Tag Archives: friends

Friends

My parents never had any friends.  I know you’re saying, come on, don’t exaggerate, but I’m being perfectly serious.  They still don’t.  It’s the two of them, punto final.  They are not particularly anti-social, they just can’t be bothered.

So, having had no example, I’ve always had to make up the adult friend thing as I went along.  And I’ve moved around… a lot.  So whatever friendships I’ve managed to build up have fallen apart.  With Facebook I am able to salvage some, and with blogging I find I can get super attached, because I don’t feel like I ever have to lose any of the great people I meet over the internet, assuming we all continue to choose to inhabit cyberspace, and assuming the continuing existence of cyberspace.  (Now that we have it, can you imagine our reality without it?)

But in real life.  That’s another story.

I joined a local group of homeschoolers.  I met them at the park a couple of months ago.  Instantly, I was home.  I’d known them forever.  Not a moment of tension or awkwardness.

Great, right?

Leave it to me to put a negative spin on it.

First, they’ve known each other for years and are like a real community.  It would take me years to catch up, even though they do make me feel welcome now.  Wah, woe is me, I wish I’d stayed somewhere so I could be an integral part of some great group… blah blah blah.  Pity pot. 

Second, there is no guarantee we will stay in this area for any length of time, and if we leave they just get added to the Facebook list of blasts from the past.  My husband and I have an agreement that we will go where his career leads us.  My life is about my kids, who I can raise anywhere, my writing, which I can generate anywhere, languages, which I can speak anywhere, cooking and crafts… you get the idea.  I am willing to make this sacrifice to be a part of the wonderful partnership we have.  Most of the time it doesn’t feel like any kind of sacrifice at all, especially if I think of my parents’ social norm.

And I really like these folks.  They make sense to me.  We are on the same page.  I don’t want to lose that… again.

There is a get-together, a winter party, tonight.  I haven’t RSVPed, I am using the lice, the fact that today is my husband’s payday and thus I need to run multiple errands, and my own social inertia to blow it off.  But I’ve been told by one of the moms that I can just show up, and I secretly really want to go.  I’m at the point now where I am entering the “Cheers” phase of belonging to the group, where at least one person will instantly know my name and greet me when I walk in the door.

I think it might be a need we have, as social animals, to be recognized by not just the people in our hut but by the village at large.  Some kind of security, some kind of mental and emotional nourishment.  Don’t know how my parents manage without it, but I guess that’s their prob.

I’m so glad I woke up early this morning so I can sit here in the quiet (such a rare treat!) and get my head together.  I’m so glad you were here to listen.

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Filed under society

More Facebook Insights…

Every once in a while a few new observations occur to me about this social networking site.

Or maybe the observations are simply about my own life.

For example, you can organize your friends into categories.  I currently have five: people from high school, people from college, friends my husband and I met through his job in the last town we lived in, people I have met in our current town, and family.  

What is most interesting is that these categories do not overlap one iota.  Most likely none of these people will ever meet each other.  It is as though there are completely separate pockets to my life story that are totally unrelated.  There are even more pockets than these five, but I haven’t met up with anyone from the others.

I have discovered friend surfing.  If you aren’t friends with a person, they almost always have their profile set to private so you can’t see any of their information.  BUT you can see their friends!  Thusly, I can surf the friends of a friend, and from there find someone I know, or used to know, and surf their friends, ad nauseum.  It is a strange journey down a bizarre garden path where names and faces from the past bloom amongst the unfamiliar flora.  

When a certain person comes into view, it is as though the memory of them casts a light on a part of me that had been asleep since I last held them in my mind or saw them before me.  I am not completely me without all the people that have shaped my existence.

My final thought of the day is to meditate on the act of “catching up” on the last 20 years with someone who was only ever an acquaintance.  Of course any story we tell, no matter how many facts it relates, is in some way a lie due to all that we decide to leave out.  So which version do I tell to whom?  It is kind of fun to think about, really.  I can highlight a particular chapter of my crazy journey to give a certain impression.  I can turn my face slightly and appear a writer, a housewife, or a clown.

I know it’s a bit of a waste of time, commenting on someone’s status that isn’t even in my immediate vicinity just to make a witty joke or empathize with a human I once knew.  I know it’s a bit extravagant to send them good karma or pass them a drink, poke them, throw snowballs at them, or buy them a fish for their aquarium.  All kind of silly, really.

Yet, it apparently feeds me in some way since I keep going back to see what’s going on with everyone.  And occasionally, it is also food for thought.

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Filed under Life

No future for nostalgia?

A couple of years ago I wasn’t in touch with anyone from my past.  Not because I’d burned any bridges, not because there wasn’t anyone dear.  Just lost touch, moved away, got lazy, whatever.

Then when we left Oregon for North Carolina I got on Facebook and found a few people from the recent past.  But in the last few months, and most especially in the last few days, I have found a whole lot of friends and family that I haven’t spoken to in, well, not to make myself sound old, but… decades.

It is blowing my little mind.

Pretty soon everyone will have at their fingertips access to everyone they’ve ever known.  We are all starting to make our way onto the Net, that vast container that begins to encompass all of humanity, and we will be able to see how old or beautiful or successful or pitiful or broken we have all gotten.

And then what is to become of nostalgia?  When it all comes out of the past, all the old photos posted onto profiles, all the stories relived, what will become of memory?  Our entire past and present will exist on pages networked throughout cyberspace.  Instead of making up a perfect image of the good old days, I will simply enter a search and retrieve it from a database.  Instead of telling an embellished story of adventure, carefully amended for the whims of the audience I wish to entertain, the tale will be told on a blog with everyone adding comments.

I’m not complaining!  It is all new and exciting.  I am not afraid because I get to make it up as we go along, same as the next guy.  None of it has ever been done before.  No one has ever lived like this, on such a scale, inside such a network.

Does it blow your mind too?

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Filed under internet

Insuring against reality

Ads for insurance assail us ceaselessly.  We discuss and debate the best companies, rates, deductibles.  We maneuver the labyrinth of policies and hope to emerge in a perfectly safe place where our lives are protected from any conceivable disaster.

But it’s the nature of insurance that gets me.  Doesn’t an insurance policy essentially reflect that the individual carrier has no community on which to depend in an emergency?  Doesn’t it mean that all I have is my house, and if it burns down then there is nothing else in this world for me?  No one will take me in or help me rebuild or otherwise shelter me from the elements.

Supposedly having insurance demonstrates individual responsibility.  I send all this money to people I don’t even know so as not to be a burden to those I love if I ever have needs.  But what if you were to give all those various insurance premiums to someone whose house had burnt down?  By that altruistic act, wouldn’t you be insuring that there would be folks who would help you out in turn, should you ever need it?

Do we not trust each other?

We like the idea that we are protected by our policies so that we aren’t at the mercy of family, friends and community, so we send our protection money to… strangers?  We hope that these unknown persons in the guise of insurance agents will deign to show up at the scene of our emergency, ask us a bunch of personal and accusatory questions, and then decide whether or not they will give us the help for which we have been faithfully sending them all that money.  This makes us sleep better at night?

When did we decide to progress to a stage in civilization where a contract is a closer, more dependable bond than blood and camaraderie (I invoke here the 19th century definition of camaraderie as “a feeling of close friendship and trust among a group of people”)? 

We feel better that strangers decide who gets what help?  That they get the interest on the money sitting in wait of a disaster to relieve?  

I don’t claim to have the answer to this dilemma, nor do I necessarily believe it is possible for us in our modern world to take care of each other’s crises in the manner to which we have grown accustomed.  

I am just bothered by the whole idea, and saddened that there does not appear to be a less corporate, more community-oriented way to feel safer in our reality.

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Filed under society

Top Friends

This application goes in the column of evidence supporting the theory that Facebook is just a bunch of wanky elitism.  

Here’s a great way to make sure everyone who isn’t in your “Top Friends” knows that they are of a lower value!  “Hey buddy, aren’t you one of my bottom friends?”

Oooo, even better, if your significant other is one of your “friends,” you should totally make sure that your ex appears in a higher place in your “Top Friends” list, just to, you know, keep your partner guessing.  Can’t let people get too comfy.  

Do I sound bitter?  Am I one of those people who gets a pissy attitude if they aren’t the most adored human within a thousand mile radius?

Prolly.    

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