Being Betrayed by Strangers: The Invisible Audience

I was going to work more on a couple of posts I’ve been writing for the past couple of days, one being a sort-of follow up to my last post on stress, and others more silly a something Lexy and I talked of, but here I am writing this.

I don’t know how many people go out and read unfinished or finished works by strangers on the internet–silly, I know, considering I’m currently writing to an invisible audience who may have already left for another site by now–but I’m going to assume that we all have people who we like to read from.

And it really is reading FROM.

It feels like Grammar will soon come up to me and give me a good smack for that, but you are reading what strangers have put out to the Invisible Audience, born from their imaginations.

How they put things, how they see things, how they cope with what has happened, we read it and we judge it and we decide if we like it or not, and if we read enough of it, we like enough of what we’ve read, like how they’ve written, we become fans.

We read more.

We like them more, FOR reading of their ideas.

We develop this faith in them, not like a religion, but like a childs’ faith that Santa exists, or their faith that Adults (particularly Parents) know pretty much everything and can always tell when you’ve done something You Shouldn’t Have Done.

This faith says that they will continue to write things you like.

They, this stranger you have put faith into, will continue producing this writing quality you enjoy.

I don’t know WHAT yo end up reading online, you could read news articles, you could read blogs, you could read published books that may have been put onto the internet with or without permission, you could read fanfiction, porn, ads, tweets, facebooks updates…

I really don’t know, but guaranteed you have a site that you go to regularly, or a writer you check up on often, or SOMETHING that keeps you coming back….

Because you have faith that they will continue putting something you find interesting and GOOD online.

The way it develops for most people, I believe, is that you read one thing from them, this Stranger, that you like.

So you check out other things of theirs that they’ve posted.

I find myself doing this the most on fanfiction.net

I read a story I like and check out what else the writer has posted on their profile.

I don’t read EVERYTHING of theirs, no, but if they have written something for a fandom that I like, and the plot summary or teaser interests me, I will read more of what they’ve written.

In some cases, like what prompted me to start writing this particular post, I like what I’ve read of what they’ve written that I decide to click on the stories that they’ve put up in a fandom I like that I don’t think seems particularly interesting.

I caught myself doing this for an author called esama (BETRAYAL! s/he’s moved all her fics and it’s taken me this long to find them HERE!) after reading a good deal of this Strangers Sherlock stories that I decided that I like how they portray the characters, I like how they’ve used certain crossovers, I like pretty much everything.

So I started reading one story that I didn’t think looked that interesting, and then decided it was really good. Went onto the next one that I thought didn’t look interesting, and decoded I really liked it.

On the third one, which is just now in another tab, waiting for me to get this thought out of my head before reading it, it crossed my mind that right now, I’m expecting this story to be good, I expect to be adding it to my ‘favourites’ list, and I expect that I will be extremely disappointed in this author if this doesn’t turn out to be awesome.

I mean, I already have this author on my subscriptions list, and on my favourites list, what if this turns out to be a BAD story? What if it’s total crap?

I don’t know that it’s crap at the moment, as I haven’t read it yet, but I feel like I would be feeling pretty betrayed if this author who I don’t know doesn’t live up to my expectations.

I know that betrayed may not be the right word, but disappointed may also work if you don’t want to admit that the inner 5-year-old inside of you that judges everything would feel betrayed–betrayed in the same way as I remember being when my Dad refused to tell me what something meant and directed me to a dictionary, the same way I know I felt betrayed when, in that last year of desperately believing in Santa Clause I decided to give him one last chance to prove he was real, and he failed. Because in my mind, if Santa was really as amazing as everyone said he was, he would get the letter I left out for him on Christmas night and produce whatever it was I put on that letter even on such short notice.

Of course Santa is real, but he has more of a business happening, wheer he reads your mind and puts gifts in stores for family members to buy.

But that’s a theory for another post.

But the faith that we all put into strangers still amazes me.

The following that some writers get is staggering…

Or, if you’re more of a YouTube person, consider the vloggers out there.

You hit that subscribe button figuring that they will continue giving you the entertainment you are looking for.

Sure, you get a sort of relationship with people over the internet, reviewing/commenting and giving your opinion on what they have displayed for the Invisible Audience, but they are still, essentially, strangers.

And yet, on YouTube I get excited when one of my comments gained 21 thumbs up…

Strangers are fun…

The internet is a wonderful place, I think…

*THUNK* AAAAAH! Save the Birds

Today I was startled from working on Part 2 of my Woofstock post by a startling noise combination.

*Thunk*

AAAAAAHHHH!

And then general sounds of bustling around.

I had thought that perhaps someone in my family unfamiliar (like one of my parents, or Emma) with how to use our chuck-it (a ball flinger) had jokingly gestured with it towards our back deck, and, in the way luck usually goes, a ball was flung at one of our windows and the rebound nearly hit Lexy.

Maybe on the back of her head, maybe on her arm, but I was picturing it as it was nearly hitting her in the head.

No, not because I have secret wishes of violence towards Lexy, but because it is usually the worst possible (and most times most amusing) situation that runs through my head.

So I ran to the back door, expecting someone injured (possibly) and someone embarrassed (possibly), and likely someone laughing.

If no one was there to laugh, I feel a bit as if I would have been the one to laugh, after asking the needed “what’s wrong?”.

That was not the case.

No laughing.

No.

I looked out our screen door and saw Lexy pulling and excited looking Gwynn off of our back porch, and Mom and Dad looking worried.

It is at this point that I should tell you that my actual first thought about what the *THUNK* noise was, was that it was a bird, as many, many birds end up hitting into the window right next to the computer, and then fly away. occasionally a lesser *THIK* will hit the window, and it will turn out to be a rather large bug.

But this happens regularly, the *THUNK* fly away.

Less, now, that we have shadow stickers on our windows, but I’ll get more on that later.

But it was the following “AAH!” that threw me off, as well as a moment of poor directional hearing.

Here is a picture of the window by the computer in our living room.

To the left, if you could see below it, there would be the porch, and my sister sitting in a chair right below it...

The window that I thought the bird had hit was the one to the right. After I heard Lexy yell I thought that a ball had hit the window, not a bird, and that, as I said earlier, it hit Lexy (prompting the “Aah!”).

But back to the story. Lexy was pulling Gwynn away, and dad was not looking happy. In front of one of the chairs was a little yellow thing.

As you can see, this was no ball...

It was not a Ball.

And it was obvious why Gwynn was looking so excited.

He probably thought it was a chew toy that came from above.

Mom thought we should probably move it, but Dad was pretty stern in saying “NO.”

I remember last summer I was working up near Thunder Bay at a dock, cleaning off the underside of boats to prevent invasive species from spreading, and a woodpecker flew into a door. I was fairly far away at the time, and was pretty worried, but before I could get there, some people started crowding around.

One guy had the bright idea to try to pick it up.

The stunned woodpecker had enough energy to recognize that it was injured, and a large THING was touching it, so it did what any injured and confused animal would do.

It fled.

Flew a fair distance too, right into the edge of a dock, whereupon it sunk in the water.

So Mom did not move the bird. It was a good idea, at least in the mindset that Gwynn was still looking longingly at the bird, but we just took him inside for untill the bird left.

It did not move for a while either, but I could see its beak moving, probably from it freaking out.

We left it alone, making dinner (which had SOME mild interaction with it, since it was right in front of our bbq, and we needed it to make dinner), and I thought it had died from shock, since I couldn’t see its beak moving anymore.

It’s legs were pulled up tight to its body, and it’s beak wasn’t moving. I wasn’t about to feel and see if it’s chest was moving, so Dad suggested/Told us to leave it alone still.

I left for a while, and then, TADA! It wasn’t on its side anymore! It was just sitting on our porch!

HE LIVES! For now...

 It was very exciting, and dad was quick to point out that he was right in leaving it alone.

But it wasn’t moving after that.

What a great thing to happen on Father’s day, huh? And right in front of Dad too… But then again, it happened pretty much ON TOP of Lexy, so at least it isn’t as bad as it could have been.

I left again, after taking the picture, very happy that the little guy was living.

I have to admit that the reason why I decided to take pictures in the first place (besides the fact that I now have bloggeritis, a disease that says “take a picture, and write about it!”), was because if it didn’t live I was going to write a memorial Blog for it, and encourage people to put shadow stickers on their windows, but, it seems like the little guy had a will for life.

The next time I checked, he was still there, and even the time after that, and I was kind of worried about him possibly being dead even after standing up (“If I have to die be some strange bit of solid air, I’m gonna do it standing, dammit!”), but on the third check, he wasn’t there.

Now here’s where the crazy and sane parts of me kick in.

Sane: “YES! He LIVES! Fly Free and Alive Cute Yellow One!”

Insane: “Oh my GOD! Gwynn got out and ATE HIM!”

I happily told Mom and Dad about the fact that the bird was gone, since, the Sane part of me said that if Gwynn had gotten out, SOMEONE would have noticed, right?

Insane: “OhMyGOD! Hunter ATE HIM!!”

Sane went quiet.

For those of you who don’t know, Hunter is the stray black cat with green eyes that hunts around my back yard. He walks like a hunter, which is why I call him that, and he kills the pigeons in our backyard. Also, he walks like a villain in a children’s movie, like Edgar from Arisocats.

Mom calmed me down by saying that yeah, he few off a few minutes ago.

Sane breathed a sigh of relief, even as Insane muttered about how the Yellow One was safe, but the Pigeons probably weren’t.

I put off finishing off my Woofstock Pt 2 post to tell people about this struggle (?) for life, and about the hazards our windows pose for our feathered neighbors.

If you scroll up to the picture of the two windows by my computer, you will notice the shadowish looking bird shadow on the window to the right. That was put there so that it would show that there was something solid there, or at least something that the birds should avoid (hence the predator-bird shape, rather than a sparrow or something).

If you have window space that is clear , and have nothing in the way of it, please put up a sticker, or some other indication thing on your windows.

They do not damage your windows, and you don’t have to get them wet or sticky to put them on, though it is suggested to put them on the inside of your window rather than the outside.

Save your feathered friends the trauma of hitting a window.

It’s not a nice sound, and it is rather startling to see little poufs of feathers floating away, as once happened when a Bluejay hit the window.

That bird was well enough to fly away immediately (Insane muttered about the unfairness that none of the pretty feathers fell off, only the grey blah looking tiny ones), and this Yellow Finch today managed to fly away after about an hour of sitting in shock, but it is always a worry that some day Hunter will get a free snack, thanks to one of our windows.

Check out this site and this birding site  for some more ways to keep birds from hitting your windows.

Also, if you notice, hitting something when you are unaware of it is much more painful than if you notice it at the last second. Windows are always clear to birds, and it has the bad joke at the end in the fact that they still don’t know what hit them afterwards.

Not all birds are like Angry Bird, and can go through things like that.

He's angry because his brethren are being held up to his unrealistic standard! He will not stand for this!

 Save the Birds!

Buy a sticker!