Facebook, Friending & Paula Behaving Badly
I got a Facebook friend request via e-mail last week.
This in itself is not an unusual thing. I started getting periodic requests from folks I worked with at my last office and I have friends and family who have Facebook accounts who don’t understand why I don’t have one.
“It’s the only way I can keep up with what my kids are up to.” I hear this from a lot of parents I know. Well, maybe I don’t know everything my older kids are up to, but I prefer to have actual conversations with them rather than tracking a news feed. Maybe I’m just weird, but I like having a more verbal connection with my kids rather than following them via a Facebook broadcast of their various activities.
“It’s a great way to get back in touch with old friends.” Frankly, I’m happy to wait for the next high school reunion to catch up with people. I’ve stayed in touch with the friends that I have for a reason and lost touch with others for valid reasons as well. I happy with the number of people I have in my life and how often I see them and am hesitant to bring on a deluge of e-mails with blasts from the past when what’s really important to me is spending time with my family.
I have to admit that I did cave in and joined Facebook for exactly one week. It was sort of peer pressure…and from my mom of all people! She was on e-mail before me, then eBay, so when she kept going on and on about how much she liked Facebook, I gave in.
All I can say is that it was a really annoying week.
I got friend requests from some family members out of state. I friended my husband and my mom and my precocious 11 year old who signed on without my consent. Since I purposely used my married name, I was not tracked down by old school chums and co-workers from my retail days. Whew! Relief!
It’s just as well because the news-feeds just about drove me crazy. There were many words coming through, but not a whole lot was being said, but it was constant and I’m sorry to say, really annoying to read. Do you suppose there’s some sort of word counter on there that earns you points or something???
Anyway, after a week, I couldn’t take it anymore. I apologized to mom. She was okay with it since she enjoys what her friends write and we talk and e-mail regularly anyway.
My other more personal reason for not wanting to jump on the Facebook bandwagon is the simple fact that I am extremely boring. I work. I go home and do the mom/wife thing. I read, watch movies and shop way too much on Amazon. I can’t imagine anyone wants to hear about my daily routine. If I actually typed it in, I would probably fall asleep in the middle of it. I really don’t want to advertise just how boring I am to people. Most of the people I know are smart enough to figure it out for themselves.
One of our neighbors.
One of a group of our neighbors who have formed a unified front to freeze us out of all their parties and social events.
Do you want to know what our terrible transgression was to merit this shunning?
We had adopted a dog from the shelter and one day a little over a month after we got her (during the general six month adjustment period) she jumped up and bit one of the members of our neighborhood’s In group.
It was totally unexpected. We apologized profusely. I called her a number of occasions to see how she was (the bite did not break the skin). And, my downfall, I promised that I would always have the dog muzzled when walking her in the neighborhood.
I violated this rule by the third day. It was really hard getting the muzzle on her and the only ones they sell in the pet store are closed mouth muzzles. Our dog is an avid panter and by forcing her to walk close-mouthed, we were in effect keeping her from being able to cool herself.
My phone rang five minutes after I got back from our morning walk and my response as to why she was not muzzled was not well received.
During all of this, my bruised and pissed off neighbor went on the warpath to warn all of the other people she knew in our development that we had a vicious dog. Obviously I don’t know all that was said, but she got people worked up enough that we started getting calls about the dog; calls from people who had not been harmed in any way by anyone in our family including the dog.
Then we got the citation from the county.
A $100 fine for an unexpected, unintentional accident for which I felt terrible.
The questions that kept going through my mind when we got that notice from the county were: “What does this solve?” and “How does this make anything any better?” Well, there was that one other one: “Are we now going to be sued?” After a year, the answer to that one is still no, thank goodness.
Anyway, the brouhaha has finally settled down to shunning, which is not ideal, but better than dealing directly with angry people who we have not wronged.
So, when the e-mail came through for the friend request, I had planned to ignore it, knowing that it had been sent mistakenly and probably from an old distribution list from when we were acceptable people with whom to associate.
But of course this past weekend was Memorial Day, the traditional weekend which is the opening of summer and also the customary start of party season. The party in question was held right across the street with many of the guests parked right in front of our house.
We were out working on the garden bed on one side of our house trying to make it look nice after we’d taken out some bushes a couple of years ago. We had a birds eye view of all the guests arriving as we sweated our way through digging up clay and roots.
I told myself that I was glad to not have to make small talk with all those people. I no longer had to smile politely as the conversation turned to American Idol and Dancing with the Stars (which I don’t watch and think are really stupid shows). I didn’t have to worry about hearing about plastic surgery, boob jobs or anal bleaching (yeah, it’s a real thing and for some reason, our neighbors like to talk about it). It was a relief not to have to mingle with the shallow Stepford Wives.
But seriously, being shunned really sucks and you can’t help but feel it when you’re smack dab in the middle of it. And it did bother me.
So on Tuesday morning as I was drinking my morning cup of tea and checking e-mail, my eyes fell on that errant message. And then I began to type.
I wrote that I would be declining their friend request and could they please let our other “friends” know about the sliding holiday schedule for trash pick-up so people wouldn’t have their trash sitting out on the street for an extra day. I even went so far as to wish her a pleasant week, though I knew in the meanness of my heart, that I wished no such thing.
I just wanted to dish out a small helping of rejection to balm my feelings.
The satisfaction of doing so gave me a dark sense of pleasure and really, what more can they do to us at this point? Start a really annoying home owners association and tell us we have to change the color of our siding?
Yeah, I know I should have left it alone; taken the high road; risen above the pettiness of it all. I’ll add that to my long list of things that I need to do to improve myself.
We’ll see how I do around this time next year.