Saturday, November 8, 2008

Drama, Facebook-style

So, thinking that I was all sneaky and ninja-like, I deleted someone from my friends list the other day. What was originally intended to prevent my apoplexy at her constant, Sarah Palin-loving, Obama-hating status updates became a little drama. She, somehow, discovered that I had deleted her, and emailed me. So... I had to explain to her, without the benefit of vocal tonality and eye contact, why. Well, maybe I didn't have to explain, but I felt like I ought to. I apologized, and then I said that I had done it because of the status updates. And then I sent another friend request to her, and she has ignored it... which leads me into the next phase of this post.

Some other (unmentioned) reasons for the delection.
a. History and Memory: We were never really friends when we lived next door. Why are we friends now? What does that even mean? I mean, a dear samurai-loving colleague tells me that this moment calls for warrior-mind: In this era of electronic anxiety (characterized by John Durham Peters), I am obligated to use my oratorical, electric skills to engage my electric friend.
b. Desire: I don't want to do that. Because we are not, and never really have been, friends. I don't wish her ill. She seems happy and healthy. Her family looks very nice in their pumpkin patch profile picture. And I that is wonderful. She seems to think that I am en route to Hell, but, in the whole white-Christian-Southern-Baptist sense of the world, I probably am. She mentioned, in her last message to me, that we can just agree to disagree--perfect. Done and done, little lady.
c. Laziness: Changing people is hard. Asking them to think = even harder. I try to do it all the time--as a teacher, as a debate judge, as a "friend," as a sister/daughter/lover/student. But where, exactly, do I get my mandate to do this? Who am I to tell these people with whom I come into contact that they are thinking about something in the wrong way, that, if they just take this class or read this book or listen to this song or walk this way, their world will be a better place? Maybe it's better to leave people in the pumpkin patch.
d. Authenticity: If there is a limit to the amount of energy I can expend on these changes, then I want to save it for the people with whom I am actually in love. Facebook and Myspace, as ridiculous as they may be in a variety of ways, have allowed me to reconnect with people I thought I had lost: My best friend from primary school, who made me the person that I am (and probably has no idea how much of an influence she exerted when we were growing up), reappeared in my life, THANK GOD, because of these "social networking" devices; friends from other phases in my life; people who see the world differently and accept our differences with kindness and elan; partners of friends; students; recent acquaintances--who may or may not turn out to be people who live in the pumpkin patch or people who sometimes step into the watermelon patch next door.

Perhaps I am a bad person. Perhaps I should be, as the samurai so frequently reminds me, constantly in warrior mind, and ready, at the drop of an obi, to engage various folks in vigorous clashes of wit and will. Perhaps I failed in my responsibility to the Other when I so ignobly slunk away from a facebook throw-down. Perhaps I am tired.

Whatever the case may be, I am looking forward to a break soon. I will go home. I will drink wassail with my mom. I will touch the hands and hug the necks and kiss the cheeks of dear family and friends. And I will practice warrior-mind, dear Universe, I promise.


dhawhee said...

I have the very same facebook friend. All was happy when we friended each other after the reunion, and then came the signs: she joined the group "fans of Sarah Palin" and donated her status to McCain. I'm pretty sure there is a pumpkin patch (or at least a pumpkin) picture with her and her red-sweatered spit-combed sons and her country singer husband (who is pretty cool, his politics notwithstanding). but hey, this is the life i escaped, i tell myself. and it's not terrible to be reminded of that. (admittedly the obama hating would have sent me straight to the delete key, though.)

Rob said...

A few days ago, a "friend" from High School (who lives in Huntsville--not California) posted a status update about how haapy he was that California passed the gay marriage ban. I actually felt guilty and mean spirited when I defriended him--like I was the one being rude. Seriously, though, I don't think online social networking etiquette requres you maintain connections (or see posts) from people that you barely know and that kind of hate you (you being the most pluralistic sense of the word...) Reconnecting and talking to people from the past can be great... And I've actually enjoyed a bit of real political dialogue from a few old friends who I haven't talked to in years and who have completely different world views from me and who I still respect. There are others, though... They just need to be blocked.

If it makes you feel any better--you lasted a long time. Angela was on Facebook for all of two and a half days before she was on the phone with me trying to figure out how to defriend someone.

Lisa said...

If you had a gangrenous pinky toe would you just sit there, trying to convince it that it shouldn't be diseased...watching it fester and turn black, or would you cut it off?

And that is my twisted metaphor for the day.

PS-Love you, friend.

Rob said...

Nice analogy.

Kind of like that bizarre episode of "Little House on the Prairie" when Pa was trapped in a snow storm and Caroline's leg got infected and and she was all ready to saw it off...

james said...

Drama update: And now we're facebook friends again. I swear, I think there is a lesson in all of this. And it probably has something to do with controlling my temper. Balls.

jenny said...

I prefer to use my status update as a passive-aggressive swipe at my coworkers. It's my way of venting while still maintaining the coward inside me.

jenny said...

"Kind of like that bizarre episode of "Little House on the Prairie" when Pa was trapped in a snow storm and Caroline's leg got infected and and she was all ready to saw it off..."

Holy shit. I know this will sound bizarre, but I think about this episode ALL THE TIME. It's like a memory fragment that rolls around my brain. I didn't even watch LHOTP that much as a kid, but there it is. Weird.