My good friend, walking companion and personal collagist, Alan Ciantar, dubbed for me the term soft copy/hard copy friends.
His meaning behind this becomes clear when you begin to associate people with the modern age of internet communication. On my travels I intend to see many people who I’ve met personally and known for some period of time, like Tina, Jackie, Aunty Alvi, etc.
I’ve known Jacks, or more appropriately she has known me, since I was a wee wippersnapper with white blond hair and about four feet of height. Since then I’ve gained a couple of more feet (length, not limbs), an attitude, and roughly one or two more kilos. In one comical example of being a sibling pest, my sister spent her honeymoon in England, staying with Jacks and family. Now being of the English persuasion, I will neither confirm nor deny Jacks’ penchant for Australian soap-operas (just don’t call the house when Neighbours is on). Needless to say, that as my sister plonked herself down on the couch with Jacks in her English living room in the early 1990s, and guess who’s face should be wandering around the Bay Side Diner on Home And Away? Yes, doing extra work (or the more pc term non-speaking void filling periphery artiste) does have it’s benefits when you want to annoy your own sister twelve thousand kilometres away.
So Jacks is what Al would call a “hard copy” friend.
Now as most of you know I am an avid facebooker and have a plethora of online friends that I speak to regularly over the internet, whether in written form or through the miracle that is Skype. In this group I would class The Emu, The Shank, The Snuggie Woman, Sputz, The Russian, The Lady of Long Island, et al. These are what Al calls my “soft copy” friends. People who I have chatted to, spoken to over the internet, but never met physically.
So what happens when “soft” suddenly turns “hard”? (Oh, a double entendre that would make even Benny Hill snigger in his grave.)
Suddenly I am now confronted with Dave, Michal, Sam and Vlad as real people in my life, and no loinger just words on a screen and voices over the internet. Are they what I have perceived them to be? Do I live up to expectations?
There are a lot of freaks out there in the internet … let me say that again. There are A LOT of freaks out there in the internet. But somehow, I seem to have filtered out the detritus and landed myself with relatively normal soft copy friends that have immediately moved into hard copy status. I am fortunately that as I have tried to portray myself as normal and truthfully as I perceive myself online, so too have this motley crew from extremely diverse backgrounds. There has been a sense of meeting old friends, rather than blind dating strangers off the internet. And that’s be kind of comforting as well.
Although don’t believe a word of the lie, Sam is a total short arse.