Monday, June 15, 2009

When I ran spell check on this, Blogger highlighted all instances of "Facebook," and I'm a little shocked how much yellow there was to display.

I've got a meme to finish, and I should probably do that. I should probably do a lot of things, but as it turns out, I'm much better at saying I should probably do things than I am at actually doing them. Perhaps it's best to embrace this foot-dragging part of my personality already and simply abandon even my smallest and least significant goals. Or perhaps I am just tired (SO TIRED), and low expectations and lethargy are all I've the energy for.

I'm not making any sense, am I? I should probably shut the lid on the laptop and go to bed early, but like I told you: better at saying I should probably do things than I am at actually doing them. Must work on this.

My weekend was exhausting, in the dirty, sweaty, manual labor way rather than the fun but overwhelming social butterfly way. The good news is, I am finally almost (ALMOST!) done with the landscaping project that six weeks ago I thought might take me two weekends. (Ha! I slay me. Obviously I will never learn.) The bad news is, a half a tube or so of Ben-Gay seems like a good idea right now, and yet I don't even want to bother because I wouldn't know where best to slather it. People, my everything hurts. Would a bath in Ben-Gay be unwise?

Incidentally, the other good news about my being almost (ALMOST!) done with this project is that when I am done I will finally stop talking about it. You're welcome in advance, as I'm well aware it is interesting to no one but me. Come to think of it, however, that is not unlike probably a solid 75% of what I write about, so scratch that pseudo-apology; obviously it is worthless.

Moving on. I said last week that I had Facebook stories to share. I am going to stop apologizing for telling Facebook stories as well, as I have realized that whether we like it and admit it or not, Facebook has become so integrated into our lives that it comes up as casually and unintentionally as stories about work or family. I rarely talk about work or my family, so clearly Facebook is simply filling some conversational void. (I'm not proud.) Tonight I had dinner with a friend and I realized, in the middle of a Facebook story, that the people at the next table were talking about Facebook as well. So see? It is NOT JUST ME! Technically, however, none of us were actually talking about Facebook. We were each telling a story in which Facebook was simply the venue. Facebook is a conduit for our daily lives, just like any other place (real or virtual) is. This is an angle that actually hadn't occurred to me before, and I'm sort of working it out as I type, and yet suddenly it makes me feel a whole lot better about the number of comments I make or stories I tell in which the word "Facebook" bears mention. Facebook is just the venue. If it helps, we could say two out of three of these tales took place at the mall.


Facebook story the first: Last week, I received a friend request that I sat on for a full three days before begrudgingly clicking "Accept." It was from a former classmate who I have NO good memories of. None. Dude was a smart allecky punk on his good days and an absolute ass on his bad ones. In the eleven years that I knew him, his wiseass remarks weren't directed at me specifically often enough that he's scarred me in any permanent way, though on the rare occasions that I think of him, the first memories that come to mind are ones I did hate him for at the time. The day he pushed me down on the playground and made me tear a hole in the brand new corduroys I'd gotten for Christmas. (They were turquoise with a gray pinstripe checkered pattern, and they were fabulous. It was 1985. Trust me.) The day he stole my stocking cap, and I was too foolish to lie and tell my mother I lost it, which meant she called his mother to complain about him, and I got labeled a tattle tale for a week. Oh, and my personal favorite: the day he gave me the worst nickname I've ever acquired, a nickname I should really have a sense of humor about by now and yet still refuse to share with even my closest friends.

So yeah. Good times. Great guy. I can totally see why he friended me, no?

I almost didn't click that Confirm button. I almost sent him a note to say, "Dude, we were never friends, and I have NO good memories of you. The fact that we went to the same school is not reason enough to link to me." But I didn't. Because really, what is the big deal? The path of least resistance comes to mind. I don't care if he sees anything on my profile, and I don't expect any further direct contact from him to me. I will forget he is there just as I have half the other people I'm linked to, and life will be no different henceforth. But before I commenced the forgetting, obviously I looked at his profile.

During the eleven years of our childhood in which I knew this guy, he made at least two nuns cry. He also inspired one of our CCD teachers to quit her volunteer post, so miserable was the experience for her. And yet, today, the "Religious Views" line on his profile says, "Born-again Christian Believer." He lists the Bible (author: God) among his favorite books. I read his profile and my jaw dropped, and I said (out loud, to the computer screen), "Who ARE you?!?"

So maybe 17 years does make a big difference. Maybe he has changed a bit. Maybe he actually is less of a giant ass by now and would be shocked to learn I remember him as such. Then again, he describes his political views as "Conservative, in the divisive, polarizing kind of way." So nope. Pretty sure I'd still hate that guy.

Do you see now why I pulled these stories out of that meme question deeming them too long to be part of that post? I promise the next two are shorter. That dude got me more worked up than I thought.

Facebook story the second: I told you last week that a new clip had been added to the montage reel of dates past. I did not tell you that I actually ran into that same date a second time a mere four days later. He was at that book club discussion I mentioned, and I wasn't particularly surprised to see him there, given that I saw his name on the list in the related Facebook group months ago now. Still. In a metro area of 3.5 million people? Two run-ins in a week? This is getting a little ridiculous.

More ridiculous, however? The day after that run-in, his face and name showed up in the "Suggestions" box on my Facebook home page. For those of you not yet sucked into this world, the "Suggestions" box highlights people you may know, who you might want to add as a friend. Generally they are people I went to school with, vague acquaintances, or strangers who happen to be friends of my friends. To my knowledge, NEVER has Facebook suggested I be friends with someone I have no linked friends in common with. Not ONLY did it suggest this guy, however, but Facebook also suggested a meMarmony match I emailed with briefly but never dated two years ago, a three-date guy who long time readers with steel trap memories might remember as Boomerang Mike, AND... drumroll please... the damn Traffic Engineer. Facebook should have NO reason whatsoever to know that I know these men. Facebook is messing with me.

It is now entirely past my bed time, and this post has run entirely longer than I intended, but I promise this last one will be quick.

Facebook story the third (and final... for now): I friended my neighbor recently. You know... my super helpful neighbor? The one I have mentioned many times but am too lazy to find a related post to link to? He is the neighbor who snowblows my driveway after blizzards. The one who comes over to start my lawn mower for me when he hears me swearing at it. And the one who fixed the broken shovel that I abandoned in my yard. (OK, that one was recent enough to quickly find the appropriate link.)

I debated the necessity of friending him, but it has already come in handy! No longer do I have to hope he just happens to be in his yard when I need help with something! No! I can pester him directly! Hurrah! I share with you our first Facebook messaging exchange...

From: Stefanie
To: Nice neighbor
Subject: I promise I will not routinely use Facebook for requests such as this.

Hi. OK, I *should* be brave enough to take care of this myself, but I am not. You are far less squeamish than I am, given that I'm pretty sure you hunt and fish and therefore presumably touch dead animals on a regular basis. A squirrel has met his final demise on the grass directly next to your fence and retaining wall. Is there any chance you might be so good as to remove it before other animals start gnawing at its sad, stiff little carcass? If so, that would be awesome.

Poor little guy. Also, ew.

Within 15 minutes, I had this reply...

From: Nice neighbor
To: Stefanie
Subject: RE: I promise I will not routinely use Facebook for requests such as this.

Thanks for the notice. As we speak, it is now boiling in a pot. BTW - Did you want to come over for dinner? ; )

I declined, of course, and I also resisted the urge to invite his poor wife over to my house for dinner instead (only in part because that particular night I happened to be having Ramen noodles, and she may or may not have thought that any better an option than boiled squirrel). But the important part? Dead squirrel gone! Fifteen minutes after I noticed him there! And I didn't have to touch his possibly rabies-infested body myself. Whoo hoo.

Frankly, if that doesn't convince you that Facebook is immeasurably useful, I don't know what will.


Anonymous said...

As to Facebook story #2 - when you initially signed up there was a point where it asked you to find your friends via your e-mail address book. Since you more liekly e-mailed said dates at some point or another, it connects you through that.

But yeah, FB can be creepy like that, when suddenly you see a name or face out of the blue. I recently saw my ex-husbands profile as a suggestion. Quick NO THANKS because who needs that, although it would have been interesting to spy on him. but not the other way around. LOL!

Sarah said...

I'm glad you talk about Facebook so much, and I really like your theory about it being a conduit.

However, your friend suggestions are just freaky!

(long time reader, first time commenter - see, it took Facebook to get me out of my shell.)

Sarah B. said...

The bass player for Creed is in my suggestions file, and even though I will never friend him (he might remember me, might not, we went to the same HS), I can't bring myself to click the little x that will make his name disappear, because it makes me feel just a little cool that a rock star is listed in my suggestions. Yeah, I'm a dork!

3carnations said...

That still doesn't convince me to make Facebook a part of my life. Last night hubby was pulling some ivy that was growing near the side of the house in an effort to get plants away from our house for reasons you don't want to read about. While he did it, our 90 year old neighbor was staring out the window, as she normally is. "Friending" neighbors is not a selling point for me. :-)

Shelly said...

I love your neighbor. And I have a FB story of my own that I need to post. Thanks for reminding me.

flurrious said...

I sometimes think about joining Facebook, which in itself is evidence that it's a trend on its way out. I mean, I still use a VCR. You can't go by me.

Stefanie said...

Anonymous--Yes, but it did NOT locate these guys when I ran that address book search thing months ago, and I have not run it again since. Does Facebook have permanent access to my address book?? Also, one of those guys I never emailed directly; we emailed only through the meMarmony site. And the guy I've run into twice in the past week? He is not in my address book either! Is Facebook looking through actual email messages as well??

What I'm wondering is if it's using search activity for friend suggestions. If so, that terrifies me, as it means I can no longer look at my ex-boyfriend's ex-wife's page now and then for my own amusement. I did search for the guy in question, but I did so months ago. Did Facebook display him as a suggestion now because he also searched for ME? I'm baffled.

That comment was longer than the story within my post. Must move on...

Sarah--Well, welcome! I'm glad my own Facebook addiction could prompt you to speak up. :-)

Sarah B.--I see your point, and would likely do the same thing, but this is CREED we're talking about. Cool is relative. ;-)

3Cs--I'm pretty sure the elderly neighbors on the other side of my house are not on Facebook. I'm guessing yours isn't either. Though you never know! And don't you think her status updates would be hilarious? They probably often feature YOU!

Shelly--Yeah, I pretty much hit the neighbor jackpot when I moved in next to that guy. I've told him he can never move.

Flurrious--I still use a VCR too. And I have a land line as well. I think that doesn't mean Facebook is on its way out; it just means it is for everyone now, not just for kids and hipsters. (I mean, my MOTHER joined, remember? Wait. You're right. Maybe we ARE nearing Facebook's end...)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, boiled squirrel. I hate squirrels. They freak me out for some reason.

I'm going to look for the NOT A FAN of SQUIRREL application on FB and sign myself up!

Jess said...

With the first guy, sounds like he had some issues that made him such an ass as a kid. Because most kids aren't naturally such assholes, you know?

And now it appears that he's found a different way to deal with those issues. Congratulations to him?

lizgwiz said...

I have a landline and a VCR, as well. They still work. (And, actually, in the big ice storm a while back, I was REALLY glad to have a landline and a corded phone.)

I say that, now that you've taken a peek, you "unfriend" the guy. Tear my pants, will you? ;)

travelingsuep said...

I love facebook and spend hours "stalking" my friends, as they do to me. I also spend loads of time reading blogs, like yours. However, I want to know - what has happened to talking to people? Your neighbour sounds a star, especially as the spade gnome, so why didn't you speak to him instead of messaging next door?

NGS said...

I'm with 3C's on this!! I am not on Facebook and none of this has convinced me that I need to be. I am scared that Jack Thomas, that evil bully from high school, will find me. Yes, that's his REAL name. He was evil. Until I started reading about your former classmate that you friend, I actually had forgotten all about him! But the scars still linger! Argh.

Mary said...

This is awesome.

BTW, you're right in your response to Anonymous. It doesn't access your Gmail (or whatever) account forever, and I would bet $100 that you didn't let FB send those contacts a note saying "I invite you to join Facebook!" or whatever it says.

-R- said...

Your Facebook stories did not disappoint. Good job on all the yard work!

Heather said...

What you wrote makes me feel better about not wanting to be friends with certain people on Facebook. I see the two girls who terrorized me in junior high/high school on there (we have a ton of friends on common), but if they ever try to friend me, I'll gleefully hit "ignore."

On the one hand, I feel like I should be over it. But on the other, they were total bitches, yo, and it's not okay.

Shana said...

Huh. So that kid was a d*ck then, and it sounds like not much has truly changed, despite his spiritual whatever. I say you send the message that was your first instinct and de-friend him. Life is too short to be reminded of that twerp.

I love your nice neighbor. He sounds both extra-helpy AND fun!

Alice said...

i totally deny friend requests like that. if we were never friends in any conceivable way, i will not be your friend now.

Miss Pants said...

I have recently started playing Bejeweled on Facebook in an effort to avoid stress and it has to be the most useless game ever and I can't help myself.

Stefanie said...

Stacey--As Carrie Bradshaw said, a squirrel is just a rat in a cuter outfit, right?

Jess--I think his issues were maybe a bit of a Napolean complex. He got bumped up a year in first grade because he was a good reader, so he was smaller and younger than the rest of us, and maybe thought he needed a bigger personality to compensate? Nah, that's giving him too much credit. Dude was just a jerk.

Liz--Tear your pants? Is that a phrase that's going to take off? Hmm.

Sue--For the record, I DO talk to him! Often! (Well, often-ish.) But I didn't want to knock on his door and bother him directly, possibly interrupting his dinner for some silly problem I should have been brave enough to handle myself. Sending a message let me ask the favor without feeling like too much of a demanding pest.

NGS--Well great. Now Jack Thomas is going to vanity-Google his way HERE! Hmm. As long as he's stopping by, is there anything else you'd like to tell him? :-)

Mary--I definitely did NOT send those contacts such a note. I am web savvier than that! Also, two out of those four men are NOT in my address book and never were. I'm convinced FB is using search activity for friend suggestions, and that makes me uneasy. (By the way, I did not search for the guy I never even went on a date with, and I would be extremely surprised and confused if he'd searched for me. So I guess that blows that theory after all, maybe.)

R--I can't wait until I am DONE done. I will post pictures to brag.

Heather--I just feel weird clicking Ignore because I had a very small class, and several other people I'm linked to are FB friends with this guy. I don't know that I'll ever go to a class reunion, but if I do, isn't it better not to have been the ass here? Whatever; he can look at my profile if he wants, but I'm not initiating any communication with him.

Shana--As in Shana in MO? You usually comment as Anonymous and then sign your comment! Anyway, hello. :-) Yes, life is too short for such nonsense, but if he bugs me, I will just click the X to hide him from my news feed. That or I'll de-friend him after all. We shall see, I guess.

Alice--I have clicked Ignore on people who I genuinely never knew (people who went to my high school but were a few years older or younger, and I had to consult a yearbook to see if I even knew who they were, for example, or in one case, the WIFE of a HS classmate who I have never met and never will meet). But someone from my actual class? A class of only 100? It seems too harsh.

Pants--On the contrary, it is no more useless than many other games! Would you like to play Scrabble with me instead? :-)

Courtney said...

BOILING IN A POT?!? Your neighbor may be very nice, but he eats BOILED SQUIRREL. Gross.

I think Facebook should have three buttons for friend requests: One for Confirm, one for Ignore, and one for You Were Mean To Me, So Piss Off. I'd get great joy out of using that third one, as would you, it seems.

travelingsuep said...

I love Courtney's suggestion of a 3rd button. It would be useful when you defriend someone to ... I'm just on the point of defriending my ex and "You Were Mean To Me, So Piss Off" would be perfect.

Stefanie said...

Courtney--You do realize he was kidding, right? Or, I HOPE he was! :-)

Sue--I agree. Maybe we can put in a request for that enhancement in the next version of Facebook?

Poppy said...

Poppy's advice: Never add a friend you don't want to. Cuz... what's the point of that? I also don't ever add friends of anyone I currently work with. My personal life is just that; my professional life is just that.

Also, never trust a boy who wants to "apologize" for how he acted while he was your boyfriend. One-third of the time the boys are just doing that so that they can then STRIKE LIKE A RATTLESNAKE and tell you how awful a person you were and that's why they had to do what they did to you to hurt you. (Um, hi, go play your mind games on your wife, doom-ba.)

Poppy said...

BTW, that was all FACEBOOK advice. Gah, I'm so bad in my old age. Our old age!

Lara said...

First - these are excellent stories. I cracked up at the stocking-cap-thief's favorite book and author, and really everything else about him. heh. Also, I must tell you: I think Nice Neighbor has a crush on you.