You know I stalk you, don’t you? Writers love readers. To the point of distraction. Because without a reader, does a writer even really exist? I mean, if I talk to myself in the forest and none of the trees are listening, do I even make a sound . . . ?
So yes, I stalk you. And what makes it even more tantalizing is that I can’t stalk you quite directly. It’s true, unfortunately. I can’t peer through my webcam into yours to see your face as you read my blog. But there are other things I want to see almost as much as that. I want to know what made you come, and which posts you enjoyed, and how long you clicked around, reading the stuff that came out of my head. But more than anything, I want to know where you came from. When I get in stalker mode and open up my google analytics, it’s that map that just fascinates me.
Maybe it’s because I want to visit you back. I’ve never been to Singapore, Slovenia, or Sudan, and I wonder what you’d tell me about your life if I could ask. Maybe it’s because I want to know how you know me. If you’re in California are you my Sunday School teacher from when I was thirteen? Or my favorite librarian? Or my mother, checking up on me? If you’re in Utah, are you my old roommate, or my first kiss? Have I never met you? Are you a friend of a friend? Did you just stumble across Casteluzzo one day by accident, and then stay?
Sometimes I think it’s because I miss the places I’ve already been, where you’re living now. And when I see you coming from far away, it makes me remember how it felt to be there. Is it still raining in Washington and Ireland? If you’re in San Diego, are you reading this on your smartphone at the beach? Will you eat some gazpacho for me in Spain, and some bicol express in the Philippines? And if you’re in Italy somewhere, can we get together sometime over pizza or gelato?
I guess maybe the biggest reason is that it’s just plain lonely sometimes to be an expat. And when I look at that map, and all the people who read my journal, it makes me feel a little less far away from . . . everywhere. And everyone. More than anything, I blog for the human connection. And when it feels like I’m blogging into the empty space of nowhere, I pull up my google analytics and look at you again. Somehow, it makes me feel like you’re right there, listening.