I recently connected with an old friend who’d gone back to our hometown for Thanksgiving. The friend told me how my name came up in conversations about Facebook, and I was somewhat surprised to hear that the talk was not, CBW’s posts are hysterical, adorable and of the perfect quantity! Suffice it to say, what was said was not exactly flattering, which — honestly — I take as further proof that fleeing my hometown at the age of 16 was a Really Good Idea.
My initial question for my friend was, Are the people who talked about how much I post REALLY boring? My second question was, Are the people confusing the meaning of the words quantity and quality? Then I deleted all that and wrote something like, I feel mildly defensive about what people said, and put my thoroughly exhausted, jet-lagged body to bed.
When I woke up the next morning, my refreshed brain realized that that my Facebook posts had actually led other people to talk about me. Hel-loooooooooo!!!!!!!! That is called ATTENTION. And guess who I was not talking about over my Thanksgiving break? People from my hometown, suckahs!
Which brings us to — yet another — meta conversation about Facebook. One of the problems I have with writing on Facebook is that it’s no longer my “Utopian High School Cafeteria Table,” the place where 129 people used to sit and enjoy getting to know one another. My table now seats 356 (with 2 pending!) and has people who 1. don’t like me that much; 2. don’t like what I have to say; 3. don’t like how often I say it; 4. never, ever, never talk to me; and/or 5. who hide me. This isn’t a Utopian High School Cafeteria Table; This is the grownup table at a family gathering!
And the people who sit at my table are called my Facebook friends, probably one of the most contradictory terms in the English language. Worse than: gay Republican; warm Stepford Wife; good RI driver; awesome suburb; bad abortion…Ha! I could do this all day.
Clearly, with all this disdain floating around, my boundary-pushing jokes about my menses and my politics are clearly going to offend. The funniest thing for me is that the more I know I’m surrounded by people who are appalled by what I have to say, the more thrill I get from posting offensive topics. For a female who has always been an authority-pleasing “good kid,” when I do something “forbidden,” it’s a total charge, kinda like when you’re 18 and you inhale a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Heathbar Crunch ™ covered with M&Ms ™, accompanied by half a box of Entenman’s ™ chocolate chip cookies and then throw the whole thing up. But without the vomit.
So, should I “own” what I have to say, accept that my “out there” posts offend some people — most of whom I’ll never be close to — and simply move on? That’s a great plan, on planet I’M A PERFECT GROWN UP! No, my future looks more like: get defensive upon hearing that I’m not universally adored; make small-minded generalizations about those who don’t like me; rationalize the hurt in a humorous way; deal with it publicly; and then fantasize about a Facebook “friend” deletion bender. Hey, the operative word here is adorable, not self-actualized.
As always, thank you for your time.