A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Applebee’s in my hometown. My dad and husband were there to play in a weekly high stakes (read: $25 in Applebee’s coupons to the winner) poker game. My sister, the baby and I were there to eat. Sitting at the table, waiting on our appetizer, I thought to myself, It’d be weird if I saw someone I knew. D’ville is big but small. It’s definitely grown a lot since I was a kid but it still retains a little of that small-town feel, at least to me. It’s not uncommon to run into someone you went to daycare with at one of the local Walmarts. At the same time, you can go years without seeing anyone you’ve ever known in your whole life. It’s strange like that.
Anyway, not two minutes after my thought (wondering if I’d see anyone), two guys walked by the window and I immediately said to my sister, “There’s R and J.” She was sort of astounded that I recognized them so quickly (so was I, to be honest- it was so quick, I actually wondered if I was right). They came in and went to sit at the bar. I had actually gone to daycare with R and middle school and high school with J. Sissy asked if I was going to say hello.
Here’s the thing: I hadn’t seen J, not that can I remember, since high school. We were barely more than acquaintances- we’d been in school together forever but didn’t really run in the same circles. Despite this, we are facebook friends. I know that he just broke up with girlfriend, that he teaches painting classes a few times a month, that he is kind of funny and his status updates don’t particularly irritate me. I haven’t had to hide him, which is saying a lot. I might have commented on a picture or a status update at some point, though I can’t be sure. It might’ve just been a ‘hey, how’s it going’ when whoever added whoever as a friend.
And it made me feel weird, knowing all this stuff about him and then seeing him in person. Like, what would we talk about? There’s no real catching up to do because we both know almost everything about each other. I’d say, I had a baby. He’d say, Yeah, I know. I teach painting. I’d say, Yeah, I know.
It just felt awkward. So, no, I didn’t say hello. I felt like I was seeing a celebrity of sorts- someone I knew everything about from reading my teeny-bopper magazines (ahh, Kirk Cameron…). It was a strange feeling. I had to ponder on the wonder that is facebook for a minute. On the one hand, it seems almost essential for the lifestyle that I lead. I have friends all over the world and if we were in the olden days when people had to write actual letters, make actual phone calls… or even the more recent olden days where you had to send an actual email, I would lose touch with the majority of the people I’ve met. As it stands, I know where everyone is and what everyone is doing, almost daily. Which can be fun and exciting… on the other hand, I don’t feel the need to write/call/email anymore because, well, I know what you’re doing and where you are and how your vacation was and what your new school/principal is like and where you want to go next and what thing or person from America/Canada you miss the most. There’s nothing to talk about anymore because we say it all in our status updates (or Tweets if you swing that way; I don’t).
So facebook. Thanks for real and a sarcastic thanks. You’ve made my world a little smaller…