Monday, March 8, 2010

Chapter 19: The Virtual Way

Karen stifled a laugh. Yishai's emails always made her smile. He took what she'd written, and pinged it back with a twist, adding another smart, amusing, facet.

There was something about the Internet, about corresponding with each other only through the written word, which caused communicating to be much deeper. It was as if they had skipped the shallow facade of looks and gestures, of dressing up and being introduced, of polite nonentities and social norms, and delved straight to the essence. She felt freer to speak her mind, to share the private and personal. She wasn't shy, or embarrassed. Because he wasn't here. He couldn't see her, he couldn't watch her face. She didn't blush, and her voice didn't drop to a whisper, unconsciously. They were only emailing.

Also, it turned out that she liked writing. She could pause, and think, and go back a line to delete, fix, clarify. There was no rush to press send, Karen could wait until she'd managed to express herself to her satisfaction. It wasn't like a date, a conversation, where by the time she'd worked out what she wanted to say, it was too late, they were onto a new topic. It wasn't like life, where she'd let slip a sentence, and it would hang in the air, irreversible, and often taken the wrong way.

Because Karen did have quirks, opinions that differed from society's standard lines of thinking. She'd scared more than one boy off, when she'd expressed them. But Yishai she could explain herself to. Yishai understood. Often he even felt the same way. That was heaven, when she discovered she was not alone, was not so peculiar, heretical, after all.

It was such a pity this couldn't work out, didn't stand a chance. Unless he hadn't meant it.

Maybe it was merely a word to him, a title, a phrase. Maybe it wasn't what it sounded like.


  1. Huh? I don't get the last two paragraphs? Is it meant to be obscure to the reader, for now?

  2. That's the problem with texting, instant messaging etc-sometimes you misunderstand something or write something you would never say face to face.

  3. Anonymous, it makes perfect sense if you remember this part:

    There was one thing that bothered Karen, about Yishai's profile. There was one statement there, that didn't fit in with what she was looking for, that could be a problem, a rather big one in fact. But she decided to ignore it, for the meanwhile.

    From Chapter 16: Daring to Drive.

  4. I should really go back and read the entire novel from the start, but this chapter really struck a chord with me.

    Using AIM or email can be incredibly liberating, but also entirely misleading - it gives you a chance to let down one kind of facade (the acting in person not-like-yourself kind) and raise another (write whatever I want, without realizing the need for restraint/thinking things are progressing well when in reality not much real relationship building has been accomplished).

    And from personal experience, this kind of electronic interaction lends itself better to infatuation than real connection, which can lead to disappointment.

    The notion of not really being sure what the person is saying is also rather intrinsic and significant. We already overanalyze what our date does in person, but at least there are is a lot more to go on (tone of voice, facial expression, body language) than just text on a screen.

    Great chapter!