People often think that because you’re a blogger, you follow lots and lots of other blogs, that blogs are your thing–kind of like how people often think that if you have a cat you’re a cat person and love any and all cats and cat nicknacks and trinkets and cartoons and Martin Luther King Day greeting cards with cats on them.
But really blogs are just a way for writers to write–to force themselves to put their writing out there in some kind of coherent and/or timely fashion–and one of the only blogs I follow–and that I’ve been following for a really long time, but not as long as, say, Marie‘s first incarnation of blog, which was one of the first blogs that ever existed in the history of the internet, since before “web log” was even SHORTENED to “blog,” thanks–is Dooce.
It is authored by Heather Armstrong and has chronicled her life in very witty, engaging prose, and I’m sure this is true about a lot of blogs, but once you start following, you develop something of an emotional attachment to the people being chronicled–in this case a decade or so down the line.
What I’m trying to get at here–and it’s actually something I’ve secretly been freaking out about for months and pointedly avoiding addressing here–is that I am basically an emotional wreck over Heather and her husband’s trial separation.
Hi, my name is Bess Jankowski, and I am a victim of the emotional ramifications of cyber-voyeurism. Or something.
I’m actually kind of fascinated with how upset I am over it. Every time I see that she’s updated, I hold my breath in hopes it will be to announce they’ve decided to have another go at it. I know this is as naively unrealistic as praying one’s parents will get back together, which is exactly what I did when my own parents split up in 1986 or whenever, but it’s weird: I just can’t accept it for some reason.
Of course, a little-known fact about me is that the main reason I was so reluctant to get married is that I’m oh so much more reluctant to get divorced. I mean, sure, isn’t everyone? No one “wants” to divorce, but seriously, I am, like, CATHOLIC when it comes to divorce. Yes, it’s the age-old child-of-divorced-parents cliche, but I just don’t believe in it. I really don’t think it’s Inevitable in Certain Cases™. I simply don’t see why people would even think about getting married unless they’re a million percent serious about staying in it for the long haul.
I have no idea what happened between Jon and Heather–the whole thing is just so sad, least of all for poor little blog-following me–and I’m not going to speculate or judge. But I kind of feel sorry for my own husband, because I don’t think he realizes what he got himself into by marrying me. As a child of parents who are still together, I don’t think he shares the same stay-married-or-die philosophy, and it’s probably never occurred to him how difficult I would make it for him to ever divorce me.
Of course, since he’s a child of parents who are still together, he’s also ridiculously well-adjusted and obscenely normal and probably doesn’t view marriage as something you should rush to get out of–which is how I’m starting to think the rest of the world views it. Maybe I should have asked him how he views it BEFORE we got married, but where’s the fun in that?
In any case, last weekend I officiated at the wedding of some friends, and luckily the couple wrote their own vows instead of leaving it up to me, because those in attendance didn’t really need to be made privy to my just-now-revealed-for-the-first-time-ever uber-radical marriage views!
But since the couple did write their own vows–instead of having a member of the clergy spew recycled, yawn-inducing bible verses like at most weddings–I got to observe the thought processes that went into it, and I must say that it was very refreshing. Imagine: choosing the words that legally bind you to another person for life! Rather than having a random third-party bystander do it for you!
Part of that wording included a section about their friends and family vowing to hold the couple to their promises–helping them figure things out together in times of trouble rather than siding with them individually–and as officiant I had to ask the attendees at one point to literally say: “we do.”
That was the part of the ceremony I was most nervous about because–well, first of all, I was a train wreck about the entire thing in general. And in particular I was afraid I wouldn’t verbally have set that one part off enough from the rest of what I was saying, and that everybody would be nodding off and wouldn’t have heard. But when it came, enough people were paying attention that many–if not a majority of–voices did respond, and for a second it was pretty moving.
In a way, the entire internet–or, at least, all those bloggers who follow all the other bloggers–is that room full of voices, vowing to hold Heather and Jon Armstrong to the promises they made to each other. Or, in my case, wanting to reach through the computer screen to SHAKE THEM. And I know it sounds prohibitively dated and uncharacteristically old-fashioned and that I totally need to get with the program and accept that most marriages end in divorce even when both parties mean really really well? But I’m not going to.
And there’s nothing anyone can do to make me.
Kind of like how there’s nothing anyone can do to make me care about other people’s cats.