Wednesday, November 17, 2010
my quiet rebellion ...
As John Lennon so aptly put it "Nobody told me there'd be days like these."
Yesterday was one of those days.
I couldn't figure out why my shoe was sticking to the brake pedal while driving and so I pulled over to discover a wad of electric green, minty gum and a mound of hairs stuck to the bottom of my clog.
I went to pick Cowgirl up at school wearing my Moose walking outfit which I will admit is a tad eclectic but certainly not deserving of the stares and giggles of a pair of first graders who proclaimed, in a stage whisper "WHO is that woman?!" (This is a topic for another post if not a therapy session as I was simultaneously indigent, humiliated, vengeful, and ashamed. Yes, I even cried in the car telling Cowgirl "some people I don't even know were mean to me and hurt my feelings and I know I shouldn't care because they don't know me, but I do." To which she wisely counseled: "Mommy, just ignore them." And no, I did not tell her they were kids!)
The dog found a lone skittle, ate it and promptly threw up.
But this day of trials akin to Job on his dung heap started when I tried to log into my Facebook page and received the message "this account has been deactivated."
Now, understand I joined FB kicking and screaming. Friends would say "If you were on FB then you would already know ..." and having lost numerous email address books, I figured it was time to plug myself in and join the party. I was excited to find old friends who had vanished into the mist (or had I vanished?) and I did reconnect with a few people but by and large, I have found the experience unsatisfying. It is like sushi: I can enjoy a bite or two, but cold, raw fish is not my idea of a fully satisfying meal. That's just me.
So to be jilted by FB was particularly galling.
And in typical fashion, trying to find answers is like entering the Minotaur's labyrinth. You go 'round and 'round and end up back where you started. There are no humans behind that blue and white screen: I firmly believe FB is run by the Cylons and they are here to torment us. (Off the subject, but not really, did you know when you call businesses or companies for assistance and there seems to be no option for speaking to a flesh and blood person on the answering machine queue, you can say loudly and anxiously "I want to speak to someone" and sometimes that will trigger the system to switch you over to a representative. I know this from trying to help my 85 year old mother get info on her health insurance and was released from automation limbo by shouting "For the love of God, I want to talk to a person!" I was clicked right over.)
But back to FB and my slow simmer ...
All afternoon (after the gum; after being humiliated by 7 year olds) my mind churned with thoughts regarding FB and how I was infuriated by being denied, and relieved to be out from under the weight of my expectations. Because I keep hoping for something real in all those mini-bites of information; I desire connection with people I once was deeply connected to and I wanted to be in the loop of information. But it struck me that the reason so many give for being on FB - it is free and it is easy to stay in touch with friends - is precisely why it is so empty and false. If the foundation for my relationships is free and easy, then am I really connecting at all? Shouldn't relationships - friendships - require more? Don't I want to give more? And don't I deserve an equal level of commitment and attention?
So last night I went to bed believing that in fact the Universe had just handed me a beautiful gift. Sure, I was sad to think of losing the contacts recently made via online communities and courses but I could find those people in other ways. And while contemplating a FB-free world, I decided I want to commit to nurturing the relationships that matter to me via a rather old fashioned way:
I am returning to writing letters and postcards and using the good old U.S. Mail.
I used to write a lot of letters. I blamed my declining handwriting for the eventual cessation of written correspondence but really, it is a matter of me slowing down and dedicating a piece of time to think and write (legibly) and connect. A small rebellion, I know, but it is my attempt to put some flesh and blood back into what has become all too virtual. (Hello? Anyone read The Handmaid's Tale? Am I the only one bothered by the fact that so much of our identity and history could be wiped out with a click of a mouse, a cyber-coup to end all coups?)
So here is my end of year vow: once a week to send out some piece of mail to a friend. It may be a letter, an art postcard, a postcard grabbed while in line at Walgreen's and a poem scribble on the back. Whatever it is, it will be me committing my time, my awareness, my hand to say to each recipient "you matter to me and you are deserving of my attention."
I would love to think I might get mail in return, but I'm not kidding myself. Free and easy is very tempting and I understand people are busy and over-committed. But I hope in some small way to reconnect in a more meaningful manner, nurturing my relationships with my love and attention. Care to join me?
As it would happen (and proof that Cylons are running the show) as mysteriously as my FB account disappeared, it reappeared today. So here I hang on the horns of a dilemma: do I stay but on my terms? Or do I go and hold my head up high? I haven't decided yet because I know there are people I will never hear from again and I am not quite ready to give up the dream. But I do plan to wean myself off of its teat bit by bit, day by day, letter by letter. I mailed off a letter and a art card today and it felt great holding the heft of a stuffed envelope in my hands. Maybe my other resolution should be to start collecting snail mail addresses in preparation for departure?
But for now, my permanent status should you check my FB account, will be: busy writing letters.