Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Oh, The Secret Life of Karen Funk Blocher

on a bad day, there's a lot going on in my brain that they don't know about. This is my entry in this week's Round Robin Photo Challenge.  The topic, suggested by Patrick, is "Secrets."

The Internet is a strange and contradictory world in which to spend one's time.  It is intimate and distancing, immediate and delayed, ephemeral and lasting.  It promotes communication and controversy, understanding and misunderstanding, friendship and isolation.  Names on a screen become best friends.  A stranger in another state knows more about your health problems than your co-workers do, more about your dreams and aspirations than your spouse does.

Let's take me for an example, since this is my blog.  Those of you who read Musings on a regular basis know about my novels, the quiz I wrote, my struggle to find time for sleeping, my religious views (for the most part), what my dog looks like, my husband's name, the name of my hometown, what schools I've attended, most of my childhood traumas (such as they are) and a few of my adult ones.  I finally graduated from college this year, and you knew what it meant for me to do so.  You were there when I got a new job, and knew that I cried in the stairwell because it meant leaving Worldwide Travel.  You know that I'm fat, and nearly 50 years old, give or take 18 months.  You probably have a fair inkling that I'm a Democrat.  You've seen my favorite books, and know why I like them, what tv shows have mattered to me over the years, what my favorite theme park is.  You know how I feel about my uncomfortable but not tragic childhood, and what I question in my own psyche now as an adult.  You even know the color of my iPod!

You don't know it all. But: despite my mania for online confession, you don't know everything about me.  Some of it's deep dark stuff I don't tell anyone (except maybe John or my doctor), but a lot of it is basic personal data.  With a few exceptions, you don't know my address or phone number, the name of the company where I work now (or the kind of business it is), or the name of the company where John works.  You sure as heck don't know my credit card numbers and financial data.  Again with exceptions, you don't know the name of my Wiccan friend with health problems, or what's going on in her life now.  You may know that I go to church with a guy named Kevin, but you probably don't know who that is.  And so on.  You know what I choose to share.  I share an awful lot, but not everything.  And if I don't volunteer every negative thing I could possibly say about myself, who can blame me?  So you're getting a slightly grainy and rosy picture of me, and there are pieces missing.

There are large areas of my life that even you don't know about.Life in this modern world is compartmentalized, and we interact with different populations at different times, sharing some things and keeping others secret.  Nobody at my office knows that I am a blogger--at least, I hope not.  Although I strive to avoid revealing anything that would compromise confidentiality agreements, and never write blog entries at work (as I did a few times at Worldwide Travel, I'm ashamed to say), it's better not to raise the issue than explain what a blog is, and why the company need not be concerned about it.  Hardly anyone at work knows about the novels. The few who do are the ones who asked about the Sherlock portraits of my characters, which are posted in my cubicle.  Nobody there has heard of my friend Kevin, and not too many have even heard of John.  But they do know stuff you guys don't about what I do all day and why and how, and how it fits in with their own jobs, and how I look when I return from lunch on a muggy day, my hair all droopy and messy from the walk across the street.  A few of them hear things even John doesn't know.  (Not very many things, though - John doesn't miss much!)

I am an enigma to parishioners.
And what do the parishioners know about me?  Again, only a handful know about the novels, but many of them know about my photography and webmaster duties for St. Michael's.  A lot of them assume that Kevin is my husband, although I tell them otherwise whenever the subject  comes up.  Some of them know where I work, but not necessarily what kind of business it is.  Almost none of them know most of the stuff about me that you guys know.

Do these bits of missing information count as secrets?  I think so.  When I was a kid, I hated the concept of "image," preferring to believe I looked and acted exacty the same no matter who was watching and listening.  But it's not quite true, is it?  Some things that I can tell you guys would be irrelevant or damaging if I told them at work or at church. Perfectly innocent infomation that anyone in Tucson can learn in thirty seconds could be used against me if I posted them online.  There's lots of stuff nobody knows except John. And so on.

the hall outside the departmentStill, I'm not a very secretive person by nature.  Although I haven't said outright where I live or where I work, I haven't exactly covered my tracks well.  Here's a picture of the hallway outside the accounting department at work, taken when I left just before sunset one evening.  If you worked there, you'd recognize the hall.  Even if you didn't work there, but you lived in Tucson, you could deduce where I work from the pictures I've posted of weather and mountains and streets and buildings.  You'd know that I must live near that one Safeway I keep mentioning.  So what is the point of my saying I live on Calle *Mumble*?. I'm not sure.  But basic Internet security guidelines suggest that I not post my address, so I don't.  Maybe I get 1% less junk mail that way.  And it is true that a whacko from Quantum Leap fandom once used my address against me - to sign me up for a subscription to Playgirl.  It wasn't exactly a tragic consequence of my openness, but it was annoying.  I really don't like that magazine at all.

the view from the accounting department window on a rainy day.When I was in high school, or possibly junior high, I came up with a premise for a story about an alien from a planet where everyone has telepathy.  When he visited Earth, he could not understand why people had any need or desire for privacy.  Knowing everyone at home so intimately, he understood them  completely, why they did what they did and how they felt about everything.  There was no miscommunication, no misunderstanding.  And because everyone understood each other, they empathised with each other.  Everyone's feelings were important to everyone, because they all felt them.  In a situation like that, how could anyone seek to hurt or judge anyone else?  Secrets were both impossible and unnecessary.

Sometimes I wish our own planet could be like that.  If we really understood and empathized with each other, we wouldn't look for information that could be used against someone.  And there would be much less need for secrets.


Now go check out the other Round Robin Photo Challenge entries:

Patrick (posted!)


Promise (canceled due to serious illness

Becky (posted!)

Dorn (posted!)

Karen  (posted!)

Betty (posted!)

Carly (posted!)

Mary (posted!)

Sara (posted!)


Renee (posted!)

Dorn (posted!)

Celeste (canceled due to "secret" disappearing photo!)

Phinney (posted!)

Marie (posted!)

Maryanne (added!)

Robin (added!)

Alan (added!)

********** Oh, and I've been tagged! *************

Sam (GaBoatman) tagged me for the meme that's been making the rounds:

The rules are simple:

1) Go to your journal's archives.
2) Find the 23rd post.
3) Find the 5th sentence in that post.
4) Post that sentence with these instructions.
5) Tag five more people.


It's in this entry, dated 4/12/04:

Updates and Things to Come  posted by mavarin (2 comments)

"They are merely a sharing of my experience and information concerning Episcopal practices as I've observed them in recent years."

Pretty dull, huh?  This was me being a little defensive about the fact that I'd written a number of religious entries early on. 

If you haven't done this meme, and you've written 23 or more entries, you can consider yourself tagged.  But only if you want to be!


ondinemonet said...


A very touching entry with a lot of insight in to the fabulous you! Excellent!

Always, Carly :)

gaboatman said...

Wow, this is excellent, Karen.  You did a super job with the pictures and it was interesting an interesting read as well.  Thanks for playing that silly meme I tagged you with, you are a good sport.

kalpal said...

How many lunatics live on that street?


gdireneoe said...

GREAT entry! ;)  C.

dornbrau said...

I love the photo effects, especially the puzzle one.

geminiwilder said...

wow, most interesting photos. very enjoyable entry to read, too!   ~phinney

ryanagi said...

"Some of it's deep dark stuff I don't tell anyone (except maybe John or my doctor)..."

oooo...tantalizing! LOL  good entry

dbp2000 said...

I am fairly new to your journal but it is always interesting.  I especially enjoyed this entry since it expresses so much of how I feel about blogging. I was mulling over a similar post but you have done it far better than I.  Thank you.


tillysweetchops said...

Hi Karen,
What a delightful journal this is. Full of interest and slightly off the wall. Love it and will be back again if that's alright!