I'm not quite sure how it happened. A while before Christmas I gave up Canal World Discussion Forums, exasperated by a few trolls and an off-colour joke (no surprise that someone made the joke, but I reported it and the mods did nothing about it). So I just gave it up, cold turkey. For a while it was gloriously liberating. Suddenly there were more hours in the day as I sat at my desk. Suddenly I was no longer deliberately allowing myself to be irritated by total strangers' attitudes to the European Union/earth bonding/bridge hopping.
And yet somehow it has sucked me back in. I can't recall what it was that first made me take that first, fatal, little peek again. And suddenly, over this bank holiday weekend, I'm in it up to my neck again, worse than ever I think. Posting and commenting here there and everywhere; getting cross and exasperated and in turn annoying others all over again.
But there is more to it than that. Over the last few days I have sent a total stranger a Leo McNeir book that I no longer wanted, asked and received advice about licencing (as well as my mental state), been complimented on pictures of the boat, and found as many friends as enemies. The online world and the discussions in the Virtual Pub are a strange world, inhabited by oddly-named characters who may or may not bear any resemblance to actual people (or elephants), but they are none the less real for that. Solid, human friends like Bones, Baldock (I think he's human) and Moominpapa were met for the first time in cyberspace and might not otherwise have been met at all.
And of course if you don't like it, you can walk away. But you'll be back.