"As I was scrubbing the toilet today, M asked if he could help. I told him no, that it was a Mommy job. I immediately regretted it. Daddys can scrub toilets, too, damnit!"
"I need help designing a website. Does anyone know anyone who (knows anyone who knows anyone who) can help me?"
"I am ironing a button-down shirt for a job interview and what the HELL. If it’s not already, I vote that ironing should become a lost art."
"What is with men and cooking meat? I suck at it and my husband rocks. It’s just true."
"Just found a heap of old photos from high school and college, and all I can say is I'M SORRY to everybody who had to endure me then. Really. Very. Sorry."
And because these are the ways in which I am now sharing my life, in these punchlines, these sound bytes, I find myself narrating to myself the facebook post that will most wittily describe my actions AS I’M DOING the action. So not only has Facebook become the thing that I feel compelled to check every hour or so throughout the day, even as my children demonstrate that they need my immediate attention, even as I excuse these needs by explaining to them and to myself that I have needs, too, not only has Facebook drawn me into its folds like street drugs draw junkies, it has also changed the way in which I actually experience my life.
This feels like a big deal, and not in the best of ways.
I was talking with a friend recently who had more or less joined the world of facebook so that he and his wife could share the link to their open-adoption blog. They were eager to find a birth mother and knew that it truly was a waiting game; when a birth mother found their site (through the agency or through their separate blog), it was up to her to choose them as parents for her child and to contact them first. So every day they would check their inbox to see if maybe, just maybe, a pregnant woman had left a note. I can only imagine the emotional cycles of hope and disappointment, expectation and surrender that they must have endured in those months.
I remember sharing that link as often as they did because it was one of the only things we, the friends, the real friends, could do. I felt apologetic and embarrassed that my body had so easily become pregnant (we conceived the second month), and was reminded to be sensitive to the fact that the desperate itch to become a parent is not so always so easily scratched.
I think MTV was the first to discover that the human brain is more engaged by quick, rapid video shots than it is by long, changeless shots, so perhaps there’s something hardwired in us to be ever on the lookout for the next stimulus. I suppose if we’re living in the jungle, or wherever, we need to be alert to moving input. That tiger we didn’t notice just ate us, and so on. Facebook is perhaps merely the most recent brand name company to have cashed in on our instincts. It’s not their fault, is it? that we humans notice change more readily than we notice not-change.
What’s more, I’m reluctant to fall victim to facebook’s narration of my non-facebook life. I must NOT live my days as status updates. Think what you will while you scrub the toilet, S, but exercise some discipline; save the punchlines for your standup career (???) or perhaps include them in larger works of storytelling. (How’s THAT for self-reflective?) Or maybe it’s good enough to merely notice when it’s happening; recognize that I’d like to mention how proud of my 3-year-old who is now reading the first six sounds taught in my FAVORITE literacy book (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons), and decide whether this news warrants a public announcement on the ol’ FB. Okay I thought about it and yes, yes it does.
In any case, I am now fully convinced that we need some sort of large-scale intervention. For those of us who are not demonstrating the behaviors of an addict, well, clearly the three suggestions listed above are not for you. But for the rest of us, surely there is SOME way we can loosen the facebook tentacles from our real-time lives? Who’s with me?
If you are, please click “like.”