Monday, October 8, 2012

Blah Blah Blogging - I Swear I'm Not Swearing

     It has been explained to me but I still don’t like it. Sometimes when I post a comment on another blog, Nib’s End shows up as Nib's End. My husband says it is because my computer does not speak the same language as your computer. But it looks too aggressive, too vulgar. It says: “I’m Nib freakin’ End! Now deal with it!” I hope you know by now that I am not that harsh, and I am definitely not in the habit of cursing either friends or strangers.

Le Pouce - Paris
     When we were in São Paulo last Fall, my husband and I went to dinner at the home of one of his colleagues. Our host made us pizza. He made everything from scratch and baked the pizzas over eucalyptus wood in his brick oven. When he asked me how I liked my meal, I gave him the “O.K.” signal. I don’t know much Portuguese, but I do know how to say muito bom—very good. If my mouth hadn’t been full, I would have told him that it was the best pie I had ever tasted and that, going forward, it would be the standard to which all subsequent pizzas must be measured. Too late. In Brazil that particular hand gesture is obscene. It does not mean okay, very good or anything even remotely positive. I should have given him a thumbs up. Thankfully, he saw the horror in my face as I realized my indiscretion and he smiled indulgently.

     It isn’t the first time I have been dependant on the indulgence and grace of others as I negotiate the gaps between cultures.

     The blogoshpere has been around a long while now, but I am still a novice, a visitor to what sometimes feels like a foreign country. I am still learning the culture and the language. People from all over the world are interacting with one another on a daily basis. In the process, I suspect that toes sometimes get stepped on. I beg your indulgence if I ever step on yours.

     In many ways social media seems like a free for all—all the more reason to subscribe to some form of etiquette—but most of the web logs I have visited are being written by kind and decent people who wish to be courteous to one another. Irish Mise over at Pretty Far West defines Blogtopia as “a place where everything is lovely, even if it isn’t, and everyone is charming and supportive and has written a little poem.” Mise seems like the kind of woman who would smile indulgently at me if I inadvertently flipped her the bird. And if it looks like I am swearing at her when I leave a comment on one of her posts, she has been too gracious to mention it.

     So then, despite the impression that Nib's End might give, I too will subscribe to an etiquette of grace.

photo credit Robert Harding

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