I did it. I caved. I joined Facebook. There’s an article in April's Real Simple, something I read after joining Facebook, that related FB to a huge cocktail party. I was wondering why I was feeling that familiar disjointed sense of things-- that nagging feeling I get at large parties where I am simultaneously annoyed at having to come up with small talk and sure that everyone is having a much better time than I am. In one of my few and recent wall posts, I wrote something to the effect that I realized that FB was merely the greatest procrastination tool around. It is. You can take these quizzes – things like “what does your birthday say about you?” or “who were you in a former life?” Since I was pegged as Marilyn Monroe and have read many quiz questions with words that are spelled wrong, I have a hunch that the quizzes are mere time wasters- like Facebook. Mostly, FB is a chance to peek into very small snippets of people’s lives you may not have talked with in years.
I find collecting “friends” a bit more addicting than I’d like to admit. It could be one of the reasons I caved into the FB culture in the first place-- since I’ve moved on average every 18 months or so since 1996, it’s been challenging (to say the least) to find and establish a solid friend base. Sure, we have a handful of friends that we’ll see now and then, but not anyone, including family, that we see on a regular basis. We live in a neighborhood that we love for it’s location, but is at least 20 minutes from anyone we know well, giving our weekly day-to-day lives (and, for the most part, our weekends) a somewhat isolating vibe. I dream of having friends over for dinner regularly (like weekly) and/or going out with friends and/or family regularly. It’s in my list of “25 things that mean success” (taken from Julia Cameron’s book The Sound of Paper; a list that also happens to include “ample bras and underwear that fit well”—something that pregnancy is keeping a dream instead of reality).
Part of the whole “see friends regularly” dream involves the idea of convenience- that it would be just a easy to have someone over or go over to someone’s house as it would be to just stay home with our family. That might only happen if you live within a few minutes walk or drive, right? From my experience, authentic enjoyment comes from low to no expectations—a long drive or travel tends to increase expectations (yes, even a 15 minute drive on I99). Lately, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I either need to go knock on my neighbor’s door or we need to move again closer to family or friends (the first is easier in a more openly friendly town- the kind that actually has residents willing to go to a stranger’s for dinner; the second isn’t too likely as I find myself emotionally mauled by the idea of packing a single box; besides, I refuse for Ed & I to both commute over 45 minutes to work).
Makes you wonder why I haven’t posted an open invite to dinner on Facebook. Somehow, it doesn’t seem like the forum for it. FB seems more like the place where someone would be eating dinner at home, alone, and posting what they are eating for all there 200+ friends to see and comment on. That’s begging for small talk-something I am not good at. It’s probably why I won’t have 200+ friends in my FB. That’s okay; I’ll settle for 5 around my dinner table.