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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Worlds colliding

I have quite a few worlds. 

There is my pre-marriage world consisting mostly of musician friends and old girlfriends.  There is the world of friends I share with my wife consisting of people we've met since we were married.  There is my Israeli world, divided along work and leisure lines.  And of course there is my blogging world made up of fellow navel-gazers.

I can't really explain why, but like George Costanza, I don't enjoy it when any of my world's collide.  I'm honestly the same person in all of these various worlds... but for some reason I feel like people relate to me in slightly different ways in each... making it initially uncomfortable for me, wondering if everyone's impressions of me match up.

Yes, it's all about me.

Obviously there is bound to be a certain amount of overlap of worlds considering that the Jewish world just isn't that big.  For instance, my lovely (and patient) wife has pretty much resigned herself to running into my old girlfriends almost any time we go anywhere together.  I'm guessing she takes it as a positive sign that I managed to remain friendly with them after the 'it's not you, it's me' conversation... not to mention that we wouldn't have even met had an old girlfriend of mine neglected to introduce us.

But for the most part, when my various world's collide it feels suspiciously like parent-teacher night (with me as the student).  I mention all this because two of my worlds recently collided and I'm really not sure how I'm taking it. 

On the one hand is a musician friend I've known for going on 20 years.  He is an 87-year-old European alter-yid (old Jew) who in real life happens to reside in the body of a guy not much older than myself. 

On the other hand is a blogger friend of mine who is also part of my relatively new Israeli world.  He too is a European alter-yid in a young man's body, but for some reason the dynamic of our friendship has a slightly different flavor... perhaps owing to the fact that we met after both having gotten careers and family well underway.

I first clued into the fact that these two (or maybe three) worlds had collided when I saw that my musician friend had begun commenting on my blogger/Israeli friend's site.  This by itself wouldn't have been too alarming since my blogroll is an obvious conduit through which any of my worlds might gain access to this blogger friend.

But as I read a recent comment I noticed with growing dis-ease that the two seemed to have met at a recent affair of some sort... and somehow made the connection with me.

Frankly, this is akin to accidentally discovering cold fusion while making iced tea as far as I'm concerned, since these two people have never been introduced... and my blogger friend has taken great pains to remain anonymous to his readers.

But you can bet I am going to get to the bottom of how they met.

You see, this Thursday evening this blogger friend and I will be lifting a tumbler of Bourbon with a visiting American blogger friend of ours (See?! No problem there since they both belong to my blogger world!).  And when we do, you can bet that I'll put the kibosh on this business of friends from different worlds meeting and conversing behind my back!



Posted by David Bogner on September 13, 2006 | Permalink


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Hey . . .

Posted by: Sarah | Sep 13, 2006 3:58:41 PM

keep in mind that this american blogger friend (i) drinks scotch, not bourbon, and (ii) is worried about ending up driving into Ramalah even if he is sober, so will have to temper the drinking part.

Sarah, I'm happy to pick you up on the way if you aren't worried about ending up in ramallah. (I first have to do a little business relating to the CD but it won't take long).

send me an email

Posted by: mochassid | Sep 13, 2006 4:17:13 PM

Sarah... As MoC pointed out, this was an impromptu thing that sprung up because he has to come to the town where Ben and I live on business. Not only that, but because of said business meeting and a 'meet the teacher' meeting on our part we aren't going to be able to get together much before 9:00PM. I promise you that nobody was trying to break up our long-standing breakfast club. Really.

MoC... Not to worry, I keep Scotch in the house for the amha'arzim who wander in from time to time. :-) And as far as getting last, you have a much higher probability of stumbling into Bethlehem, AL Khadar, Halhoul, Ibdal Ibrahim or Hussan if you wander drunkenly off the derech.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Sep 13, 2006 4:42:05 PM

It's a little like seeing links to, and comments on, Treppenwitz coming from my blog-buddy Yabu, whom I have met several times in Real Life here in the southeastern U.S. The bloggy world is all about the connections, and we shouldn't be surprised when some of those connective networks overlap.

Posted by: Elisson | Sep 13, 2006 5:08:39 PM


That makes me feel much better.

Posted by: mochassid | Sep 13, 2006 5:54:01 PM

Why do I feel like I was learning a blat gemarah while reading this post?

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Sep 13, 2006 5:59:12 PM

From time to time I have heard the names of various blogs I read/comment on mentioned at various shul gatherings.

It always strikes me as being a little surreal.

Posted by: Jack | Sep 13, 2006 6:07:51 PM

It would've made for a better story if I had put an ad in the Village Voice calling together all Yiddish-speaking Treppenwitz readers. But I'm afraid the truth is a lot more prosaic: a third alter yid in a young body who happens to know us both introduced us at a wedding. It's a very tight union we got, you know.

Posted by: Ben Chorin | Sep 13, 2006 6:31:38 PM

see...if you were all women, someone would have called from the 'affair of some sort' and after jumping up and down and screaming, 'doris, you aren't going to believe this! guess who is standing next to me even as we speak? go ahead...guess!' she would have thrown the phone into selma's hands and you could have asked all your questions right then and there...you men are so subtle...when you find out the rest of the story quick write a blog...the suspence is killing me...stay safe

Posted by: marallyn | Sep 13, 2006 9:16:25 PM

It's kinda like when I was in 2nd grade and ran into Mrs. Jacobson (my teacher) at Heinen's (my grocery store).

It blew me away. I remember thinking...wait, she...grocery shops? No way. She is my teacher. She only exists..at school.

Posted by: Stacey | Sep 13, 2006 9:33:40 PM

I am the same way with colliding worlds. I love it when friends of mine meet each other and hit it off, but only if they are from the same world. Otherwise, it's just too weird....like my past colliding with my future before I am ready to be there...enjoy the scotch and bourbon lifting!

Posted by: mcaryeh | Sep 13, 2006 10:08:46 PM

Hmmm..... third young alter yid.... can that be the first alter yid's former flat-mate?

And yes.... we have noticed what a tight union you've got! :-)

Posted by: zahava | Sep 13, 2006 11:16:44 PM

Your post reminds me of that Seinfeld episode, I forget what exactly happened but George didn't want to have dinner with his girlfriend and Jerry at the same time. He said there was "friendship George" and "relationship George," and if the two Georges collided it would be a catastrophe. I never saw the difference between the two, but anyway...

It is surreal when real life friends mention my blog! I almost expect it to be a shot in the dark, a call to strangers from far corners of the planet, not my very own 3-D flesh-and-blood friends. I guess "Blogging Chantal" and "talking Chantal" don't really mix either.

But have fun with your friends! I'm sure they'll find common ground, and if not you can at least drink a lot of bourbon together. :)

Posted by: Chantyshira | Sep 13, 2006 11:22:03 PM

Since I have a good idea who the first alter yid is, and I have a feeling that I am the flat mate in question, I don't think I was involved in making any intros. On the other hand, I don't know who the second alter yid is, so who knows who I introduced to whom in the last two weeks when Alter Yid one and I have played a a number of affairs.
Got all that?

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Sep 14, 2006 12:43:05 AM

I, for one, feel your pain.


In a moment of weakness, I succumbed to Jewish guilt and gave my mother the URL to my blog and I have been regretting that bonehead move ever since.

The good thing, I 'spose, is that her ever-watchful eye keeps me honest (but not too) honest.

Posted by: erica | Sep 14, 2006 12:52:50 AM

yeah, it is nice when friends meet and get along but when from 'different worlds' it's a bit weird.

scotch always does help to make such meetings more comfortable!

Posted by: Sarah | Sep 14, 2006 2:47:08 AM

The Flatmate was there but he didn't make intros....The forshteller was a non musician.....and I made the connection to his Blog on my own....I'm not even sure that the Forshteller(look it up Amerikaners) knew of the Blog....Enjoy the L'Chaim...BTW though I've never met the American Blogger guest.. we have communicated by Email and I knew his extended family growing up in Eur....I mean a small very Jewish Pennsylvania town.... I think of his late Uncles davening every year around these times...

Posted by: Alter Yid #1 (I think) | Sep 14, 2006 4:10:57 AM

Just Reread the post and comments. Correcting my handle....I guess the Alter part is coming out

Posted by: Alter Yid #2 | Sep 14, 2006 4:14:11 AM

Actually, that sounds quite fun. What a small world! I love it when that happens; I love these weird coincidences!

Posted by: Irina | Sep 14, 2006 7:55:47 AM

Alter Yid #1 -- why am I not surprised that you know the ganza mishpucha?! LOL! And as your lovely wife says.... "Only 45 minutes into the conversation came up the small very Jewish Pennsylvania town!" Tee, hee, hee!

Posted by: zahava | Sep 14, 2006 8:03:12 AM

And last week, i played a Bat Mitzvah of an ainikle of one of the prominent families of that town....

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Sep 14, 2006 8:15:27 AM

I guess I'm not a regular enough of a blogger to come....

Posted by: Safranit | Sep 14, 2006 9:38:59 AM

Elisson... Or even worse, feeling slightly betrayed at seeing a regular treppenwitz commenter leaving a comment on someone else's blog! :-)

mochassid... Sarcasm received, loud and clear. :-)

Jewish Blogmeister... I couldn't tell you.

Jack... Yeah, but as I mentioned to Elisson there is a crazy jealousy thing too. For instance when I see a blogger I know/read mentioned in a MSM article I feel hurt... like why didn't they mention me??? This is such an ego thing. :-)

Ben Chorin... There is nothing about the idea of you placing any kind of ad in the Village Voice that could make me feel better. :-)

marallyn... You forgot the squeals of "OH MY G-D!!!!!!" :-) I'll keep you informed.

Stacey... I had a similar experience. Teachers belong in school... not in real life! :-)

mcaryeh... Whew... I thought for a second you were going to wander into some Star Trek reference. Dodged that bullet.

Chantyshira... I never had that since I started my blog for close friends and family and it morphed from there. It's the reader comments from Iceland, Argentina, Australia, etc. that freak me out. :-)

Jordan... You'd like him... I promise.

Erica... True, nothing keeps you honest like the knowledge that your mom reads your blog. :-)

Sarah... 'comfortable' as in the Pink Floyd sense (comfortably numb)? :-)

Alter Yid #1/2 ... Why am I not surprised you found a 'S' connection?

Irina... You must be more secure than I.

Jordan and Zahava... Please don't encourage him.

Safranit... You are always welcome.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Sep 14, 2006 1:49:31 PM

For instance when I see a blogger I know/read mentioned in a MSM article I feel hurt... like why didn't they mention me??? This is such an ego thing. :-)

Ain't that the truth. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Sep 14, 2006 7:06:10 PM

Yes! They can converse right in front of you!

I know exactly what you're saying. It's an odd feeling because we are decidedly not the same person in our own different worlds. For me, the melding of these worlds is grist for the mill - it allows me to see reactions and save them in my mind for my writing.

I work as a janitor. Imagine the shock when some co-workers discover that I have a novel published. That is an image of me that they do not expect. ;)

Posted by: benning | Sep 15, 2006 12:54:54 AM

I totally agree. It is quite strange and a bit uncomfortable when worlds collide. But on the other hand, I love small world coincidences!

Posted by: jaime | Sep 17, 2006 7:43:42 AM

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