Tag Archives: Social Media

Social Mediations

 
My aunt recently joined social media and it is slowly becoming the defining feature of what remains our somewhat shaky, tenuous-but-working-on-it relationship. Really.

It’s complicated.

My aunt has always been more of a senior sister to me: still young enough to be relatable, but just older enough as to throw scandalous suspicion on our outings together. You know.

A “cool mom” type.

Lorelei Gilmore.

Ideal.

But.

We drifted apart as I grew older, and she grew still older. The reasons were mostly philosophical in nature but damn real nevertheless.  I fought for them, back in the day.  I really did.

Given the chance, I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Though way less swears probably would have helped.

It’s a shame.

Anyway…

slowly, slowly, we began to reconnect, memory and emotion dulled and blunted by the passing of time, time, time.

And now she wants to be my “Friend”.

It's free but don't worry: you'll pay anyway.

When “always” also means “why not?”

When we see each other, that’s almost all she ever asks me now: “Why don’t you ‘Friend’ me? Why don’t you ‘Friend’ me?” A simple request that’s simple enough.

And yet I hesitate, my natural inclination being to question motive. To cross-examine expectations. To scrutinize hearts evidently on sleeves.  You’d be surprised.

Still…

Social media is exciting to the newly initiated for as long as it stays that way. When you start, you want the instant gratification that comes with having/pursuing/generating LOTS of it, and the more the merrier etc., etc., etc. That could be about all she’s after. I, then, would be incidental and that kind of works for me.

On the other hand…

Perhaps her request is really just a ploy to gain access to information she can pick and choose from, information that admittedly, yes, OK. I put out there in the first place but I can’t possibly be expected to remember absolutely everything that I say that I do and think when I post can I? Point is. She’ll know some Things, which means I’ll have to assume she knows All the Things, and it won’t really matter that I won’t  or can’t ever really know what she really knows. You know?

Then again…

It may be that she really wants to get to know me and is using what’s available because that’s just where we’re at right now, and given our history, well, that’s progress?  Even though the me she will get to know will be the me that I want to be known or at least hope to be known or at the very least want to be seen as because there’s not much else involved than that right there when it comes right down to it.

So, is that good enough?  And is it a starting point or a finishing line?  A means or an end?

It could be better than nothing.
 

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Cellulite

I lost my cell phone last month and in that space between figuratively and literally, I also lost my shit over it.  I checked EVERYWHERE and when that initial effort failed to solve my problem, I did what anyone would do: I went to social media and complained about it.

 

December 30th, 2011 

What’s on your mind?

Dear Cell Phone. Please come back. We can work things out. You bastard.

 
My relationship with my cell phone is certainly an “it’s complicated”.  The truth is, I actually hate being on the phone.  Never really got the hang of it.  I’d rather talk to people when they are being people in person or yell to them from Very Great Distances.

There’s also the imposition.

I don’t like the convenience that other people have to contact me whenever they want wherever I am, even if that’s nowhere in particular and I am doing NOTHING there.  Whether I’m single-handedly perfecting cold fusion in a bunker somewhere in the mojave desert or sittin’ around in dirty sweatpants at my mom’s marathoning Buffy and no matter what time it is, I just don’t want to be bothered simply because I can be bothered.

There must have been a procedure in place to call on someone when you needed to call them in the Before Time before cell phones but no one, it seems, can remember exactly what that was.

I think it involved pigeons.

Some sub-speicies of dove maybe?

But having a cell phone is pretty much an obligation now, and I’m just not bigger than that.  So, yes, I have one.

My Methuselah is also my Lazarus (plus three days).

Seven days off the grid and it's back to status quo. Again.

I say “cell phone”.  I don’t have a smart phone and in point of fact this is exactly where I will draw the line until they move it again.

There are good reasons why I refuse to get a smart phone.

Is it fear of the new?  Some kind of existential distrust of what we might call “progress”?

Yeah, probably.

What’s that Thing Kurt Vonnegut says?  “We are here on Earth to fart around” (1997: 219) and, see, I can’t really do that if you’re going to talk past me through your smart phone or – worst of the worse – if you’re going to fact check the Things I say offhand,  just because you can now.

That whole “Welp! Let’s just look it up, shall we?” that kind of started as a lighthearted game amongst friends is, I think, being played with too much predatory zeal to be any fun anymore.

It’s a trial now.  It’s an interrogation of small talk.

These are exactly the Things I’m trying to avoid, as futile as that is, for as long as I possibly can.  After all, just because the Romans are at the gate doesn’t mean you have to let them in.

With a cell phone, especially a crappy one, especially my crappy one (it’s over 3 years old, the camera is 2 pixels and is broken, and sometimes and especially during peak hours it sounds like I’m talking to you through a wet pillow), the excuses for non-engagement are of the best kind: trite and endless.

The battery ran out; I turned off the sound and the vibrate is broken; I dropped the call; there were no towers nearby; I was slightly underground; there was so much mist out there; SOLAR FLARES.

It all adds up to a marvellous buffer zone – a kind of heaven, really – where I can just fart around unless and until truly needed.

So, yes.  I kind of hate having my phone but I hate not having my phone because I’m expected to have it.

Such a modern romance.

As it turns out, I had dropped my cell phone in the garden. It spent a full seven days under dirt, then snow, then dirt and snow, then, like, ice for a while, then melt runoff and, eventually, my own sad realization at what had happened.



January 7th, 2012

What’s on your mind?

Cell phone!  You are back!!! But you smell like cigarettes and whores and are as dirty as rotten hell. There is water where there should not be and a “gritty” I have never before experienced against my fingertips. I am impressed and horrified. Or, as the Chinese say, imhorripressifed!

 
It took over two days before my cell phone was fully charged again and there are still tiny beads of condensation on the screen, here and there.  If left unplugged, I can now only have a 15-minute conversation on my cell phone before it shuts down completely.  If no one calls me, it stays on all the livelong day, cheerfully letting me know the time any time I want.

Forget heaven.

PARADISE.

 

References

Vonnegut, Kurt. (1997).  Timequake. Putnam Publishing Group: New York.

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