I Wish To Have A Coke With My Internet Friends
On one of these hot days, my sweaty existence ended up drinking a glass of coke alone and my poetic existence ended up rereading “Having A Coke With You” by Frank O'Hara, and somewhere, a desire to have a coke with my friends started to swim up to the surface. I love this poem because it is in free verse and follows absolutely no rules, just like friendship. I would like to mention that I do know that this is a love poem. However, I abide by a quote that Nietzsche put in his book of 1882, The Gay Science, “Here and there on earth we may encounter a kind of continuation of love in which this possessive craving of two people for each other gives way to a new desire and lust for possession—a shared higher thirst for an ideal above them. But who knows such love? Who has experienced it? Its right name is friendship.” And so, on reading the poem, my heart went on to miss my internet friends. Yes, internet friends because just the idea of having a coke with them sounds like a far off dream to me. Like one of those islands, many nautical miles away, inching further away every second at sea. I didn’t know that it was possible to feel so close and connected to someone I’ve never met, and I am so thankful that I allowed the internet to change that.
The thought of me having internet friends, doesn’t really sit well with my parents. I was told a hundred times to not talk to strangers on the internet and here I am with around 15 internet best friends. Once, one of them had sent a beautiful birthday gift for my sixteenth birthday and I couldn't reveal to my parents that it was sent by someone living miles away. I think I do understand how parents feel about befriending strangers. When they grew up, and from what I know about their countless anecdotes, they always had groups of close friends that they met in their schools or colleges. The Internet was yet to come into their lives. For them, it was still in the distant future. But for me, and for, what I am assuming all of you reading this, the Internet was something we always had around, growing up. It was an organ. So meeting people over the Internet felt normal, like brushing your teeth twice a day.
Having internet friends is wonderful, to put it briefly. A beautiful as well as a frustrating feeling. That, I will elaborate. It goes a bit like this: you are sitting on your bed, or any seating of your choosing, and doing something classically deemed mundane. May it be your usual lazy scroll through the old Instagram or your lost-but-not-so-lost stare at the ceiling. In these moments you can’t help but wonder what your internet friend must be doing. What that one person, whose life you are connected to, but not physically a part of must be doing at this mundane hour on earth. That part is the beautiful part, thinking of the little things your internet friend must be doing. The frustrating part is the fact that I can't see them whenever I please; that they live so far away.
I met my internet BFF via WordPress of all the places. Funny thing, her name is also Divyanshi. There are days I think of her words and my heart craves to be next to her. Our words got us together. I confidently believe it was destined for us to meet because of our words. After a few months of commenting on each other's blogs, we developed a bond. Even though we don't talk every day and we don't necessarily know the whereabouts of the other, we have an unbreakable bond. It gives me immense pleasure to even think about her. When we talk, we talk about politics, our lives, failed relationships, eating a sub together, college admissions, books, shows, the food we eat, she sends videos of her rapping to me, I send snaps of the mandalas I make. Over the internet, we send love and warmth to each other. The other always receives the love and warmth.
What does it mean to know the mundane details of a person's life? The same person you have never even met? It may be baffling, given how diverse human behavior is. Anyhow, sometimes people tend to use the internet as an escape from their original and real life. The acronym, "irl" has become infamous for "irl friends." It is easier for us to open up to people who don't see us regularly. I don't know why that is, but it is true. It's easier to converse without any confrontation. As someone who considers an internet friend as a confidant, I'm pretty sure the comfort lies somewhere on the internet. There exists a feeling that is somewhat a mixture of unequal parts of comfort, trust, and faith. It is because of that feeling I understand and believe all of my internet friendships. When we share something with an absolute stranger, we know that there are little to no chances of them judging us. We know that they don't know us. They don't have any expectations or demands. We can be anything and everything in front of them. It gives us the strength to be honest and converse freely. Bonds are formed in the most unlikely of places. At a waiting room in the hospital, on a train or bus, at the airport, at a protest, at a college fest, anywhere and everywhere. That being said, when we share something with a known person, a friend, often, they tend to probe us with a million more questions. It becomes exhausting and we don't want that. When we need comfort, our mind subconsciously believes that the knowns in our life might provide us with something other than the unconditional support that we need. So we confide in someone else altogether.
Is it easy to maintain a friendship over the internet? Honestly, I don't know. All I know is the fact that my internet friends are literally always a text away. I have friends all over the world, and it is because of the internet I know them. Sometimes, I think of my friends in Maharashtra, and murmur 'mala tuzi athavan yete' to myself.
I have met so many talented people on the internet. It is because of my internet friends I realized that people can be so inspirational. Sometime in 2016, I met my first internet friend. They do not know, but indirectly they led me into the world of writing. It is because of them I know how powerful my words are. Whenever I'm asked about a person who changed my life, I think about them: my first internet friend. Coincidentally, I'm writing this article because I was asked to, by an internet friend.
Coke contains caffeine and caffeine is to energize us and make us feel more alert. That's the scientific reason for why I want to have a coke with you. Apart from that, just to be able to share the same space as you and say cheers while we clink our glasses full of coke is enough to make me want to have a coke with you. All my internet friends, the following poem is for you. I am forever grateful to God for you. Thank You, I wish to have a coke with you, soon.
Having A Coke With You
(After Frank O'Hara)
is better than sleeping, sweating, sighing,
is a dream,
is knowing that you are there, that you will be there,
is important. Having a coke with you,
is me bubbling, just like the carbon dioxide,
is wanting to hug you,
is breathing the same air as you,
is not giving up,
is what I wish,
is what I want.
A monochromatic leaves enthusiast, Divyanshi is an 18 year old girl who believes in love and kindness the most. She is an intersectional feminist who devotes a lot of time to writing and reading poetry. She also claims that she can live on a liquid diet forever. She's often found journaling if not ranting about feminism and what it takes to be a woman.