You? Or Do You Know Me?

There must be about a dozen of me in D.C. A little troop of doppel-Shannons. Because at least once a week, someone comes up to me, addresses me by a random name (“Rachel,” most often), and chats as if we’ve known each other for years. I never know whether to play along or gently inform them of their mistake.

And, sometimes, I wonder if I’m at fault. Perhaps I have amnesia and multiple personality disorder and I really am Rachel.

The “Rachel” dilemma is pretty much what it’s like to have this blog.

I routinely encounter or hear from those who believe, because they read my daily trainwrecks and unsolicited opinions, that we are the oldest of friends. The over-familiarity is unsettling, but I’m enough of an adult to realize I brought it on myself. I’m grateful a bunch of amusing, cool people check in daily to see what I’m up to. And I’m humbled that they’re invested enough in my narcissistic little hobby to comment, email, or want to meet me. I’ve made some lovely new friends.

But that’s the blogger version, and she’s not necessarily me. The vast majority of my real-life closest friends don’t read this site at all. They like the woman they went to school with, shared an office with, took out a few times and later befriended. They don’t need her cheap, boozy online equivalent. And, sometimes, neither do I.

That’s why I leave a lot of personal details off this site. I don’t put up photos. I don’t emotion-barf details of my private life (though a gold star to anyone who noticed what was different about the FAQ and connected the dots). I don’t talk about work, I don’t say where I live, I don’t give specific updates about what I had for lunch yesterday.

Mostly, it’s because emotion-barfs and lunch are boring subjects. And I feel my writing is best when it zips along and chucks water balloons in all directions.
But it’s also so I can achieve some privacy. That’s a pretty tenuous thing on a non-anonymous blog, but I do what I can.

So, the point…and there is one. Please email, comment, stop by. Bring your friends and neighbors and maybe even Bill from Accounting. Y’all rock, and the door is always open to you. Just please don’t assume you really know me because you heard all about the time I was too short to be a stewardess.
And, if anyone knows that Rachel woman, hook me up with an introduction.

PS – we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled goofy hijinks tomorrow. I can’t sustain multiple days of self-reflection without my tiny little brain caving in from the weight of my enormous self-esteem. And I’m not talking about anyone in particular, this is just sort of a bunch of thoughts finally falling into place.


Lemmonex said...

Bravo! I have the same issues and struggles, though like you, I know I brought it upon myself.

I put up pictures (for various reasons which are way more than narcissism) and talk about a lot of my hijinks. People think they know me--and they do to a certain extent. But honestly, there is a whole hell of a lot I do NOT talk about.

Lemmonex is me, for sure. But an element of me. When people think they "get" me, it makes me realize how delusional they really are.

Shannon said...

Lemmonex - yeah, I agree. I think it's an interactive medium, and readers shouldn't be expected to be passive observers. It's just important to not be over-familiar. Especially for women bloggers - that stuff can be a little creepy.

LivitLuvit said...

Agreed, the persona on here is just one side of who I am... and usually exaggerated. While it's cathartic and often times saves my real-world friends from having to hear some of my kvetching, I do think about being perceived as the cartoon version of who I really am... and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Shannon said...

livitluvit - funny thing is, most people who meet me offline say I'm exactly what they'd expected, vs. a cartoon. But over-familiarity still weirds me out.

brandonsavage said...

I don't purport to know you but I gotta say you've provided hours of humor to me and my coworkers. Keep up the good work, and if you ever stop doing crazy shit, just make it up. Seriously.

lacochran said...

I knew you'd say that. That's so you.

Justin said...

Well, inevitably when you read about someone's exploits and opinions, you form an opinion of them. When someone writes as well as entertainingly and as frankly as you do, it's hard for that opinion not to be positive :)

I like that you blog about more substantial things than where you ate lunch yesterday, and it's nice to find someone who has similar opinions on certain subjects, or can find humour in a situation that badly needs it.

I enjoy reading and will continue to do so.

Shannon said...
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Shannon said...

Brandon...maybe I ought to stop blogging because it sounds like I'm killing the productivity in your office. I'm sorry, Boss of Brandon. I truly am.

The stories on here are mostly true, though, like anyone who loves a good story, I tweak the details (usually making myself look even more ridiculous in the process).

Lacochran - Well, of course. I'm sitting here with my scanner right now, wearing racing silks and looking bored.

Justin - Thanks! I really, really do adore my readers. I get a little thrill every time I see a new comment.

But sometimes things get a little spooky, because it feels like people I meet know more about me than I know about them.

Tina said...

But, but - does this mean you WON'T be god mother for my new baby?

Shannon said...

Tina - only if it's named after me!

Rob West said...

I was always amazed that any strangers had the time OR inclination to read my blog back when I had one. Of course, yours is way beter than mine ever was.

But I never did figure out who that was who sent me a dollar. And a monopoly dollar. And a cryptic note written in crayon, signed with a picture of a butterfly.

Shannon said...

Rob - I'll never figure out who sent me that packet of lingerie and a six-pack of Yuengling.