I received a rather alarming wake-up call recently, and I'm sharing this as a cautionary tale: I was recognized by someone I don't know. And this isn't the first time.
I kind of look at this blog as an anonymous thing. I don't trumpet it except through Twitter and, more recently, on Instagram, though I keep that as a private account. If you follow me on Twitter or on Instagram, I have links back to the blog. But I don't advertise it on my personal Facebook account, where most "friends" know me already, in my "Clark Kent" guise. I guess I'm just a little self-conscious about letting those who know me best to see my public persona as a blogger. It allows me to be just a bit more free in my writing if I know my family doesn't read what I'm writing about. Especially since, sometimes, it's about them!
A few years ago, my church, Grace Community, held a big outdoor service "out on the lawn," I was recognized by a blog reader who goes to my church. He surprised me, in a good way, but it was the first time that had happened, and I was a little bit taken aback. I don't write this blog for any kind of adulation or attention. It's a personal thing for me. It started out as a way for me to journal, but I soon discovered that it would be a personal way for me to remember and post about my wife. I also found that I actually like to write, and I have a story to tell. Whether others wanted to read it was secondary, but I've been surprised, and just a little humbled, by how many actually do read it, though my time away over most of the past year lowered the readership substantially.
But this isn't about the blog. I was recognized for a completely different reason, and it caused me to think about this subject. A few months ago, my daughter and I were at the Bengies Drive-in, and we were recognized by one of the regular employees. In the past, we always took my little 2-seat Mazda to the theater, but, more recently, over the past several years, it has been easier to take our Jeep Wrangler, since it provides a lot more room and comfort to spread out, which is nice to have when you're over six feet tall. We were recognized by the employee because he remembered we usually are in the Mazda, though, and he asked me about it. I came away from that exchange feeling troubled.
I think of myself as a background kind of guy, with average looks and a "blend-into-the-woodwork" demeanor. My daughter and I are out and about quite a bit, and, again, I kind of assume that we're just an average twosome when we're in public, not standing out in any way. But I started to wonder what might cause us to stand out from the crowd. I don't know what it might be.
In today's age, where everyone seems to want their moment in the sun, and given how easy that is with social media, I feel it's better to not stand out. While that might sound funny from someone who writes a public blog, there are way too many crazy people out there. It's just too easy for others to find information about your private life, and that's kind of scary, too. When the boundary between those who actually know you is crossed by those who only know you from social media, it makes me a bit nervous, more so for my daughter's sake than my own. So I take some precautions.
But out in the real world, it's a little different. In the case of the incident at the Bengies, I'm not too overly concerned because the recognition was only in relation to the vehicles I drive. But it gives me pause, and I'm more cognizant of it now.
Have a great evening, everyone.