It seemed like just another typical Friday night, me sitting on the couch, reading, trying to decompress after a hectic work week, a glass of wine and bowl of stale pretzels at my side. Until my daughter’s best girlfriend came over and they ended up sitting on either side of me in the same room, loudly debating the merits of going downtown to a dance club.
I was successfully ignoring them — after all, I was reading a good book — until I heard my DD say, “And it’s pouring down rain outside, which is dangerous to drive in, you know.” She thinks she’s invincible, since when does she care about a little rain?
Then her BGF said, “Plus it’s already after eleven and by the time we get downtown it’ll be like almost midnight and why do we want to pay five freakin’ bucks to go stand in some club and watch people be all weird?” I thought that was the whole point.
Thoroughly distracted now, I said, “Or you could just stay here where it’s safe and dry, pay me five bucks, and watch me be weird.”
“You know, you really are weird,” said BGF, “What’s this I hear about you talking to people on the internet all the time?”
“Yeah, mom,” said DD, “that’s just dangerous, you know.” What is this, an intervention?
“Dangerous how?” I asked. This I’ve got to hear.
“You don’t know those blog people, you only know what they tell you,” DD said.
“That’s true,” said BGF, “and do you have any idea how easy it is for people to track you down once they know your name?”
“That’s what ax murderers do, you know,” said DD. What does she know about ax murderers?
“No one knows my real name,” I said, trying to placate them, even as I make a mental list of all the people on the internet who do indeed know my real name. “Besides, I’m pretty sure none of them are ax murderers.” And if they are, probably none of them want to kill me.
“You don’t know that. And people can be very persuasive,” said DD. “They can get you to tell them where you live and then just show up one day.”
“This is how people end up dead,” said BGF. What people?
“Yeah, but I have Quincy the Wonder Dog to protect me,” I said. [Yes, that’s his real name — it’s OK, he isn’t overly concerned that someone might track him down to steal his identity or corrupt his virtue.]
“Mom, you know all someone would have to do is feed him a Kleenex and he’d be their best friend for life.” True. Not likely to happen, but true.
“Plus these people might just want you for cyber sex,” said BGF.
WHAT did she just say to me?
I’m trying hard to keep a straight face, which is damn near impossible when you’ve just choked on a pretzel in the midst of a snort of laughter.
“Mom, this is so not funny,” said DD. Yes, it is. This is the funniest thing I’ve heard in weeks.
“I really do not think that is going to be a problem,” I managed, “mostly I’m talking to other women who are just like me.” Mostly.
“Yeah, that’s what they tell you,” said DD. “They’re probably pretending, waiting for you to get comfortable talking to them.”
“I’ve been talking to some of these people for months now, I’m pretty sure they aren’t pretending.” Much. “Besides, we’re just playing, having fun.”
“You are so naïve,” said BGF.
“There are bad people out there, you know,” said DD.
This is when it dawned on me that I’d had this conversation before. Many times. I’d just never been on the receiving end of it.
“You both are very sweet (and completely delusional), but I really think you’re worrying for no reason,” I said.
I paused for a second, but the newly reawakened rebellious teenager in me just couldn’t resist. “You know, I think I’m going to write a blog post about this…”
“Oh. My. God! You are SO weird!” How they managed to say this at the same time, with the same inflection and intensity, is beyond me.
They left the room in a huff, no doubt convinced I am a marked woman, one mouse click away from complete disaster.
So I guess you all should consider this fair warning. Those of you with nefarious intentions who are hiding just down the street, around the corner over there where I can’t see you, waiting for me to be lulled into a state of complacency before you launch an attack — and I now suspect your numbers are legion — be aware that I am being defended by two ferocious teenagers and a highly distractible 85-lb black lab.
Plan accordingly. Bring Kleenex.
I am going to go see whether I can catch that turnip truck and climb back on before it gets too much further down the road.