I used to be staunchly anti-Facebook, and this philosophical stance was idiotic.
It’s Sunday morning and I’m up to not much. Updating our monthly budget, catching up on a few blogs that are blocked at work and therefore unavailable for me to fuck off with while getting paid, and listening to iTunes.
“I Try” by Macy Gray comes on. This sweet, sad, quirky song transports me to the backseat of Kenny’s Subaru on the way to a children’s theater performance at some nearby elementary school in the middle of a Spring day senior year of high school.
Jenna’s next to me, Amie’s next to her, and Robin’s riding shotgun. Robin and Kenny are smoking. I wish I were too, but I’m not yet cool enough and don’t start until several months later.
Cut to 2:48 in the song, and Robin does a pitch perfect and hilarious impression of Macy enthusiastically caterwauling “I try to say goodbye and I choke!” and the whole car cracks up. It’s a warm and good day.
I haven’t seen or spoken to Robin in probably 5 years. Nothing happened between us, no falling out, no ill will, nothing. We just sort of drifted apart like people do. And whereas pre-Facebook the effort required to get in touch with someone from your past was prohibitive – finding their number, calling them out of the blue, awkwardly rehashing several years of history quickly… people probably thought you were going to sell them Amway with this approach – Facebook allows you to check up on them anonymously.
I go to Robin’s page, enjoy photos of her and her beautiful family, glance at a few posts, decide based on this (admittedly) very narrow snapshot of her existence that she seems happy, and look forward to whenever our paths cross again. I psychically send her some good vibes, and hope they reach her.
When I was anti-Facebook, I hated the idea of introducing any additional potential awkwardness by sharing a space with my ex-girlfriends (Hi Jessica!). Once my professional life forced me to join in March of 2010, I realized this was absurd because at that point I had been with my wife for over 5 years. I had been out of high school for a fucking decade at that point. Non-crazy people realize they intersect with people throughout life, and as time passes, the net result of those intersections is immaterial – what matters is that you shared time together at all, life is short, and those people are finite.
Facebook is ultimately a tool for good because I always feel better knowing someone who will forever live in a small place in my heart is doing okay.
And looking up Robin on Facebook is a fun after-party to listening to Macy Gray.