I’ve resisted writing about Facebook mostly because so many other people have done it and done it well. But then I just couldn’t really hold it in any longer and so here we are. In the beginning, I didn’t even want to join Facebook. It seemed so silly and high school. Not that I didn’t like high school, I just didn’t want to be sending plants and getting poked. Plus, I already have means to keep in touch with my current friends and I made a decision years ago to let the past be, lying undisturbed in slumbering peace. It’s really all Pious B’s fault. She came over one day and got me started.
But here’s the thing I need to tell you. I kind of imagined all those people from my past were dead. I mean, wouldn’t I see them or hear about them otherwise? Please don’t tell me they are alive and well and just living in other places. It’s too hard to believe. But it turns out that’s not true. I mean, they’re alive all right. Mostly. But they live in the same place, I’ve come to find. And that place is the Interweb. Well, some are better at it than others but I suppose that’s like everything else.
There is something surreal about meeting your childhood friends as an adult. Previously, this had been done in one evening every ten years. Now, it’s done all the livelong day as you see that the weirdo guy from HS and his plain-jane wife have their pages covered in sex quizzes. There are quandaries you never thought you’d face such as, if you find one of the “popular girls,” is it OK to add her as a Friend now that you’re both about equally successful in life? Or do you respectfully wait for her to add you in case, ohmigod, it would be embarrassing to her to have your face on her page? The answer, of course, is you don’t Friend her because, really, why would you want to be FB friends with someone who never talked to you in real life? Then she adds you as a Friend and you switch to thinking, “see how easy that was? Why couldn’t you do that when we were sixteen and it mattered?”
My high school friends came third, actually. First came all my relatives (duh, Pious B was my first Friend, remember). Then came some actual friends from the Here and Now. Then came the high school friends. They come in waves because the first thing you do when you Friend someone or they Friend you is troll through all their Friends and see who you know. Suddenly, you are Friends with ten people from your high school. Not bad when your HS had 86 people.
But as I’ve said, I liked high school. And I’m exaggerating because there were too few people in my school to really have a popular group. But there were people who didn’t invite me to their parties. Now they are my Friends. Although I’m not sure they’ll ever be my friends. But this isn’t the point. The point is to have a long list of people on your Friends page and to have some loose connection to people you really have no desire to have more than a fifteen word conversation with. (The kind you’d have at that ten-year reunion before excusing yourself to get punch).
Last came college. As you’ll know from reading this blog for a couple of years (I’m making a big assumption, I know), I did not have the most fantastic college experience known to mankind. In fact, it sucked wind. This was not 100% the fault of those with whom I attended it, but they didn’t help either. Needless to say, I am in touch with precisely one. She’s not on Facebook. I did do a search under my school and year and the only person I could find that I knew was the guy who tried to prod me out of my hangover regarding College Boyfriend (this was after break-up #1) and never quite succeeded. He thought I had big problems. He didn’t know the half of it. He copped a feel at the movies. I was unimpressed. Naturally, I immediately Friended him.
If you’re on FB, you know there are a few different protocols. If you’re really psyched to get back in touch with someone, you send them a note with your Friend request or immediately after. If you’re just pleased to be reacquainted, you write something welcoming on their wall. Something you don’t mind lots of other people seeing, like, “It’s been ages! Your family is so lovely.” If the family is not lovely, and I’m not naming names, but it’s happened, you can say, “you look exactly the same!” But they don’t, they really don’t. Wandering Hands from college is paunchy and going bald. It happens. If you’re wondering which thing I said to him or vice versa, the answer is alternative #3. We said nothing. We’re Friends, it’s enough. I can’t tell whether he just got married to a woman with kids or if he just got around to changing his Relationship Status to Married this month and they are in fact his kids. I suppose I could write and ask but, well, it’s enough. Still, that’s always fun to see, especially when someone becomes Friends with their spouse. There’s nothing more disconcerting than “Bob Smith and his wife of twenty-five years are now Friends.” It’s about time, isn’t it?
If you know me and my neuroses, you know that I rarely reveal all to any one person. I even have lots of names. This makes a place like Facebook where you show everything to everyone especially complicated to navigate. Lately, the big decision is whether to tell people from my youth that I have a blog and that this is, in fact, it. I’ve been slow with that. Some people were easy decisions. Others I haven’t yet decided about. But writing this post I knew I’d be slamming the door shut on several nominees. The one with the not-lovely family. Wandering Hands. Through Facebook, I had lunch last week with a guy I dated in high school (he was in college then, woo). I did tell him and even showed him where he was mentioned in this blog. I say this as a kind of hi-wave. Hi! Ironically, he and his family live just a few blocks from the other relationship I had in HS and his family. Life is odd.
But this weekend, the guy who tricked me into attending my torture-chamber of a college (he used a really hard sell and, while I’m sure he believed it, little of it was true) joined and since his sister is a childhood friend and a Friend, he found me easily. Suddenly, I am Friends with 20 people with whom I went to school. One of them, my mopey roommate of Junior year (you can already see that neither of these people will be told about this blog, can’t you) started a group for those of us who ate in the one-room Kosher area. These are the people with whom I dined every day for four years. Scary! She e-mailed me frantically to say no one was writing on the wall of our group! She made me an officer. Ye gods and little fishes. Right now, that one person with whom I am still in touch is chortling, I know it. Yeah, I wrote on the wall. Then others did. I guess I kind of owe her. I took advantage of her depression to get the bigger room with the walk-in closet.
By the way, College Boyfriend is not on Facebook. But his wife is. I know who she is because I honed my Webstalker skills way before the age of social networking. In case you are wondering, his family is lovely.
Post title was inspired by a college acquaintance and new Facebook Friend and comes from:
Violent Femmes – Fat