Saturday, January 22, 2011

Disposability, impermanence, and Facebook

Sometimes, what I absolutely can't stand is thinking that someone I care about might find me...replaceable. Nothing says, "I don't really love you that much" like plugging another person right into the spot you left behind -- nobody wants to be so indispensable that their friends are left weeping in inconsolable heaps upon departing, but a wee bit of grieving might be nice.

It just goes along with the nature of a nomadic lifestyle, though; until I can perfect my Evil Secret Plan (now not so secret) that means everyone I love will come live with me in a commune and stay with me forever, chances are some of my relationships will end because of choices I make. And not choices like "I'ma join a Doomsday cult and get my hate on for comets." No, choices like, "I don't want to live in the same place for very long." Some relationships rely on proximity for maintenance, and as soon as the distance increases, the relationship decreases, until you're left with...nothing.

Morose? Partially. Obviously, with every new move, comes new opportunities to increase your social circle...every time God closes a door, he somehow opens a window, yadda yadda. But something I've been thinking about thanks in no small part to Facebook. Facebook allows you to keep in somewhat obscene faux-proximity to people you might only have met once; before you know it, you find yourself reading the daily ruminations on breakfast food or dreams of some girl you sat next to in a lecture that one time, who you kind of liked. I remember in my orientation program at Curtin, I briefly talked to a lovely Singaporean girl on my way to the gym where we were being oriented, and she wouldn't release me from her grip on my arm until I gave her my phone number. She really wanted a new friend.

Facebook means impermanence is so much less likely -- how can you pretend someone's not in your life when you constantly see them changing their profile picture? (Answer: do what my ex, Justin, always does, and just don't read anyone else's Facebook, ever, preferring instead to concentrate only on what everyone else thinks of YOUR Facebook profile) However, it also increases the sting of disposability confirmed: nothing drives home how replaced you've been like seeing your ex-girlfriends out on dates with new guys, or your old tango partner swinging around with someone else (note: these are generic examples, as I neither date girls nor dance tango).

Dear Zuckerberg: you've made it easier to stay in touch, but also easier to grind salt into the wounds of loss. I'm sure you don't find it so dramatic, since according to The Social Network, you're just pounding cocktails and banging girls, so you'll never read this. Also it's a pretty melodramatic way of putting it. But still.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Yeah, choices. And consequences. But I--i-aye-yee-i-ii-i will always love yoo-oo-oo-oo. Hee hee.