how to ruin a successful party

On Wednesday I had lunch with a friend who, just minutes before I arrived at the restaurant, was informed of some test results which reveal that she does not, in fact, have cancer. This news -- combined with the chicken curry in coconut milk, otherwise known as the number one -- made it a very cheerful lunch.

Yesteday I had lunch with another friend who told me that she's getting married in April to some posh professor she met on Twitter. Capital! She's had a rough go for awhile and this was some nice news. Plus we had more linguini on our plates than we could possibly ever eat.

Also yesterday I tried to make a comment on a friend's Facebook activity and was denied.

When I (sarcastically) asked her about it, she informed me that she had recently made two big changes to her 'social networking': deleting (and disallowing comments from) people she doesn't know in "real life". She said I had "actually made the cut", but when her husband asked (twice) about the "dude who was commenting on every post", she had to "axe" me.

And this was disappointing.

Because while she's right -- I do not know her "in real life" -- I *could* pick her out of a police lineup. And I have a pretty good take on her sense of humour (dark but hopeful with a twist of improv, which she does in her spare time). And we've had some meaningful email exchanges, and she's always been extremely thoughtful and generous. She even bought my book.

But no, I don't 'know' her "in real life".

And anyone who knows *me* understands that I am bleak and difficult and floundering, and that I use Facebook to spread The Bad Word, sell some work and have a bit of fun. I do not take it seriously. I make comments with all the aforethought of Godzilla wading into downtown Japanese traffic.

At the same time, I don't edit what people say on my own wall. Of course most of it is nice, because people want to say positive things, and be liked ("Hurray for everyone!"). Some of it is even interesting. But, because of who (or what) I am, I also get a great deal of smart-assery. In fact, I have one friend (she just gave me a lift halfway home from work the other day, in "real life") who regularly comments on how I make her ill to her stomach, when she's not saying things like, "I'm sorry your bum isn't working today."

It's pell-mell. It's a rumpus, a fracas. It's a brouhaha. I'll 'friend' just about anybody. Who cares? You're just making noise on an imaginary zeppelin ride. Anything that can disappear when you shut off the electricity isn't worth getting too worked up about. And I don't know what the point of it is if it's only a pale duplicate of your 'real world'.

O well. Now my 'friend' and I will have to go through an awkward waiting period, where nothing happens, before one quietly deletes the other.


  1. Oy. Well. Like your friend marrying a dude she met on Twitter, I have made tons of real, genuine friends and business contacts, and formed nebulous 21st century relationships that are both of those and nothing at the same time. I have friends I've never met who've met each other in my Facebook comments, and then met in real life and now know each other better than I know them. I have bunch of people my boyfriend (our courtship initially unfolded mainly via G-talk) recognizes as "that guy who comments on everything all the time," and I am that girl who comments on everything all the time, and dammit, this is just how it's supposed to work when it's working the way it works best.

  2. half of my life is imaginary. i agree. so what?

    but on that note, don't let your friend's husband's rejection (because that's ultimately what it is) bum you out.

  3. A. your writing is pretty bril. B. if it feels real it is real C. thank god for smart-assery (and the coinery of that phraseology) D. curating commentary is lame-assery.

    Love the photos of old junk you are posting. positively perfect.

  4. I had a big blow-up over a Facebook comment last year and it involved someone telling me that I thought of him as a stalker and a nuisance after one of my friends made a slight "omg stalker LOL" comment to one of his many comments to my statuses, pictures, etc. I just sat back at let him have his tantrum the explained that it's just Facebook, it's not real.

    But maybe it's more real than we have ever thought.

  5. My "real life" friends do not participate in Facebook, do not email me, and do not read my blog. My computer friends make helpful or supportive comments on Facebook. They tell me they like my art on my blog and when I want sarcasm and jokes, they give me plenty (ok, not plenty, but some). Far more than those "real life" friends.

    When I'm done here, I'm going to check email and Facebook. None of my "real friends" are knocking down the door to have tea and crumpets with me.

  6. I'm going to quote this on Twitter:
    "Anything that can disappear when you shut off the electricity isn't very worth getting too worked up about."

  7. I think I've put online art in that category as well.

  8. i love the word 'fracas'
    and this post is kind of cool tooo.

  9. Jill: well said, as always

    Tami: only half? and no, I won't (writing this post helped quite a bit)

    Susan: thank you, that's

    Krista: it's a real not-real, which is at least half of what makes it interesting

    Kim: I hear you, very clearly; I often write about my "real" friends here because I know they'll never see it

    Jeannette: on the other hand, we did become friends on IFN (ah, IFN)

    Maggie: tnx -- yeah, fracas is the bomb

  10. i hafta wonder bout a gal makin her fb decisions based on her husband!!actually -does she indeed have one or is it maybe somthing deeper like you didnt accept her farmville friend request?'s the bum?

  11. ouch...being smacked by an unreal friend! Oh well. I find that my real friends aren't around much. Very few of them. I find my Facebook, blog and Red Bubble friends are responsive..maybe because we are all avoiding real life and sitting on our bums and playing on line instead of living our real lives..this is making me confused. I saw a story on our local news about a 16 yr. old girl in Utah who is being cyberstalked..but it turns out she was posting suggestive pics of herself when she was 14 yrs. old all over the web. Bet she got friended a lot that way. Maybe a grid shut down might do us some good..getting out and having to actually meet people..but look what the internet did for Egypt..was that real?

  12. Anonymous12:54 pm

    People need to laugh more. I just met a fellow today who bought a piece of my work and he was very much like I expected...oh and he brought me a bag of really good coffee. So facebook and the world wide web is good for something I'd say. Not everyone is out to molest you, because they comment on every second posting or whatever. So how is your bum doing today anyways? (I was going to opt for the simple comment, and say maybe 4 words at the most, oh well) :-)


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