Sunday, December 19, 2010


Facebook is a weird thing. You create a profile and let people look at it and you look at other profiles and you all decide if you want to be friends. It feels kind of like being on the playground in grammer school and waiting to be picked for a team in kickball. I have been thinking about dropping off of Facebook cause I just didn't see the point.

You find or are found by people you have not seen in a long time or people you see every day become a more intimate part of your daily life.

Some people feel the need to put every detail of their day out there. Do I really need to know that you are hitting the floor running with a cup of coffee this morning or you are not hitting the floor this morning due to an influx of mucus in your life?

Sometimes you are sent back into your past to places you might not want to go. I am Facebook friends with someone that I was friends with a long time ago. The first year of high school is hard for anyone. I grew up on a small island and went from the first day of kindergarten to the graduation ceremony of eighth grade with the same core group of kids. I knew every single person in my class and my parents knew their parents. When it was time for high school we were bussed to the mainland to a school most of us did not know existed. I can only imagine now after the gift of time how difficult it must have been for Marge to enter that school, that island, that life.

She just kind of showed up. I am not even really sure how we met. Our mothers were friends, perhaps they put us together like a blind date. All I knew was that I thought she was cool. She was goth before there was a name for it. She came to live with her mother and her mother's second husband and their children. I probably never even asked her how hard that must have been or what her life was like before she came to our little town. Where did she come from? How come she was here? She spent the night at my house, but I don't remember staying at hers. Our mothers drove us to Providence one night to see my first concert. Jethro Tull. I think we had a good time? Then one day she was gone. I'm not sure she even finished the school year and sadly I am not sure I even asked where she went. I think that says an awful lot about me and it is not very complimentary.

Well, one day close to forty years later she friends me on facebook and truthfully I am not sure why. I don't think I was a very good friend then, why would she want to find out if I was going to be any better now?

After trading a few pleasantries we did what most facebook friends do, we exist. We read postings, we look at pictures, we say nice things. This all changed a few days ago when her postings changed to vague things about how horrible this Christmas season was going to be. Other friends, that seem to be geographically and emotionally closer were comforting her with words that contained no information for me. All I really knew what that someone she loved had died from suicide.

So I did what I might not have done if it were not for Facebook, I asked. At first I felt as if I might be intruding where I really was not wanted or had any right to be, because in truth I am a stranger to this grown woman and her life.

Her oldest son had been missing for over two years, his body had been found hanging from a tree by two strangers out hunting. Her pain is evident in her words, in the posting of songs she has put up on her page, to the lack of postings of her daily life which I had come to enjoy reading about.

So I reach out and ask questions. I say a little about my experience with suicide and hope they help. But, what I really want is just for her to talk to me. To tell me about her son. To help in the little way I can.

So maybe this Facebook think is not as lame as as I thought. Maybe this Facebook thing might just catch on.


Andrea said...

very nice, thanks. I have been feeling a little lame justifying facebook to my non-FB friends and family members, but actually I feel glad to be connected to people who meant something to me at other points in my life, and with whom I might connect again.

Anonymous said...

You did a good job putting it into words. I enjoy hearing from friends far and wide. Yesterday, when you commented on our trip to Myrtle Beach, it made me smile...and I pictured you looking down into our car from above (Pleasanton = heaven?)as we drove north on Rt 17. It felt good knowing you were there.
I've also been in touch with some very old friends and it has been fun. I imagine your friend got in touch with you because you were important to her, though long ago. Obviously, she never forgot you.