There’s nothing like a road trip to clog the sinus and clear the head. I don’t know about you but I am quite capable of seeing a certain thing everyday without quite grasping the idea behind it until one fine day it slams into me with all the grace of an obese elephant taking a tumble off a twenty foot wall. Take blog stats for example.
You can’t get away from those things if you’re a blogger and especially so if you’re WP, as I am. They show up every time you log into your account, after all. But it wasn’t until I was on the road this weekend that its true significance came home to me. Roads are hypnotic that way – hopefully you’re not the one doing the driving while it happens, but there’s something about hurtling down a stretch of smoothened tar and gravel in a dinky metal box that makes you analyze the nitty gritties of life.
A hundred miles or so from my comfy home, the thought suddenly came to me that those numbers that pop up in my box every day correspond to real, live people.
Call me simple if you like, but …. WHAT?!
Now I’m obviously not insane or brick stupid so I’ve always recognized this little factoid but I don’t think I ever quite understood it. In my head, IndieQuill is actually read by about ten or so people who regularly comment with a couple of extra people who come by once in a while and the occasional visitor who drops in thanks to the kindness/ many mysteries of Google Search. The rest of the numbers that show up on my dashboard are – dare I say it? – just numbers.
I should really have left it at that but somehow I found myself thinking that I now understand why so many people down the ages have committed mass murder. Yeah, I know – that was quite a leap I made there but it’s true. Consider:If you’re killing one person or two or a number that you can count on your hand, basically, you have to exert yourself personally. Even if you’re a serial killer, you have to go out there and presumably kill in ones and twos or perhaps threes, whatever. Point is, you have direct contact with your victims. Now, if you were me, you’d ask – what about snipers? That’s not a close contact kill. And you’d be right, except snipers have to concentrate on their prey and pick them off individually. If that’s not personal involvement, I don’t know what is.
But now imagine you’re the despot of some country and you’re sending people to the gas chamber for the fun of it or because the sun wasn’t sufficiently warm enough when you woke up this morning or because your mommy discovered the body of the “girlfriend” leaking blood and brain matter all over the bedroom carpet and ticked you off – make up your own reason because I can get pretty grisly here. Okay, so you’re sending millions to their death.
You don’t know them. Nobody knows a million people. Well, Tila Tequila maybe but just look where that gets you. According to The Tipping Point, the maximum number of intimate friends a human being is likely to have is below 150. 150, for some reason, is our magic number. I’d think that goes double for people you send to their deaths, wouldn’t you?
So it’s not like Stalin personally knew the millions he sent to their death in the gulags although he might have known a few key people. People became numbers. One hundred, ten thousand, fifty three thousand, one hundred and ninety seven thousand, three point seven six million. Faceless hordes.
So much for murderers. How about bloggers?
I’d say it’s a bit more complex. I don’t think of you guys as less than human or want to crush you under my boot heel or anything of that sort. It’s like I had tunnel vision and while a few of you came out clear and distinct, the lurkers just faded into the background and I never saw you.
Until now. And now that I have, I feel a bit strange.
I don’t really think of audience when I write the blog but now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t know what to say. This is the blogging equivalent of a group of nosy aunties plonking themselves in front of you and saying, “Well, go on, what do you have to say?”
This is, of course, ridiculous. I think I’ve straddled the line between private and public quite well these past few months and there’s nothing on this blog that I wish I hadn’t put up or am ashamed of. And if you met me in real life, my opinions would be just the same and I’d be just as opinionated and I wouldn’t necessarily expect you to fall in line with them.
So what’s the problem? Perhaps it’s just expanding my consciousness to fit in those extra people. Growing pains in a way. I’m already getting over it, I think.
But first, I just wanted to say I don’t know who you are or why you never say anything, but hello there. 🙂