When CyberSpace Gets Too Real

Last week I lost a friend. Between the time that I wrote that first line and when I was able to resume was about half an hour. I spent the time staring at my screen and wondering how to write this post. In fact, it's taken me more than a week to attempt it.

You see, my friend was someone I'd never met in person. In fact, I didn't know her real first name until shortly before she died. I only learned her last name afterwards.

My friend was someone I met on line in a blog-writing forum. Her pithy funny comments always made me laugh and we soon continued the friendship through Twitter and through daily visits to each others blogs.

For most of this time, I knew her only as Mad Asthmatic. In fact, for the first several months I knew her, I thought she was male. There was something about her writing that made me think of a particularly adventurous Englishman, someone who was constantly trekking off some place with Sherpas. To my ears, her voice was almost Dickensian with its use of words like "whilst", "tinned food" and her constant sign-off "toodle-pip". She wrote elegant essays on the lost art of letter writing and the joys of fountain pen and blotting paper. Every now and then she would write a post that gave me a glimpse of the horrendous medical problems she was facing -- something that was always jarring as I thought of her as being so full of life and activity. After one or two posts on her medical condition, she'd send me a crisp email or Tweet to tell me to ignore her "pathetic whinging" as she was going to get back on to more interesting subjects. She even wrote a post dissecting the British stiff upper lip.

Continued here.



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