Specifically the fbook.
I did join the other one, the one that starts with my, a few years ago, at the encouragement of my younger, hipper brother, but I didn't use it much. I found the whole thing a little silly, or maybe I felt silly.
I think there are two ways people respond to explosively popular cultural items or icons. I include fbook, Hannah Montana, and whatever toys have succeeded the phenomenon of the Cabbage Patch dolls I remember from my younger days. Fill in your own.
Most people, one has to assume, run with hands pressed to face in breathless excitement toward the new Wonder, otherwise it wouldn't be or stay popular, right?
A few of us, maybe we're elitists, too ironic for our own good, hopelessly uncool, or some combination of the three, we go in the opposite direction. Or at least we stand still, arms crossed, with a look of distrust (and maybe vague disgust) on our faces. Nah, not for me, we say.
But then I had this friend who would never call me back. The phone at her home would ring and ring, and whenever I tried her cell phone, it happened to be a day when her husband took it with him to work. She sometimes took weeks to respond to my emails. I have two reactions in these circumstances. My inner insecure teenage girl says, She doesn't really like you. Why would she want to be your friend? My more mature, rational adult says, She's busy. She has kids. She's in grad school. She has a job. You know what it's like. Anyway, this friend kept saying, Join fbook. I'm on it all the time, she said. And when we worked together, I remember seeing her check it when she had a spare moment, so I thought, hey maybe this way we can have a conversation.
Before that, of course, I'd disdained it a bit, for all the reasons that made me roll my eyes when I finally signed up. Do I really want to fling virtual thongs at people? Buy people virtual drinks? What is the point of all this? Don't I waste enough time as it is? I friended a few relatives and gazed at their lists of 100s of friends. I don't even know that many people, I thought. How could I keep up with that many people even if I did know them? Would I want to, even if I could? And I felt a little sorry for myself, a little inferior to the more social others, which was a comfortable and familiar place for me: the cozy pit of pity.
Then I found one of my high school friends. One of my best friends from high school, who I hadn't talked to since we'd just finished college. And I actually talked to her on the phone, and we wanted to keep catching up, and we are going to get together in person because she happens to live in the same city as my in-laws.
And speaking of my in-laws, I got into a messaging back-and-forth with one of my sisters-in-law, who I see a couple of times a year, have always liked, but never contacted much outside of those family events. And now I feel like I know her so much better, and she knows me better.
Then I found another old coworker from years ago, and some current and former classmates, and I'm probably going to keep finding people. I will probably never have 100 friends, but I may have more than I did before I started this whole fbook thing. I like that. I think it's good for me.
Even if I never do fling anything at you.