I will eventually post about the election. In fact, I’ll probably post about it three times because I have multiple thoughts on it. But this is something that’s been on my mind that I need to get out, even though I’m tired and need to be getting to bed.
I’ve written about the book The Song Reader before. It’s something I think about a lot, whenever the lyrics of a song keep echoing in my mind. And, as anyone who’s Facebook friends with me knows, lately, the song I’ve been listening to over and over is “Between the Lines” by Sara Bareilles. It’s a song I’d heard before but hadn’t listened to closely until last week. There was a specific situation I applied it to, but then I thought about another situation that was very different but equally applicable.
But then I started thinking about the song in a more universal sense. How many things do we attempt to gain knowledge of by reading between the lines?
I remember reading this article in New York magazine, about how the Internet has caused a generation gap (young people are willing to bear their souls online; their parents aren’t). And after reading it, all I could think was…no one reveals everything online, even to their friends. No one.
Excuse my very cheesy analogy, but the Internet, if you will, is like an extremely large collection of doors. There are the doors that are open to everyone. There are the doors that are locked. There are doors that are locked to most people, but that someone has given you the keys to. And there are doors that are open, but that you probably wouldn’t have found if someone hadn’t led you there.
You could all probably figure out what I meant. We’ve all searched for our own open doors—what people can find out about us by Googling us. We Google ourselves, the people we date, the people we crush on. I sometimes Google my friends just for the hell of it. And we make the most of what we have when we run into a locked door—we see if we have mutual friends with someone whose Facebook profile is private, or check if someone’s posted on someone else’s wall. When someone gives us the key to a door, we read whatever we can into his or her goofy poses in photographs or cryptic Livejournal posts. And if we find our way to an open door we weren’t led to, we feel the need to justify it: “Oh, uh…I found your blog after so-and-so linked to it.”
The thing is, though, you could have access to every bit of information available online about a person and still not know anything important about him. While sometimes in this blog I’m just rambling about TV or whining about the T, sometimes it’s my attempt to be honest and just say what I’m thinking without having to say it out loud—and sometimes hoping that someone will read it and say, “OMG, I know EXACTLY what you mean!!!” (in a less annoying way, of course). But there are so many things I can’t put out there, even in writing, even knowing that this is a door that someone would have to be led to. If years from now, I were to look back on this blog as a record of what I was thinking and feeling at the time, I wouldn’t know the half of what was going on with me. The Internet makes it easier to tell some stories and harder to tell others, and there are some that I would love to be able to tell but know that I never will.
I wonder what people will read between the lines of this entry—or between the lines of my recent obsession with “Between the Lines.” Posting that little Facebook status update reminded me of the days in college when we’d post song lyrics on our AIM away messages, leaving people to read between those lines. The funny thing was that sometimes they read them completely wrong. I remember once, I had the lyrics to “Drive” by Incubus up, and I meant it as a kind of expression of independence and individuality. But my friend Jon saw it and immediately IMed me saying, “What’s wrong?” One person’s anthem of living fearlessly is another’s angry rant.
And to bring this post full-circle, that’s one interesting thing about song reading—the same song can’t mean the same thing to two different people. I recently found this from the author of The Song Reader, which helps you figure out how to read between the lines of your songs. It’s something that might help you figure yourself out when you know that the people reading your vague status updates and cryptic blog posts never will.