Sunday, August 18, 2002 if walking on black ice in downtown Milwaukee after one, two, seven Mandarin & Tonics at Elsa's in the dead of winter (flashback!) I approach the subject of sudden departing, disappearing and reappearing bloggers.

It's times like these that the "real world" with it's face-to-face, tactile, man-handling, hugs and kisses on the cheek, seeing what I look like at 8am on a Saturday morning fresh from bed (well - actually skanky from bed) or drunk at 1am searching the bar for self-assurance, self-recognition and self-confidence, wins out. The friendships I build in that world still come with those wonderful red velvet museum ropes - you know the ones that keep you from ever getting to close to the art - allowing you to see the beauty of the painting (whether it suits your personal taste or not is a different matter) - but not every brush stroke, every color, every detail. I can be guarded and I have some control.

In that "real" world I still risk building friendships with people who may find jobs in other cities, move across town to a bigger house with their new beau or even reach the expiration point of their lives (thank god we don't come with those damn freshness date stamps they now have on beer - wouldn't that freak me out - I EXPIRE when ???!!!!)...but if they do - I still am giving a chance to say goodbye, go to the going-away party, or drive across town (because I would) for the housewarming party or come to the wake and look down at you, tears filling my eyes, but a gentle smile curling across my lips as I think of a private joke.

You see in the real world - even if there is not always warning there is still more time to say goodbye. I don't flip through my links one day to realize that some people went away one day and never came back. I don't just show up at a web page to be confused by a cryptic message or a goodbye note. Leaving me somewhat wounded - a little hurt - and saddened at your loss.

I'm not slamming anyone here. Writing these things is an extremely personal issue for most - and for many it needs to serve a cathartic purpose and just like therapy of any form - sooner or later - it may not be needed. One day all of my jigsaw pieces: Work, Home, Family, Love and Sex may fall effortlessly, perfectly and wonderfully into place...and if they do I hope to write about them...and maybe at that point I may go away. But for me this blog has journaled over a year and a quarter of my life - I have walked back through every entry (some clever, some depressing, some lame, some wonderful) and been enlightened to the good, the bad and the ugly of who I am - and it is the people who have read me, and written me, and cared for me - that have made me feel so very alive - so incredibly connected to something so much bigger than I - the WORLD.

But it is easier in the real world and that's where I think I'll spend the rest of today - with my dog, with my friends, with my thoughts...

...though I promise you I'll be back.