(And no, I'm not talking about the size of my ass, thank you very much.)
Remember how I said I was taking my code down? That I was totally over having my writing style or topic matter motivated by how many clicks ran up the ticker, adjusting what I wrote or what I posted according to potential likability? Or that having it embedded made my crazy head run crazier as I attempted to decipher the meaning behind a twenty-three minute visit from someone at the NSA? Yeah, well, I also said I was going to lose ten pounds before the end of the year. Lose, gain – it’s all semantics in the end.
When I relocated to Florida for the holiday, I re-embedded code. Just Sitemeter. My inner cheap Jew made me do it when I got an email that Sitemeter had gone and drafted the $9 monthly fee from my checking account. It felt wrong having spent the money for no good reason. The same way it feels wrong to see a buy-one-get-one-free sign and plunk only one in your cart. Wrong, right? Wronger than wrong. Anyway, I went to Sitemeter, copied the code, popped it into a hidden window of my main page and let it run wild. I didn’t check it with the same regularity as before but I checked it nonetheless. Listen, you try spending eight days at a 55+ plus community in Florida and tell me how well you hold up without Sitemeter as a distraction.
Anyway, my parents use Broadstar down that way. It has to do with the builder and bunch of old people who have yet to get the memo on other providers. Every so often, with my laptop teetering on my knees as I basked in the sun on the lanai, I loaded my page and read it just as you see it. And every so often, when I checked Sitemeter, I saw a visit from Sarasota. A Broadstar user who happened to troll the web via Firefox. Two plus two equals four.
This past Sunday, my vacation came to an end and I caught a late flight home. I stumbled through the door a little before midnight, leaving a trail of clothing and shoes and miscellaneous whatnot in my wake as I relocated to my bedroom. I slid between my crisp sheets, curled up against my fluffy down pillow and drifted off to a blissful sleep. In the morning, I awoke, showered, dressed and went to work. Sitting at my desk, I alternated my time between catching up on piles and catching up on internet searches for really important things like a new L.L. Bean boat tote and MFA programs. When the clock struck four, I went home to get a start on the festivities for the evening.
As I lingered horizontally on my sofa procrastinating away the remaining hours of the afternoon, I loaded my webpage. I scanned some of my older posts, I read some of the newer comments and I wandered to sites I link to in the sidebar. When I realized it was almost half past five, I changed into lycra and got on my treadmill. An hour later, sweaty and tired, I grabbed some water and returned to my sofa, you know, to rest up for the arduous task of showering. This time I loaded Sitemeter.
As I read the details of a recent visitor my stomach curled into a knot so tight I had to bend at the waist. My mouth became pasty, my throat began to close and the beat of my heart punched harder against my chest wall. Because as my eyes scanned the data for a visitor in Sarasota who uses Broadstar, all I could think was that my parents had found my blog. Yes, they know about it but they've never asked for a link. And while I have tried to keep identifying details to a minimum, I’ve admittedly provided ample data to be found by someone capable of doing a general probe. Like pop ‘Paige’ and ‘Philadelphia’ and ‘blog’ into a Google search and I’m about five spots down from the top. And more often than not, people land on my site by accident, searching for Zabar's and somehow ending up with me. I can totally see my mom Googling Ina Garten and landing on my blog. That? That would be my life in a nutshell.
On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked if my mom reads my writing. And I’ve always stated that our relationship is tenuous at best. There are a lot of details that you don’t know or don’t care to know but let’s just say I’ve walked away from my relationship with her before, cutting her off for three months until relenting for the sake of not tearing the entire family apart. She has betrayed me and criticized me and knocked me down when I needed nothing more than to be lifted up. If she were an acquaintance instead of my mother, I would've abandoned the relationship a long time ago. I guess I somehow twisted those deep and very permanent scars into justifying the way I write about her. But as I sat there on my sofa trying to figure out how to best handle the situation, I started to think my reasoning was rather flawed. That even though she hurt me before and every so often hurts me now, it doesn't warrant possibly hurting her. For the first time ever, I found myself evaluating the exchange rate of words as they pertain to relationships.
In the end, the glitch wasn’t me being outted. My mom rang the next morning to wish me a happy new year and nothing was mentioned. And when I went back and looked more closely at the data, I could see Firefox was the search engine. My parents not only have never heard of Firefox but don’t have it loaded on their computer. Shit, if it weren't for me and my brother in-law, my parents would have neither wi-fi nor a printer. So it appears my modem must have somehow retained the Sarasota IP data and that was what Sitemeter captured even though I was leisurely sprawled out in my Philadelphia apartment. Crisis averted. Or was it?
Maybe there never was a crisis to begin with. Maybe I let my imagination get the best of me as I contorted fact into fiction. I mean, neither of my parents have expressed an interest in snooping to read my banter in the two plus years I have been blogging. The likelihood they'd start now as I set out for greener pastures of an MFA is highly unlikely. But as we all know, the past may be an indicator for the future but it is never a guarantee. So as I melted into the sofa, my heart resetting to a more casual pace, I started to seriously consider taking this puppy private. I’d happily only privatize certain posts but, um, Blogger sucks the big one and doesn’t offer such a complicated option. Though Wordpress does. So maybe I need to bounce over there. Sometime last year I reserved this name on that site, perhaps having the foresight to know I'd one day have to abandon Blogger. Though the idea of starting from scratch makes my tummy ache a little. Or maybe I need to just close up shop altogether. As I stretch myself forward as a writer, leaving this blog behind has sometimes felt like the logical next step. Although whenever I tap my toe in the direction of that path, I think of all those published writers who still make the time to blog. Scanning their wise words and funny banter, I have no choice but to be inspired to keep posting.
Man, life would be so much easier if I just didn’t have to be mature. Watching Olivia splash around in the pool in her red babysoup with white polka dots and a big cut out at the belly to represent the center of a yellow sunflower, I was a little envious. And when she hopped out of the pool, grabbed her crotch with both hands and announced to everyone within earshot that she needed to tee-tee, I was downright jealous. Those antics on a three year old are precious. Makes you want to scoop them up and gobble them down. But on me? Yeah, being mature sucks.