Last night I killed a spider by drowning it in urine while in the shower. The spider was also in the shower, so it’s not as if I took aim across the room to do the deed. It was actually a fairly difficult task, and once the spider had been killed, or at least humiliated beyond all little spider belief, I sprayed it with water until it fell down the drain, and proceeded to sing a little song of joy, and dance the happy dance while the water poured onto my now spider free personal bubble. Now, the unfortunate side of this is two fold: one, if the spider isn’t dead, it will climb back up the drain, thus preparing to attack me during my morning shower, and two, I actually believe scenario one to be possible because I am afraid of spiders.
And words exchanged between people.
The only reason I wrote the first part of this column was because it mentioned my personal space bubble – though it is a humorous, and true story. And because hiding behind this wall of the Internet, my words do not reflect the same body language you might see if this anecdote was told to your face. Realistically, I wouldn’t do that.
Words are made too easy by this fairly modern barrier of the Internet. No longer do people need to confront their fears, speak to a girl at a bar or library or classroom, wish a happy birthday with a handshake, or even be themselves. We can be anyone we want to be, as long as we are online.
I have a severe social anxiety disorder, and my medication makes it alright to go out in public and be mostly myself. I’m fine in four places: with my fiancé and family, teaching in front of students, on stage performing a show, and on the Internet.
The first should be obvious: those people know me the best, and understand how to deal with me, and my quirks. The second and third are the same; they both consist of an element of acting, and I’m okay pretending to be myself. It actually makes me incredibly at ease. The last one is wonderful for everyone; words on a screen are very different than words when spoken in person.
Even a handwritten letter provides more honesty than the Internet. There is feeling in hand writing. There is emotion in the slight error of the way we draw our words.
I, like many, use the Internet as a crutch. It allows me the freedom of conversation with a certain cover of anonymity. I can process my words, and I have no problem saying what you need to hear. Words come easily when no one is around to watch. And it doesn’t hurt that I’m known for not having much of a filter – one of my anxiety quirks is that I don’t mind being overly offensive at times, and making people slightly uncomfortable actually puts me at ease.
I am a wallflower at parties, uncomfortable even at gatherings of friends. But on the Internet, I am a God. I can say what I want, manipulate conversations, draw conclusions about everything, and most importantly have the necessary confidence to say anything to anyone.
So last night I killed a spider by urinating on it until it crumpled, and died. But the Internet killed human communication, and urinated all over the true emotion behind words.