Life is Good, Short, & Sweet.
Savor the ordinary, for it is the extraordinary. And keep in touch with your friends…
We sat in the center of a large, rather nice restaurant – Wilt and I, Walter and Betty, Wilma and Garth, and my in-laws. Someone mentioned Facebook, and I commented that I enjoy it. My father-in-law (and that man deserves – needs – a blog post written about him here on Wine Before Five) shouted for all the world to hear, “Facebook???!!! That’s just like SEXTING!!!”
Facebook activity for me began as a way to keep in touch with great-nephews and -nieces who I don’t see often. Cousins were quickly added to the friends list. Soon, old friends, acquaintances who became good friends, and then new acquaintances who are now new friends. I look forward to my morning “visits” with certain people. Let me tell you about my most significant Facebook experience, and then you will understand my love for Mark Zuckerberg (yes, he’s young enough to be my son, it’s not “that” kind of love, & the guy impresses the heck out of me) and my love affair with his creation. Besides, Mark Zuckerberg likes dogs; what’s not to love about him?
I take much flack from certain people, (those who don’t use Facebook mostly) who comment “I do not have the time to spend all day on Facebook!” “Oh, Facebook! I will never waste my time there!” “Do you just sit around all day reading Facebook?!” To these people, the term “Facebook user,” has all the negative connotations of terms such as “slacker, drug addict, alcoholic, idiot” and, I think perhaps “felon” and even “pervert.” Seriously? I wonder if the word “telephone” once carried this same negative feeling… It interests me, this negative idea about Facebook. Do people also say “You take photos?! I would never take photos! I don’t have time to sit around all day taking photos!” Or perhaps “You write ‘thank you’ notes? I would never…” “You walk for exercise?! I would never waste time…”
You get the idea.
Oh, dear uninformed people… what wonderful human interactions you are missing! But that’s okay with me, because I truly believe in To Each His Own. But it goes both ways.
*Do what you want.
*Don’t judge others.
*Don’t judge me.
*Better yet – don’t make assumptions, especially negative and insulting ones.
*And for crying out loud, stop and think before you speak. I’ve decided not to be offended, but you won’t be that lucky with everyone you address this way.
Give some thought to this Facebook experience:
Late winter, 2010, I had been thinking especially often about an old friend who I hadn’t seen or heard from in quite a while. Our Christmas card had been returned, stamped “Undeliverable. No Forwarding Address.” She was one of those rare and special friends who I could communicate with as often or as seldom as it worked, but we always picked up exactly as though we’d just spent the previous day together. I wanted to hear her voice; I wanted to hear her say “I could just hug your neck!” I phoned the number I had for her; the recording said “disconnected.” “They’ve moved again,” I thought. I was sure that any day I’d receive a card saying “Hi, here’s our new address!” But I wanted to talk to her now. “I’ve got to find her!” It had happened before, with both of us, but we always found each other, and picked up where we left off.
Thinking I was quite resourceful, using & combining the old-fashioned methods of communication, I phoned the Post Office in the town of her most recent address. Being a small town, the lovely woman who answered the phone not only patiently listened to my story of the returned card & disconnected phone, but also said, “Gee, I don’t know, but let me ask the carrier on that route. Hang on.” And so she called out “Hogey! What’s the story on this address?!” Hogey shouted back that the house was empty. He had no idea where the family had gone. Living in a small town myself, I know that if the mail carrier on your street doesn’t know where to take your mail when you are no longer in your house, you are truly incognito.
I thought I’d be clever, and use technology. I googled hers and her husband’s name. An obituary. I was heartbroken. She’d lost him, and I hadn’t even known! We were close, and I knew the stories of her extended family, but did not know maiden names or contact information. What to do… Where had she gone? I then googled the city they’d lived in last, found the name of the high school where I knew her oldest son had graduated. I called; they had no information for me other than that he was an alumnus. Temporarily stumped, and really sad, I decided to sleep on it. Things always seem better in the morning.
The following day, a light dawned. Her children were the same ages as mine. Facebook!
I did a search, found a name I was sure (I hoped) was a match, and sent a long-shot message: “Are you the son of my friend who I knew well in Richmond, Va? Do you remember me?” He’d been just 5 or so when we moved from Richmond; would he remember? Was it him? Would he check his Facebook page soon? Ever? Would he respond? I hoped so. His younger brother had been only 18 months old when we left; I was sure he would not be a possibility.
Twelve hours later, I received a phone call – from Okinawa. Found. He remembered. He cared. He didn’t want to simply write it, and he cared enough to call. We talked for close to an hour, and when I hung up, I cried for at least that long. Sad news, but he and his brother had been found. My dear sweet friend was in a nursing home, and would not know me if I visited. I sent flowers, anyway, yellow – her favorite color. I wanted to believe that somewhere in the deepest part of her heart, she would know, or at the very least, they would bring her a few moments of joy. There was some comfort: both her boys remembered us, and now we stay in touch constantly – through Facebook, what else?
Not long after that call from Okinawa, my blog was born with The View From My Window, launched on Nancy’s birthday, with an accompanying Facebook page in honor of the connection made. I had no idea at that point that the new Facebook pages for my pen name, Emma Ann Weatherly and the blog itself, Wine Before Five, would bring with it a multitude of new friends, new interests, and so much joy.
And so, no, dear father-in-law, it’s not “sexting.” It is a wonderful, comfortable tool, relatively new but merely (merely?) a product of technology that allows us to keep in touch with the people we love, find the people we’ve lost, create new friendships, learn new things, express ourselves. Yes, I do love Facebook. And Mark Zuckerberg.
And there will be no sexting about it.