TRUE—lonely, bored, I spend most of my time bored and lonely on Facebook. In a condition like that it is easy to seem mad, but that is false. I assure you that today I am not mad. I am a sane man. It's just that my friends' photos and posts and likes and comments bring me life while I work on homework or ride the bus or have a heartfelt conversation with a loved one.
In sanity I decided to visit my friends' pages; friends that I had not seen in many years. Friends whose names I remember simply because they appear in my feed randomly. Friends who have wives, husbands, children, and family, all of which I now know to a greater extent than I ever knew even my own grandparents.
Visions of two hundred party boat pictures at their new house dashed through the mind. Play it cool.It was never a diabolical plot. I did not stay up planning in the moonlight at midnight every night. I sat at my desk at work and got bored for a second and porn wasn't an acceptable option so it happened. It happened again and again. I checked my friends' pages and did not see them in person. It got to the point where I took this form of interaction for granted. I simply learned as much about my friends' ultrasounds, wedding receptions, and, for a few, the size and regularity of their bowl movements as I could without ever talking to them. It seemed there was nothing wrong with that life of detached "friendship."
That was until the day I got ice cream.
It was at the Taste Freez in my hometown. I was smiling and talking with my friend. Tap, tap, tap on my shoulder. In an innocent second I suddenly made the horrible recognition that standing in front of my face was a person I had not seen in literally ten years but for which I knew everything about. And, there was nothing to talk about. That is to say nothing to admit I knew.
"Oh, man, John ‘T-bone Crusha' Cratt-Baker, how have you been man?"
"Great, man, working. How have you been? What are you doing these days?"
"Good, same here about working, yeesh." I mimed a gun in my mouth, blowing my brains out, then smiled and he digressed. "Your kids are getting big."
Awkward silence. The kids were not there getting ice cream. The pulse quickened and beat louder. I should not have mentioned them. He knew.
"Uh, yeah I guess they are. You probably don't know this but we just moved back to the area."
The beat was getting louder. Visions of two hundred party boat pictures at their new house dashed through the mind. Play it cool.
"Oh, coolz. Don't forget to buy some of those swimming noodles."
Shouldn't have said that. Sweat poured. He knew. He knew. The beat grew louder still. Louder and louder it climbed.
"Oh, you must have checked my Facebook. Anyway, it's weird to be back in the old hometown again."
It was too much to take. It could not be held in. The heart of the matter needed to burst out. It must be known. He must know. He must have heard the beating. How could he not? How could he not?
"I know! I know everything! You just posted that statement to your status five days and twenty-five minutes ago. I've been watching you for years! But, I'm not crazy! I liked your status!"