Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Towards Understanding

Sometimes I forget that you all really exist and that Chewing the Fat is more than simply a personal journal. Though it's true I stop by every day to read comments (fewer and fewer recently - please remember to comment) it still comes as a wee bit of a shock to me when I run into a reader in the real world. As happened yesterday when Joe and I stopped to pick something up for dinner at a grocery store on Yonge Street. I almost didn't go in but it had been a long day at the office what with getting there early on WheelTrans and staying late for a meeting, and I wanted to get out and push around a bit.

Joe ran ahead to get what we needed and I pushed over to the magazine rack. Just before getting there someone almost stepped into my path causing me to pull up short. A woman of about 40 introduced herself to me (Hi, Jenna) as a regular reader of Chewing the Fat. It wasn't a name I recognized as a regular commenter and she said that she tended to lurk but that she lurked every day. We chatted aimiably about the blog and her interest in it - she has a teenager with an intellectual disability.

I felt an undercurrent in our conversation that was darker than what was being said, so I asked if everything was OK. She told me that she was a little surprised that I never responded to an email question that she had sent me privately. I felt immediate guilt. I do try to answer all emails and know that sometimes I fail ... if a whole wack comes in and an email is no longer on the first page, it can leave my mind. I apologized but I could see that she was still a bit annoyed.

Then this morning I came on and there were, predictably, a whole batch of emails that I eliminate without openning. These are the ones that invariably offer me money, millions of dollars, in exchange for my partnership in some odd enterprise. I get so many of these kind of emails that I don't even open them. I have never had my computer crash because of a virus, and I think that's because I practice 'safe email' ... if I don't know the person or the purpose I eliminate it.

So, here's the deal dear Fatters, if you are writing with a private comment please put CTF or Chewing the Fat in the re: line and I'll be sure to open it. So if you've sent something and didn't get a response, try again. I really do try to answer them all, I'm guessing that I miss some because of backlog of emails and others by erasing them accidentally.

Most of all I ask of you, patience. I don't pretend to perfection (don't even aspire to it). Besides writing a blog, I have a full life, and I'm getting older. Things slip by me, things move too fast, I fall asleep in movies. I am not DAVE HINGSBURGER, most of the time I'm just Dave - and for better or worse, that's all I want to be.

20 comments:

Heather said...

I read your blog most days and occassionally comment but mostly not.

Don't be too hard on yourself. I think sometimes it's easy (for others) to forget that real life gets in the way and the 'things that we would like to acheive' list is considerably shorter than the 'things that actually get done' list.

Or perhaps that's just in my world?

Lovin' your blog x

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a very bright spot in my day.

Did a workshop the other day ,and used your Words Hit Like a Fist cards, again.

They work.

Cynthia F said...

I lurk every day!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to stay anonymous on this comment because I don't want to get picked on. I think it is strange that someone who reads you every day, doesn't comment, doesn't give feedback, has the right to be upset when YOU don't RESPOND to them. If I were you I would have told them that you were equally upset with them for not responding. I've heard you say in your lectures that it is all about reciprocity.

From someone who regularly comments but today is feeling cowardly.

cindy from Calgary said...

anon
uncalled for harsh-ness; very un-dave like.
I read everyday or so and I don't feel that there is anything to say for the most part. Dave says it all. LOL
I'll continue lurking!

jueb said...

sometimes we just don't have the right words to respond, or feel what ever we say may not be enough, i read your blog everyday now since you came to lecture at Welmede in Surrey England you are a great inspiration so thanks Dave

E : ) said...

Oh Dave.....I hope you won't be too hard on yourself about this (hmmm what's the word)....oversight?

I lurk daily. Sometimes, when the spirit moves, I comment. I have on occasssion had an impulse to send a private e-mail and have let the impulse pass as I rather see it as an entry into your "private" life, with which you are so very generous here on your blog.

You spend so much of your life and your time practicing "reciprocity" whether it is in your virtual/real life. You spend so much more time in giving and receiving and growing than so many people do....
I think you set a particularly high standard for yourself!

I hope that what you saw as the conversation ended was perhaps risidual disappointment, and not truly annoyance. I hope Jenna will give the e-mail another shot!

(And on a side note.....I love that you refer to we readers as "Fatters"....now that's affirming!)

See you tomorrow (whether I comment of no).

E:)

Shan said...

Yeah, comments are the blessing and the curse of a blog.

It seems to me that the better a post is from a structure standpoint - like well constructed and with a punchy point - the fewer comments one gets. I think people feel that there is nothing more to say (as Cindy mentions above).

I've always noticed that commenters respond to the small offhand posts more than to the thought-provoking, carefully written ones.

Annie said...

Daily reader, don't think I've ever commented, but refuse to call myself a "lurker," which is a term I associate with the malicious internet stalking of someone you actually know. I love your blog, please don't feel about missing one email! If you forgot to reply to mine, I'd probably just bug you again...

Belinda said...

I'm just surprised that you aren't mobbed more in public. In my imagination I see some one shouting, "Hey, it's him," and a paparazzi-like throng suddenly taking chase. Ah, but now you have the electric wheelchair and that would be fun!

Myrrien said...

lol at Belinda, I have wondered that too. Like many have said I don't always leave a comment and feel a bit embarrassed about sending an email as I do feel that I would be invading your privacy.

Adrienne Lauby said...

I just posted something more to your Feb. 9 discussion. Do you get notices when someone does this? Or should I tell you it's there on the current day's post?

E-mail overload is so common, my etiquette is to assume it's nothing personal until three tries.

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

Personally, I don't think that blog readers should have to feel obligated to comment on each and every blog post they read. Sometimes there honestly isn't that much to say other than, "Me too!" or "Bravo!" ... which might be okay if you are only talking directly to the blogger, but a comments area I think in some of the best "thinking blogs" is also an area for discussion and exchange of ideas among readers, AS WELL AS responding to the blogger. (As opposed to the kind of blog I run, which is more of an informational service--i.e., dry content but pragmatic, or so I hope. I suppose that might be why most people only leave comments at my blog if they have questions to ask me in relation to their on-going quest for information, even though I do receive so many hits each month)

Email over-load: been there, done that. Sometimes it gets so bad that even three missed emails is not necessarily anything personal! (I might feel guilty .. but nothing personal.) Though I agree that two or three ignored emails probably does mean that, even if it really isn't personal, the person is probably suffering too much "email overload" to be able to cope.

Krista said...

I read your blog every day - sometimes I check 3x's. All the way from rainy South Africa.

So, although I do not comment every day, I read every single day!

Nice going!

Brenda said...

"I am not DAVE HINGSBURGER, most of the time I'm just Dave - and for better or worse, that's all I want to be."

And that's EXACTLY who I come here each day to 'see'. Don't ever change!

(still nodding my head in Scarborough!)

Linda said...

Dave
Don't barate yourself too much!
I'm one of those 'Fatters' that did receive one of your email replies!
Good idea to tag the subject line.
I'm a regular reader, if sometimes a few days behind! Sometimes I have no opinion or experiences on a subject matter. Your posts me pleanty of food for thought!
Keep up the good work......
LinMac in Dublin

theknapper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I just learned of a punk band in the UK that has both members with and without "learning disabilities" (which the UK uses to refer to what would be referred to in the US as "intellectual disabilities")

They're now doing a campaign to advocate for the rights of people with learning/intellectual disabilities to stay up late and party!

http://stayuplate.org/

Lisa b said...

hi Dave I will try to comment more often. I do come by fairly regularly but have been lazy about commenting. I have to admit that I also sent you an email last year and did not receive a response.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up a copy of Exceptional Family and have been meaning to write regarding the cards you wrote about.

Lisa b said...

hi Dave I will try to comment more often. I do come by fairly regularly but have been lazy about commenting. I have to admit that I also sent you an email last year and did not receive a response.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up a copy of Exceptional Family and have been meaning to write regarding the cards you wrote about.