The Wandering Monk has missed or miscommunicated about a couple of neighborhood appointments this week, so neighbor J. texted to see if I knew where and how he was. She added she thought she’d seen him on a bike, disappearing down an alley beside a certain building in town. Ninety-nine percent sure, she said, although we agreed that was highly unlikely.
Then today I went past that building, and there was the Monk’s doppelganger. Same lean build. Same angular features, same dark hair in a ponytail, same doo-rag around his forehead, similar face. Except that this was clearly the evil twin. Although I saw him only for seconds, his presence was very dark.
I later told J. about it and she joked that maybe he could come do construction when the Monk couldn’t be found. I offered to be her bodyguard. She said she’d greet him with her Rottweiler and his brothers.
Edgar Allen Poe could have written a story about the Monk and this guy. So weird J. and I discovering him in nearly the same spot on consecutive days. Maybe he lives in the neighborhood. I hope not.
This is a story the Monk has to hear, of course, though I suspect it will disturb his superstitions.
This has been a week of seeing evil twins for me.
It’s been a week of seeing the evil twins of the Internet. All week I’ve experienced the kind of petty malice that the ‘Net so well facilitates.
That’s not the kind of world I inhabit. Not that I’m unaware what it’s like out there in the big ugly ‘Net. But I spend my online life isolated from it. I do my best to avoid it, and I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who can argue with civility and support with good grace. There’s a minimum of name-calling, trollery, or enmity in this little world here, and I cherish that (as, I think, do most of you). Even when tempers get hot, people behave like decent human beings. We don’t take to petty online campaigns at each other.
But this week I’ve seen a rash of … well, some of the ‘Net’s less pleasant, though hardly its worst. In some cases, I’m dealing with strangers or unknown trolls. In several cases, it’s been unpleasantness from someone I thought highly of. I’m like, who are these people? Did I ever know them or is there some way I could have missed this about them?
Why am I suddenly seeing all the evil twins?
Rhetorical question. I know why. It’s hardly even worth going into, it’s such a small business. Or ought to be.
Bottom line: I’ve craved a mental-health day since last weekend, and today I took one. Well, half of one. I shut down the computer (after asking the tech geniuses to be on the lookout for problems), and paid attention to the day.
It was warm and sunny after morning gloom. Ava and I went down to the water and sat watching fishing boats come in. Then time for two episodes of Downton Abbey (season three, whose ending moments I hate more than anything else in the series).
I tried to think about the future. I didn’t get very far with that, but I wound down. And was able to think of the good people again. The people who have something to say and say it with honorable argument instead of vulgar mudfights. The people who recognize that life exists outside of the hypnotic screen. The people who stand up for what they believe, support their friends (including, emphatically, me), keep things in proportion, and sometimes dazzle with great senses of humor or personal expertise offered with great generosity.
And the day was good.