Friday, January 18, 2008

The woman behind the curtain.

I did something today I've never done before.

I was reading a blog I subscribe to, but don't actually visit often. I have left the occasional comment, but for the most part I don't enter into the discussion at hand. This morning, on rereading a post, something got on my nerves. In a moment of irritation I typed out a remark that was uncalled for, unfair, and mean-spirited.

And what's more, I clicked on "Post".

Remorse instantly seized me, and a few minutes later I was back on the site, trying - in vain - to delete the comment.

I went around here feeling terrible all day. And I didn't feel a bit worse than I deserved to feel. Then, I got an email from the author, who is not a reader of mine and has only been here once that I know of. She was pardonably upset, and though I defended the irritation behind my comment, I could not defend the comment itself.

My emailed retraction doesn't matter though - we bloggers are not real people, and certainly not friends with each other though we leave comments with smileys and exclamation marks. And you can't apologize to a non-person with non-communication such as email: and the non-person can't forgive you either.

But I have learned a couple of lessons.

1-You get what you give, and there aren't any takebacks.
2-The pen might be mightier than the sword, but a conscience makes the deepest cuts of all.


Annalea said...

You've really got me thinking now, and wanting to ask questions--not confrontationally, but in earnest curiosity.

May I?

kate said...

Your thoughts ring true though.
The blog world is a unique place, I'm surprised there aren't more 'how to' and rules books for them yet.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Oh my, the dreaded 'send' button. There have been a number of times that I've whipped off an email in the impulse of the moment and then spent hours dripping in sweat and regret waiting for the fresh hell that my correspondance would set off. I've learned to be much more careful with the email thing and the blog post thing. I think that you probably grew as a result of this ... but why do lessons have to be so painful?

lizbon said...

Oh I've done that, as I think most of us have. I think you need to forgive yourself. The medium does make it awfully easy to go off half-cocked.

Bethro said...

Ack! I know that feeling.

I suggest going to some blogs that are likely to have teenage readers, and then reading their comments to make yourself feel morally superior. Theirs are often mean and misspelled. (nb: I just misspelled "misspelled." I guess that shows me.)

And I like the forgiving yourself idea as well.

Olga said...

I too have tread that shaky path, stuff I thought was funnie then strike me as mean and I feel like a heel for days and vow NEVER EVER to post again. Then, I do it all over again.....

Shan said...

I should have said "I have RELEARNED". This isn't the first time I have been taught that a wise woman sees everything, and says nothing.

Stace' said...

Some of us have to learn, relearn, and learn again.

Belinda said...

Oh Shan, even wise women have to open their mouths on occasion!

But I have learned the wisdom of pausing to read and reread what I've written, whether in email or blog comment. Our fingers--they are so impulsive!

A couple of seconds after I've written something, I can't believe I wrote a particular line. It always comes out so much more direct and harsh than I feel a minute or two later and I often delete half of what I wrote.

Of course this also happens when I open my mouth. The people I work with are used to me by now, apologizing and teaching them what not to do as much as what to do.

What a terrible experience; you have my heartfelt sympathy. And I loved your line, "a conscience makes the deepest cut of all." How true.

Olga said...

Yo! I gave you an award! Come and peek!

knititch said...

well but luckily you are great fun most of the time. oh dear it is difficult this posting and as you say it is difficult to know who is behind a blog and how they will react to a certain comment. and maybe that is why mine is mainly knitting. the rest of life i share with people i know and care for personally. but i have commenters that would be great fun to meet anyhow.
and finally the endless steppe arrived. i had forgotten everything and it was like a blink with the eyes since last time i read that cruel story about the red sweater.

amanda said...

That happens to all of us (or at least all of us think things, regardless of whether we hit 'send') and you are a bigger person because you do feel bad for it. I agree, forgive yourself and forget it. You're human, after all.