Monday, 8 November 2010
This is a tricky post to write. I wanted to write reams and reams, of how blogs offer selected snippets and snapshots, from which we make assumptions and draw conclusions, build mind-pictures of who the authors are, how they live, what they look like, think, do, believe, behave.
And of how we can be very wrong in those assumptions and conclusions. It just takes a few meetings with fellow-bloggers to realise that while what they write is indeed truthful and self-revealing, it is also partial, and selective, and isn't all there is to know about them. Similarly, how we the readers interpret what we read isn't necessarily accurate, and it certainly isn't the full picture. "I imagine" isn't the same thing as "I know".
I could go on about this, and about how wonderful it has been to meet the people whose blogs I read, and to discover - without surprise - that their thoughts, lives and interests were even fuller and deeper, more complex and fascinating, than they revealed online. But I shan't, although it's true.
Instead I'll share something that happened to me the other day, and that has got me thinking about assumptions and conclusions and how mistaken they can be. Someone I don't know sent me an email. It began pleasantly enough, but went on to say:
....one thing that does concern me though is your sometimes contemptuous attitude to Tosca, I know that this is probably tongue in cheek, but it does make me feel a little sad that when a new pet comes into the home the old one seems to get left to one side. Similar to (another blogger is included in the criticism at this point).
To me Tosca is the star, she has lost her previous owner through no fault of her own, been taken on by someone who obviously didn't really want her, had to sensibly take a careful attitude with a number of cats and now is left behind sometimes with days out and is also getting on in years. What a little soldier! I have a number of pets also and they all get treated fairly. Find her another home if you are tired of her, like the one Flossie has.
Sorry Rachel, it has to be said. This is why people have enquired about her on comments previously.
I have no intention here of defending my treatment of any of my beloved pets or to justify any other of my actions to an unknown person who presumes to 'know' what happens in my real, non-blogged life. I'm conscious that she must feel strongly about her fantasy, as she gave her name and email address, and I suppose that by blogging I invite a point of view from others, albeit usually expressed through the use of Comments.
But oh, how staggering the lack of self-doubt, the belief that her view is the right one, and - most astonishing of all - that "it has to be said"! (Really? Why?)
She doesn't know the half.... truly she doesn't.
But if anyone wants an indulged, ageing, becoming-slightly-deaf, arthritic, car-phobic, all-weather-hating little dog with cataracts forming, haircuts that cost more than yours, and none-too-reliable house training... don't bother to apply within. You can't have her. She was my mother's, and now she's ours - by mutual choice.
End of story.
Posted by rachel at 17:55