Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So I put my sorry old ass on Facebook after reading a fascinating article about it in one of the plethora of magazines which we receive,unbidden, at our office. The article explained the genesis of the Facebook phenomenon and I was intrigued by it. Also, you don't really need an invitation to get on (very egalitarian, I must say) and so I jumped right in.
One of the first things you're supposed to do, especially if you are under 30 years old,is to import a photo of yourself into an itty-bitty box which keeps appearing and reappearing whenever you send anything out from your page. Because I am both 60 and technologically-impaired due to a genetic complication inherited from my mother who cannot yet grasp the concept of the digital clock nor even the radio, I spent what was probably too much time locating a picture and importing it. All I could find was one of me and David together so it may seem as if my identity and his have somehow fused, which is understandable given that our 38th anniversary is approaching. I then added a few random autobiographical details and some likes and dislikes regarding literature and cinema, as I was prompted to do. Then I clicked the button and, voila!, I was 'Booked.
This amazing site has a brilliant feature which enables it to automatically search through one's email address book, pick out the people already on Facebook, and allow you to "invite" them to be your "friends". Another clever gizmo searches through your classmates from college and high school. Well, none of my classmates appeared. It could be that maybe, after all these years, I am the absolute hippest and coolest individual from Grinnell College class of '68. A few other explanations for their absence from Facebook might be that my compatriots are too busy (according to the class notes for the upcoming 40th reunion)working at their high-level jobs, visiting their adorable grandchildren , or dying.In my humble opinion, the answer is the first. Some people obviously hit their hipness stride early; they peak and go straight downhill. Others, such as I, are the late bloomers. The VERY late bloomers..
In terms of my personal email address book, the site spit out only two names. One was a guy we know from the Square who has a precious dog named Gus. The other was a certain Zachary Pelta-Heller, my esteemed son-in-law. I decided to barrel-ass right on in and I posted a note on Zack's "Wall". Please do not make me explain this feature; all I know is that everyone has this wall about three-quarters down the page and I guess it is a kind of public statement for all viewers to read.
I waited patiently but my daughter's husband failed to respond to this brash act. Had I committed a Facebook faux pas? Could it be that this lovely young man whom I consider a surrogate son could not find it in his heart to be my "friend"? Would being on Facebook cause me to have to take a half a Xanax? Oy.
A few days later I got a call from my actual son. It's a cyber-mystery to me how he found out but, using his cautious and concerned tone, he inquired very politely why I had decided to go on Facebook? It was a tone similar to the one used by his sister when she inquires, after one of my charming memory lapses, if it's time yet "for the home". I explained about the Newsweek article and then offered the excuse that I thought it would be helpful prior to the election as an organizing tool for me to find others who share my candidate preferences.
Soon after that Zack did respond and by then I was up to 3 friends...my son, daughter, and now my son-in-law. It seems that he hadn't seen my wall posting and thus his silence meant nothing about our relationship after all. He also sounded a tad quizzical about my debut on Facebook, but without the tone.
Then I got an invitation to be Alisa's friend. She is a good friend of Anna and Zack's from college and I had the paranoid thought that Zack begged her to send me the offer because I had moaned to him about my Facebook unpopularity. It turns out that she "adores" the fact that I joined. After that, McKenna, whom I've known since she was 4, invited me too and she even posted something on my wall.
In ways that remain mysterious to me, others found out as well, and David's cousin's wife Stacey, my new friend Marie, and several others have bestowed their friendship upon me.
Something I love about Facebook is that there are lots of subgroups to belong to.They are a topic for another post someday, if I can spare the time away from my virtual friends. Excuse me while I 'book on outta here......