I know a lot of people who don’t get Twitter. Or they get it, but they don’t want it. Hashtags, retweets, unfollows—gasp, what has happened to the English language!
To be sure, there are days when I feel like a Twitter outsider. Sometimes when I log in, it’s a stream of mindless tweets about hangovers, the pope and guys posting naked Instagram pics of themselves in the name of #NakedSunday. Yep, sometimes I find the content downright depressing. Does this truly reflect the life I am missing in my rural setting? Is this the sort of thing that drove me from the city seven years ago?
It’s truly a hit or miss affair. I liken Twitter to an airport waiting area where people from all walks of life are temporarily crammed together, waiting for a boarding call that will only lead to them being crammed together with more people, including a little kid who inadvertently keeps kicking the back of your seat and a petite woman across the aisle with an active case of whooping cough.
But I digress. Back to the waiting area. These are moments, not hours, when a group of diverse people is thrown together by one common cause: a yearning to visit Cleveland. (Okay, yearning is most likely a huge overstatement. All the convention centers in Honolulu were booked.)
On a recent day, I had the day off and, as I was feeling worn down from weeks of overwork and hopping about with a broken foot, my writing wasn’t flowing. I fell for the Twitter diversion a few times.
In the morning, I sent a random tweet about how excited my dog is when he gets to piddle on a tree when a young guy with the tag GayIsTheWay (or something like that) tweeted another random thought: Do gays ever eat? I think he was trying to be funny. Another guy—let’s call him NJQueer—replied, “My fat ass does. I wish I was one of those gays who didn’t tho.” I should have let it go, but my history of eating disorders flashed to mind and I didn’t want other gay Tweeps to see the comment passed off.
My reply to NJQueer (and GayIsTheWay, who quickly vanished from the Twitterverse): By all means, eat! I’ve struggled with eating disorders my whole life. Wish weight didn’t matter. That spawned a dialog with NJQueer who opened up about his own struggles with eating and self-image. Another Tweep joined the conversation, revealing an eating disorder and, in a matter of minutes in our virtual airport terminal, we were sharing things we hadn’t mentioned to family and friends. I geared the conversation toward solutions, even if temporary—So how do you cope? What makes a good day?—before we each went on with our day with something positive as a focus.
Incidentally, this conversation went on while I engaged in shorter, clearly lighter conversations about dogs and trees, but while that was amusing, it is not worth sharing.
At the same time, a man in England tweeted about having just discovered a lump while in the shower. I replied that I hoped he was getting it seen to and wished him the best. That conversation continued over a period of days, with him talking about his father and his grandfather’s bouts with cancer and the agony of waiting for test results.
Later that night, I peeked at trending Twitter topics. One caught my eye: #SingleBecause. Hmm, I think I know a thing or two about that. I fired off a string of tweets, chuckling away as the topic tweaked my odd sense of humor. Here they are. Laugh or scratch your head as you like:
1) #SingleBecause it turns out Hugh Jackman is straight. And married. #sigh
2) #SingleBecause I caught the bouquet at my cousin Brandy’s wedding & my Aunt Constance put a hex on me.
3) #SingleBecause Anderson Cooper won’t take my phone calls. Or my emails. Or my lock of hair. I don’t understand why.
4) #SingleBecause it turns out Clark Kent isn’t real. (I have to stop stalking phone booths.)
5) #SingleBecause Do you think it has anything to do with my porcelain doll collection? (I can’t have tea without them.)
6) #SingleBecause I made an ugly face to my sister when I was 5, the wind came & it froze. #MamaWasRight
7) #SingleBecause ...Well, isn’t it obvious? That’s what all my friends say, but, no, it isn’t. Not to me & not to Mr. Fluffykins.
8) #SingleBecause I don’t want to mess up Solitaire Saturday Nights. #Woot!
9) #SingleBecause Liza Minnelli was The One that Got Away. (These little town blues...)
10) #SingleBecause that damn alarm went off when I tried to haul the mannequin out of Macy’s. See also #InstitutionalizedBecause
11) #SingleBecause there’s nothing better than trading Pokemon cards at the kiddie table at my co-workers’ weddings.
12) #SingleBecause guys don’t seem to like when I pull out the BeDazzler on the 1st date. Why wait when you know it’s right?
13) #SingleBecause I can’t pull myself off friggin’ Twitter. No, really. Where are they hiding the sign out button?
14) #SingleBecause the justice of the peace refused to marry me & my Ken doll. And I thought everything was legal in Canada.
Utter nonsense, no doubt, but it can be most helpful to find humor in Chronic Single Syndrome. As I experienced earlier that same day, there are far more serious issues.
Piddling dogs. Eating disorders. Cancer worries. Living the single life. On Twitter, it seems there is something for everyone. Sometimes you just need to add a few more followers to create a new waiting area.