As bloggers, most of us go to great lengths in keeping our real identities a secret. But the real question is: Do we really want to be completely anonymous?
First published at FHM Philippines, January 29, 2009 | 01:10PM
I Know You
A strange thing happened to me while I was at the mall during the last holiday season. As I was walking towards the escalator, I saw this man from a distance. He was wearing a shiny, dark blue football shirt. His jogging pants, with buttons on the side, were also dark blue. He wore rubber shoes with dark blue accents, too. He certainly seemed like a staunch advocate of all that is dark blue – but that was not the reason why I noticed him. He caught my attention because he looked oddly familiar.
I continued to stare at him, racking my brains trying to remember where I saw him before. He was heading towards the same escalator I was going to take and I knew we would both get to it at the same time. Good. It was a chance for me to have a closer look at this man. When we were about two feet apart, I finally realized who he was. He was someone who regularly looks at my internet photos.
Because of this little thing I do for in the internet, many things have been sent to my email, among them are photos of those who look at my contributions. While I appreciate the gesture, I don’t exactly save all the files I get. I breeze through the myriad of photos, reply when necessary, and then discard. It is practically impossible for me to associate the pics I get with real life persons I encounter on the streets. However this particular incident in the mall proved otherwise. Of course it also helped that this individual had distinct features: completely bald head and bushy eyebrows.
When I finally realized who that man was, I was filled with excitement. I have chatted with this man many times. He has written me several emails. He knows my every photo. But I had no clue if I rang a bell in his mind or not.
I wanted to know if he recognized me. It was annoying that he was directly behind me on the down-ward escalator. I could not get a good look at his facial reaction. I had to improvise. I moved my head to the right, pretending to look at the shops. Then I tried to look at him from the corner of my eye. To my dismay, all I could see was his chest. If I moved my eyeball any further, it would have popped out.
Some of you would ask me about the possibility of being recognized outside of cyberworld. I always brushed that notion off. I never wanted to be recognized. I take all precautions to make sure that I do not get noticed. Well, this was before this mall incident. At that time, I actually wanted to know if I looked familiar, if he recognized me.
I was going nuts on that escalator. I probably blended in with everybody else in the mall. He must have been thinking of something really important. I was probably not his type. He must have been in a rush to get to wherever he was heading. Whatever it was, I thought that I was doing a good job of making sure I remained anonymous in cyberworld. But on the other hand, I was dying of curiosity. I just had to know if he recognized me. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a clear view of his facial expression. Thoughts of regret raced through my head. I should have tossed my hair to catch his attention. I should have followed him. I should have nudged him. I should have turned around and smiled at him. If I did any of these, I would have gotten my answer.
As I reached the end of the escalator, he walked passed me. He continued walking briskly until he vanished in the crowd. I missed my chance.
I guess I will just be left hanging until I get another chance to recognize any of you – wherever, whenever. But next time this happens, I will not be at a loss. I will know exactly what to do.