Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Pissed off. Ranting. Frustrated. UNHAPPY.

It goes like this. Somewhere on the web, I was part of a small group of women. We had a little area, supposedly private, where we talked. We advised. We made jokes. We discussed things. When one of us was angry, we went there and vented -- privately -- until we could feel reasonable again. It was great.

Then, through what we think was a programming error, a person not a member of this group got access to a group member's account. We shall call this person RAT. RAT was supposedly a friend of said group member, but RAT decided having access to someone else's account was too tempting. RAT went into the little group and read stuff. Some of what RAT read was some members being frustrated with RAT over some issue -- you know, venting. RAT was hardly the main topic of discussion, I should point out, just part of a recent one that was over.

RAT made this public -- well, the part about people being frustrated. Nastily. Group member is very upset, but (in the way of many women) is coming up with a variety of excuses like "Oh, curiosity is natural" and "Oh, RAT didn't necessarily know it was private."

Now, I know perfectly well that nothing is really private on the great Interwebinet. And, really, nothing was said that was 1) untrue 2) particularly cruel 3) couldn't have been said in public. However, it was NOT said in public because it would have done no good. The point was to vent out the anger and return to a more sensible frame of mind.

What angers me is RAT's behavior and the choices RAT made. If someone you say is a friend comes to your house and accidentally leaves behind a wallet, a diary, a suitcase, a box, a pile of mail, an open email account -- in short, anything personal -- it IS NOT RIGHT to go through it. Opportunity does NOT create entitlement. And, if in the perusing of said friend's private property, you discover something you don't like, whose fault is that? People are allowed their private thoughts. People often have bursts of emotion that pass, thoughts that pass. Just as in the heat of a fight any of us might say something we later wish we hadn't said, in private we may think and express things not for general consumption.

That's why they are PRIVATE.

This isn't a case of "say one thing, think another". I don't believe in saintly people who are never angry at a spouse or family member, who are never frustrated by a boss, co-worker, or employee, who don't feel a rise of heat when they perceive themselves as mistreated. Then those feelings pass, or we express them privately to friends and we get a little perspective. If we are smart, that is, and don't blurt it all out on the spouse or family member or person at work. Once we have that emotion out where we can look at it, we can get our brain engaged and handle the situation properly. We can avoid being hurtful without tearing ourselves up inside suppressing all those feelings. Sometimes, once we spew out the poison, we can get back to liking or loving or at least working peacefully. Sometimes we can get to a place where we can talk to the person in question. Sometimes we even realize we are the ones at fault and need to apologize. But we can't get there until we work it through, and sometimes we need someone else to help there.

That's why these things should be PRIVATE.

RAT invaded, yet RAT claims victim status. RAT now proclaims that everything should be HONEST and OPEN and PUBLIC -- and we all know how well that works. Oh yes, RAT is being honest and open and public and causing as much pain and frustration as RAT can manage. Very good tactic, isn't it?

So, the little group has imploded and something wonderful destroyed. While I throw some blame on the software, I lay most of it at RAT'S nasty little feet. Again -- opportunity does not create entitlement. Friends do not snoop in each other's private lives. Friends respect boundaries. Friends realize that if ever once they've spouted off -- in private -- about someone else, they are certainly someone else's inspiration to spout.

So, I'm angry. I'm angry for my friend who is going through all this. I'm angry that the group has disintegrated out of fear (we discussed some very personal and painful things in that group). I'm angry that one RAT chewed through the wall.


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