In December, when I was working on 30 Days Notice (a blog that was an essay a day) I attracted the attention of a woman in the Pacific northwest somewhere. She “liked” nearly every post, and commented frequently. Once, when I’d hit “publish” too soon, and then deleted the half-written post, she sent me an email apologizing for sending me an email- to tell me that my link was returning a 404 error message. I wrote and explained the situation.
When 30 Days came to a close, I wrote less frequently. Then, in part, encouraged by this woman’s own blog, “Stopping the Wind,” I decided to make this project a public one, and Lee was back again, commenting and encouraging. Her own blog is about her desire to hike the Machu Picchu. But she is very overweight, a smoker, addicted to Cheetos, $80 grand in debt. So she has set up intermittent goals and started dealing with the issues that stand between her and Peru. It seems that she may make it there in about 5 years, which is great progress, because I think it was something like 14 years when she started.
I keep looking for the clues that should have told me she was unbalanced.
One day, someone posted a little meme on Facebook that I thought she would find encouraging and I sent it to her. In response, I received this incredibly hostile email demanding to know how I’d found her email address. When I remarked about this to my own community at Facebook, a couple of people said “Looney Tunes” and “You can’t fix crazy.” But softy that I am, I am willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. I wrote back with a copy of our original email exchange and she was apologetic and I just chalked it up to “one of those things.”
So last week, she commented on the blog about how all her careful eating and so forth had been derailed because she got really hungry working on a project and went for fast food. I asked her where she went and she said “McDonald’s” and that she’d had a double cheeseburger. It’s not what I would choose at McDonald’s, but it’s not the end of the world either. She went on to talk about Whole Foods and that she didn’t like supporting McDonald’s because of their business practices.
Now, I get that to some extent. We really try hard to stay out of Wal-Mart because we think their business practices are disgraceful. But McDonald’s– eh, not so bad as fast food places go. They’ve taken some green steps by eliminating most of their styrofoam consumption (though that decimated the styrofoam industry in this country by about half– remember all those little styrofoam boxes?) they only use US beef, and they are forthright about the nutritional data of their foods, printing that information on the back of every paper tray liner. Plus they do a lot for children charities, donate to local groups for fundraising and events, and so forth. There are worse fast food chains, certainly.
On the flip side of this, I don’t care for Whole Foods. Their CEO is . . . .well, the less said the better. I find a kind of smug, self-righteousness among both the shoppers and the staff and their stuff is all way overpriced. But that’s just my opinion. I don’t shop there, but if you want to, have at it. I thought when we moved here that I’d be at Trader Joe’s all the time, but it turns out that they too wear thin after a while.
Anyway, I commented back to this woman most of what I’ve just said here . . . mostly so she would stop beating up on herself for eating a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s, and I got this hot-under-the-collar response about being respectful. I was starting to hear those little bells I’d first heard at “Where did you get this email address??!!” So I sent back a little smiley face and said “You’re the one that ate at McDonald’s.”
All this week, she hasn’t liked or commented on anything I’d posted– which was unusual. She had an interesting post yesterday and I clicked the button that said I “liked” it. Today all of her posts are set to “private,” which means you can’t read them unless you are invited. I can read the opening sentence of “I Set My Blog to Private” and it says that she discovered that someone who knows her “in real life” has been “following” her blog. But because this coincided with the very hours in which I “liked” her post and in which she stopped “following” this blog, I think we can unequivocally say that she is fibbing.
In retrospect the clue that she was not quite right was that she quit her Facebook account because she was afraid that her blog might find its way on there and that people she knows “in real life” would discover it. I told her that Facebook had been a great boon to me in terms of my own blog, that most of my readership was there. (You can get a lot of readers through Word Press if you troll around “following” people’s blogs– they will “follow” yours in return, but really I’d rather just have people find their own way here. ) But she was more afraid that people she knew would discover her “secret.”
I’ll miss her comments, and I’ll miss following her progress and I wish her well. But she’s got a lot more work to do than lose weight, stop smoking, stop eating Cheetos and clear up her debt. Hey, Lee, stop hiding your true self under a basket. Stop being afraid of who you are. Get some help.
Record keeping updates (it’s Monday after all) to follow shortly.