Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time in a bottle

A couple of weeks ago, one of my best friends asked me a simple question, “Why aren’t you on Facebook?”

I answered her question with one of my own, “Why would I need to be on Facebook?”

“Well, it’s fun. You can find out what everyone you knew back in high school is doing,” she said.

“I really don’t care what the people I went to high school with are doing today.”

I don’t think she quite understood my response.

Seriously, I couldn’t give two farts in a stiff Texas breeze about 652 of the 654 people I graduated from [insert name of rich, suburban Rust Belt high school here] with back in nineteen garble garble. The two who are left, you ask? Well, I’d drop everything on less than a moment’s notice if they called and said they need my help, as I’m sure they’d do if the situation were reversed (right boys?).

Everyone else can get bent as far as I’m concerned.

How can I dismiss out of hand 652 people? It’s not like they were bad (well, at least most of them were nice). It’s just that over the years those bonds of high school friendship that seemed so, so very important have not stood the test of time.

One guy, who I was as close to as the two who are left just kinda-sorta drifted out of my life after he got his girlfriend pregnant about three years after we graduated. His life got different, and we stopped having anything in common. The conversation ended there. It just petered out.

I’m not a Luddite, resisting some new-fangled Internet thingy just for resistance’s sake. The digital camera and souped up Mac I received this week prove that.

But perhaps, as I think about it, there is a bit of resistance to the idea of Facebook in my actions. Maybe I am old fashion in my thinking that a friendship is something that goes further than a few short sentences on a wall or posting a new picture or two every once in a while.

I used to love writing letters to my friends. During the 13 weeks I was at Parris Island I must have written 50 letters to family and friends. While I was in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War I wrote letters back to the complete strangers who’d taken the time to write to Any Marine. Some of these started correspondences continuing long past the time I returned home.

I can’t remember the last time (aside from Christmas cards) I put a pen to a clean sheet of paper to just say hi to a friend. How about you?

For me, friendship involves the breaking of bread, a shared bottle (hopefully something distilled by Mr. Jameson) and tales of mischief, woe or love told face-to-face. A hug goodbye as you leave a party is so much more satisfying than clicking “sign out” when all is said and done.

I’d like to think the time I don’t spend on Facebook is time I can spend with you ITRW.


lacochran said...


I joined Facebook to accept the friend requests I was getting from people to make them feel better. (Seems to be a big contest.) I don't even check it.

But the people I want to be in touch with, I'm in touch with. By choice. Not because of a social network request.

Liebchen said...

I'm not gonna lie - I do love being able to keep up with (not necessarily keep in touch with) people from high school/college. But I also miss writing (and receiving) actual letters.

There must be some sort of happy medium.

Fearless in Toronto said...

I use my Facebook page as my "other" blog page. Which means that I post all kinds of random things and comment on them. People actually seem to like it, and it satisfies my narcissistic need to express myself on current events (which I don't do on my anonymous blog).

But Twitter? NEVER. At least, that's what I say right now.

Alice said...

i loved being able to "check in" on people i hadn't seen / talked to in YEARS, just to satisfy my basic curiosity about what people were up to.

um, and then it got boring. i log on about every 3 wks when i get a new friend request.

i can only handle a limited amount of online media at a time, and right now that's blog + twitter + personal email. if i get on facebook, one of those 3 dies :-)

FoggyDew said...

la - So far, I've resisted the requests, even from my bestest of friends. Like you I'm in touch with the people I want to be by choice.

Liebchen - If you find it, let me know.

Fearless - Never Twitter? Sounds like an e-addict saying "I can handle it. Get away from me." Kidding, of course. To each their own.

Alice - Like you, I fear fb sits right on the event horizon of a great time-sucking black hole. Once you cross that line the fb's gravity well has you and you're forever a slave to the friend requests and fb this and fb that.

Meghan said...

I like facebook but find it's made me socially lazy. Why bother asking what someone is upto when you can just read their status updates etc.