Tag Archives: friendship

will you be my beta reader?




facebook breakup

Tuning out Facebook for weeks at a time is commonplace, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which found that a majority of the current Facebook users it surveyed have at one time or another tired to the point of avoiding the social-networking site.


Pew used Princeton Survey Research Associates International to conduct the actual telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,006 adults in the U.S.

The Pew study found that 61 percent of the Facebook users who responded have taken extended, weeks-long breaks from the site. Those who have taken Facebook sabbaticals did so for the obvious reasons: 21 percent were too busy, 10 percent lost interest, and 10 percent felt it was a waste of time.


(Credit: Pew Research)


friends for life, with or without facebook

my facebook (and real life friend) jeff barnes sent me this picture of best friends harry o. fischer and my grandfather  fritz leiber.  the two met in college and remained friends for life.  and this was before facebook!  the inspiration for fritz’ s series of novels set in the land of newhon came out of a board game the two created.  in february while others are fretting over what to do on the fourteenth, i’m going to be thinking about  the fromances of my life.

harry fischer and frtiz leiber

harry fischer and frtiz leiber


i really thought it was over: my stalker returns

i really thought it was over.  my stalker had claimed he would never attempt to contact me again.   i started to breathe a little easier, to forget this was happening, to start thinking about planning another trip.  i had been hiding in my apartment.  i had been avoiding facebook, my email, my phone because any one of them could contain another communication.  at his most energetic, william could email me, text me to tell me that i had to answer his email, and then the email might contain a request for me to check his posting on my wall.  this might happen in the course of ten minutes and when i failed to respond immediately he might add on more messages, texts, posts and calls to get my attention.  one day in september, he announced he wanted to quit his job in tallahassee and be with me. he has angered and been defriended by a half dozen of my facebook friends.  please understand i met him exactly once as part of my facebook friends project.  i blocked him on facebook and on hotmail, but wordpress still allows him to message me. 

yesterday morning, i checked my emails and found this message from an address and a woman (jennifer renalds).  i didn’t recognize the address or the name.  i will print it in full:

To miss presser. Arlyn is it? I am writing this to let you know of something that happened last night. My name is Jennifer, and Bill Taylor is a friend of mine. I want you to know that Bill attempted suicide last night. I have known bill for a couple of months and he is the kindest and most thoughtful guy I have ever met. he shared with me a lot of messages and emails you two shared. I admit he can be overwhelming, and he has always troubled himself over this. I also saw a message you left for him a short time ago saying everything was good with your friendships. My sister noticed a message in your blog yesterday, and told him about it. I stopped by his house and found him in tears, saying it all had been a lie. and I found he had taken a whole bottle of some medicine he had there. Miss presser, he will live, but I just wanted you to know what had happened. You let him believe for months that everything was okay and i can see from some of these messages that he tried many times to ask you if things were okay with you guys and you just left him hanging. I think you should be ashamed of your self miss presser! Bill deservse so much better then that. You hurt him. you hurt him very badly. I just wanted you to know. and I think you are a bad person for letting this happen. He never blamed you one bit! He was willing to leave you alone, and you you ended up calling him a stalker from the beginning. In the last couple of weeks, I think I have really come to care about him. I just wanted you to know.
i lost it. i couldn’t stop shaking.  i jumped whenever i heard a sound.  i felt responsible.  and angry that i was being made to feel responsible.  i finally did something that many of my friends have advised:  i went to the kenilworth police station just down the street.  the officers assured me that, based on the correspondence i was able to produce, including this last one, there was a problem.  they called the tallahassee police and ascertained that no william had been admitted or even seen for a suicide attempt.  the tallahassee police visited him at his home and were reassured that there had been no suicide attempt (intriguingly, he claimed not to know a jennifer renalds).  the police told him to never attempt any communication with me whatsoever.  including even contacting a friend and asking for a message to be passed along to me.  that last part is why i am writing this today.  to say please, if you are my friend and you are contacted, tell me about it so i can tell the police. 
it is a situation i let go on for too long.  i thank my many friends who have offered a safe house, weapons training, advice, a shoulder to cry on. . .
i have always had a crush on dolph lundgren.  maybe he would volunteer to be my bodyguard!  so if you're facebook friends with mr. dreamy lundgren, have him get in touch.  like really in touch with me!

i have always had a crush on dolph lundgren. maybe he would volunteer to be my bodyguard! so if you’re facebook friends with mr. dreamy lundgren, have him get in touch. like really in touch with me!


actually, lundgren aside, i have spent close to six months being afraid and overwhelmed.  i have kept quiet because i didn’t want to hurt anybody.  but now i am worried about being hurt.  and so i want you to know what is out there, what i am afraid of, what i have get past if i’m going to get back out on the road and see my wonderful friends!  if you have any thoughts, share them with me!


this is right around the time of year when there’s a free treadmill at the gym, when the double stuffed oreos crowd out the kale in your grocery cart, when the pack of cigarettes behind the counter at 7-11 shrieks “buy me!”

the problem with most new year’s resolutions is that they’re hard.  and they’re based on the principle that we have to punish ourselves with a good dose of self-discipline and denial.  and we can only last two weeks before throwing in the towel.  january 14 is the day it all goes south.  well, at least it does for me.

in 2011, i had a new year’s resolution to meet all my facebook friends in person in one year.  that was 325 friends and a lot of travel.  a lot of interesting experiences.  a lot of new things.  13 countries.  52 weeks of packing my bags.  did i meet all 325?  no, but i got the asian f.  90%.

since then i have met new facebook friends.  and this past week i drove 900 miles in less than 36 hours so that i could meet jim hellman and connie conley in ironwood, michigan–just south of lake superior. i felt so 2011!

connie and jim have known each other forever.  well, it feels like forever.

would you believe that connie is younger than me???? i just want to know what moisturizer she uses.

in any event, the duo did not become romantically involved until years later.  and how did they connect?  on facebook, naturally!

connie "poked" jim on facebook and it led to true love and happiness.  maybe you should go to your facebook friends list and see if there's somebody you'd like to poke.

connie “poked” jim on facebook and it led to true love and happiness. maybe you should go to your facebook friends list and see if there’s somebody you’d like to poke.

a new year’s resolution won’t work unless it’s fun.  and i had fun with my two new friends!  they are the 332 and 333rd facebook friends i have met.

apple bacon maple

just a facebook friend.  how many of your friends are “just” a facebook friend?  with facebook, linkedin, myspace, twitter we can have friends from all over the world.  friends we never meet in real life.  friends with whom our interactions occur while we’re in our pajamas in front of our laptop or squinting at the smartphone or playing online scrabble (okay, busted on that last one!).  we think we know someone but we only know their atavar.  we can know them deeply with long heartfelt messages but we really don’t know what they’d be like on a road trip, in an emergency, for the long haul.

it’s especially easy to rely on these friendship when the rest of the world seems chaotic, hostile, and just plain scary.  i think a lot of anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia and depressions have to do with how fast and furious our interactions with the real world are.

face to facebook (f2fb) friend number #331 lesley riley did me the greatest favor of coming all the way from california to meet me!  we had a wonderful afternoon together and i encourage any facebook friends to say "hey i'd like to come see you on your own turf" otherwise i show up on their turf!

face to facebook (f2fb) friend number #331 lesley riley did me the greatest favor of coming all the way from california to meet me! we had a wonderful afternoon together and i encourage any facebook friends to say “hey i’d like to come see you on your own turf” otherwise i show up on their turf!

i have  been isolated for the past two months and i knew that i really needed to change.  i was lucky enough to receive an invitation from facebook friends jim hellman and connie conley to visit them in bresmere, michigan—right near lake superior.  connie and jim have been my facebook friends for roughly a year and a half.  i have never met them before but they invited me.  and i am never one to pass up an invitation to visit a facebook friend!

tuesday was sunny and bright.   out the door of the bat girl cave by eight o’clock.  according to mapquest, it would be a seven hour drive, which means in arlynn driving time nine hours at least.

i find that every new geography means a new food.  in this case, something that sounded somewhat disgusting but damn, i ate two of them:

i ended up at the americinn of ironwood michigan and was presented with a slight problem:  i had booked my hotel room for monday evening–the day i was online.  i didn’t read my reservation confirmation.  maybe that would have been a good idea.  luckily, i have my own personal hotel clerk.

my stalker’s response

i posted about my stalker a few days ago.  william is a facebook friend (well, unfriended now) who became obsessed with me.  we are all so easily connected with facebook, email, cell phones, etc. that it’s hard to know the proper distance of friendships.  over the course of six months, william pressed so hard that i became frightened and overwhelmed.  i became completely unhinged when he suggested that he would quit his job in tallahassee and move to chicago to be near me.  this was not a romantic obsession, but rather an obsession of friendship.

i blogged about william because i had reached my breaking point.  i had not been posting on facebook because i didn’t want to deal with him.  i had not been blogging or even turning on my phone for the same reason.  and i had taken to being extra cautious about leaving and returning to my apartment.  i thought of going to the police but then i thought i would trust my friends.

in blogging, i was contacted by a number of friends who had been contacted by william.  i heard from friends who advised restraining orders, firearms training, mischief, and mayhem.  i received many offers of safehouses, bodyguards, and friends who wanted to speak to william.  then i heard from william himself.

he posted a comment to my blog.  i made a decision to not approve the comment because i want to protect william’s identity–although, to be fair, facebook friends who have been reading my posts can easily figure out who he is and some have already had interactions with him.  this is what he had to say:

You are not responsible. This is my fault, and mine alone. I had no idea it was nearly this bad. I wish someone had made it clear to me. You have my word it front of all these witnesses, that you will never hear from me again. And I’m sorry.

i will take him at his word.  any suggestions or comments?


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