Wednesday 23 July 2014

The virtual bar

I am in my virtual bar, surrounded by writers, photographers and travellers. There are barmen inventing wonderful virtual cocktails and music that simply surfs the background to the chatter. One minute I am chatting to a couple who live and work in Croatia, travelling with their young family. The next I'm sharing a bright green drink with an eco-warrior who writes for various blogs. Then I'm contemplating the use of the hyphen with a mother who has a penchant for steamy online fiction. After that, I'm discussing tapering with a runner from the west coast of the USA. After another couple of drinks I'm surrounded by teachers from around the world and it turns out students from Korea, France, Brazil, Malaysia all have the same problems learning English. Towards the end of the evening, I'm in a corner with a quiet, unassuming man who takes incredible photos - close ups of things which distort them so they look like abstract art. He needs persuading to show me. We end up closing the bar marvelling at his creativity.

I can't remember all these people's names, although they tell me. We share snippets and stories, we compliment and appreciate each other, we laugh nervous laughter because we don't know each other. We are not friends or colleagues. We are far apart and yet, here in this bar we are brought together by that magic something the virtual world provides: a beautiful, invisible thread. Be it poetry, parenthood, food, running; from the general to the very specific, there is something that draws these people to my virtual bar. There is a reason they are on my guest list, a reason they can be one click away, no matter the miles as the crow flies. They interest me, they entertain me, they teach me.

Sometimes, their thought and kindness reaches through the screen and touches me back in my real world. Their words go beyond the shining screen and enter my heart. The beautiful, invisible thread pulls my real, beating heart. That can be a very powerful thing. These people, merely visitors to my virtual bar, become more than a like or comment. By opening themselves up, they prise me open too. They are the people, who were it not for those miles, I would like to stand next to in a real bar and buy a real cocktail and have a real conversation.

But that's not possible. And so I just thank them for being able to pop into my virtual bar when they can and making it a better place. In this blinking online world where so much idiocy and awfulness reign, they are real beacons of light.

  • This post was inspired by Tom MacInnes from Cobbie's World.
  • It also links up with the writer folks over at Studio 30 Plus and their prompt of the week.


  1. Thank you, Laura and, you are most welcome for any help my thoughts have ever given to you. <3
    Give that babe of yours a gentle touch, for me, from across the sea. Good luck in the coming days and weeks. Try your best to make time to enjoy the magic of this special moment. Looking forward to seeing a pic. or two when time allows. :)

  2. I love thinking of our villages, tribes and communities as a "Virtual Bar". What a fantastic place that would be to share ideas, words and lives.

    You brought me right to the lip of the polished wood, I think I'd like to stay awhile.

  3. The internet is a really amazing thing, isn't it. As long as it isn't misused. Like you, I've hooked up with people all over the world and I'm all the better for it. Nice piece.

  4. The internet is an amazing thing, isn't it. It makes the world smaller and allows us to talk to folks all over the globe. I've made many friends on the internet. You've captured this in you virtual bar. Too bad the drinks weren't real.

  5. I like this idea of all of us stopping together, sharing in real life what we share online. Next round's on me...


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