April 25, 1997

Dear Diary:

Weather today -- too early to tell
Mood today -- introspective
Fly count for yesterday -- 0
HF -- 132%

Last week I wrote an entry for this diary that seemed, on the surface, to slam just about every other journal on the web. That entry elicited a lot of email from my fellow diarists, all of it falling somewhere between confusion and outrage. One such letter was from a gentleman who was clearly bewildered that I could lump anyone and everyone who is literate into one group and then summarily dismiss them with obvious disdain. His letter was polite and well-written, though hardly a glimmer of what I was later to discover is genius-range brilliance showed through in it. Suffice it to say I was not intimidated.

I wrote back to the man, explaining my purpose in writing the entry the way I had and pointing out a couple of key considerations which I felt he had missed. My letter was polite, if a bit on the reserved or cool side. I also asked for the URL for his journal, as I had never read it and wanted to do so. It wasn't long until I received a most self-effacing apology back. The author's regret at having misconstrued my intentions was almost palpable, and I felt, quite out of proportion with the seriousness (or lack thereof) of the situation. I was intrigued. I also had, in this second letter, my first hint that I was dealing with someone of vastly superior intelligence. Still, I wasn't intimidated.

I wrote back. He responded. Thus began an ongoing, daily communication between us. At the same time, I began to read his journal. I was ill-prepared for what I found there, and what continued to unfold before me in his emails: absolute genius. Genius beyond any I've ever encountered (and a good portion of my friends fall into the near-genius to genius range). Genius backed up by education (he has a master's degree). A writing style which left me literally breathless. And a vocabulary which sent me (and continues to send me) scrambling for the dictionary with alarming regularity. Now I was intimidated.

At the same time I was reading his journal, he was reading mine. His is comprised of just over two months' worth of entries and took me this entire past week to read; mine is nearly eight months' in length and took him less than a day. Obviously, there is no point to such a comparison, but I found it interesting nonetheless. And he kept notes on my diary, which he kindly shared with me. My intimidation grew.

Somewhere during the course of our emails back and forth, his letters to me took on a quite intimate tone (and no, I don't mean sexual; git yer minds outta the gutter!) and my responses became more soul-baring as well. And I continued reading his journal. It was slow going for me, as I had to reread entire paragraphs quite frequently in order to even begin to understand all that was being said. A couple of the more recent entries I had already, at his request, read out of order (one must read this particular journal in order from beginning to end). When I first read them, I wasn't terribly fazed. However, on my second, more indepth reading, I discovered that these entries *could* be aimed in my general direction and *could* be quite unflattering. But I'm unsure: I know that I have missed so much in his journal, so many levels of meaning, that I'm inclined to question my instincts on this.

His emails, however, continue to offer words of kindness, support, even love. While I have been touched and not a little flattered at his attentions, it's been in the back of my mind all this time: why? Why me? I am so thoroughly mediocre: I cannot offer this person anything in terms of intellectual stimulation. I can barely uphold my end of a dialogue with him. All that he's written me has sounded very sincere and from the heart; but why me? What kind of attraction can *I* possible hold for this man? The only answer I can come up with is: none. It dawned on me yesterday, when I finally finished the last entry in his journal, that perhaps I am being mocked. Perhaps this is some twisted game to make me look the fool, maybe in retaliation for the original entry in my diary that set this chain of events in motion. I want to think that it is not; I don't like the idea that I'm perhaps being paranoid. Nor do I welcome the idea that I'm the butt of some private joke.

I do know one thing: that unless he confesses that this has indeed been a prank, I will never know. His ability is such that he can merrily weave whatever web around me he wants to and I am helpless to do anything more than blunder directly into it.

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Copyright (c) 1997 Elaine M. Jordaan

This page last updated April 25, 1997