Monday, January 25, 2010

And I think to myself...

The internet can be such a wonderful place.

My beautiful friend Sara has a chance to interact with a world, which, 20 years ago, would have left her completely isolated. I can talk face-to-face to my mother-in-law in east Texas or watch my brother's dogs play in Boston because of webcam technology. I met several friends through the blog world to whom I could easily tell some of my deepest secrets. Millions of dollars have been raised for amazing causes using social networking resources. I just spent a week with a bunch of people I had never met and had a blast. And don't even get me started on how much better Google has made my life.

But then there's the other side. The side where breasfeeding mothers call formula-feeding mothers horrible things and vice versa. The side where people say awful things to a mother who just lost her baby in a horrible accident. The side where you do work for people in good faith and they don't bother paying you. The side where and parents judge other parents for the decisions they make as they raise their children. Homeschool vs. Public school. Organic vs. Not. Rolling the toilet paper over, vs. rolling it under. 

The side where people take things out of context and assume things about you from 140 characters of typed words.

Today, I tweeted a joke about my Puerto Rican friend having gone to get me lunch today and bringing it back, so as a result, I felt like I was still on the cruise ship.

If you've ever been on a cruise ship, you know that they are pretty well-known for bringing people of many, many cultures together to work, and so you end up with quite a tapestry of people with whom you can talk and learn from. At dinner, our server's name was Renata, and she was from Romania. We were completely in love with her, especially since she was so kind and gracious to Angela, who has severe food allergies. Renata's fiancee's name was "Can," pronounced, "John," and he was from Turkey. Each server was from a different country, it seemed. (This is where the "Puerto Rico" part of the joke comes in, in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, (two) people were offended by my tweet because they thought I sent my friend to get lunch because he was Puerto Rican. In reality, I sent him to pick up both of our lunches because we have a three-person rule at my company in which we choose not to travel in male-female groups without a third person. That was the entire reason he went to pick our lunches up by himself.

To my knowledge, neither of the offended parties are actually Puerto Rican.

But nobody was concerned with those details, really. They called me a "racist," and said I should be reported to my employer and should be forced to get HIS lunch tomorrow.

My word, I hate drama so much.

My first reaction was to roll my eyes and assume things about them right back. I know (as does anybody who knows me) that I'm not a racist, and the fact that the co-worker/friend I made the joke about thought it was hilarious (actually, he thought the response was even more ridiculous and funny than I did) and not offensive is really all that matters to me. They are taking this way too seriously, in my opinion. So screw 'em, right?

But where does that leave us?

So I apologized for offending them. And that's where it ends for me. We don't have to be friends. We don't even have to like each other. But hopefully we can go back to blissfully ignoring one another, something I'd love to see more of in the blog world (and real world). I'm a huge believer in agreeing to disagree.

Once, my grandmother said she would never want to bring a child in this world with how it is these days. And on days like these, I can see where she's coming from. People are horrible inside. Every single person. That's why we need a Savior. Obviously. We're all sinful, imperfect people, myself included. And who wants to be a part of continuing that trend?

But as long as I do plan on bringing a child into this world at some point, I have to believe there's some hope for it. And if that means being called a name and (trying to) resist the urge to call one right back, that's what I'll do.

And no, I won't be successful at that all the time. I've already failed at that a few times today.

But I will just try to focus on the part where the world can still be a wonderful place.

And for goodness sake, never, ever use the #mckcruise (or #mckanythingelse) hashtag on Twitter again.
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