My face is no longer on Facebook. Last September, I wiped my wall clean — much like my windows will be by the end of today, thanks to a lovely window-washer named Katherine.
I “met” Katherine by phone this past spring break, when she was on vacation, taking it easy in the Caribbean. She ended up spending a day and a half washing windows at our Mesta Park two-story the following week — and as it happens with many contractors that work for me — my relationship with Katherine became a mix of business and pleasure.
It’s not that I know Katherine all that well. What I know I can count on less than ten fingers. First, she’s a single mother of two older boys. Two, she’s a hard worker. Three, she likes historic homes well enough to own one. Four, she’s conscientious — when she’s running late, she calls. Five, she takes pride in her work, and in leaving my home better than she found it. Six, she’s attractive. Seven, she injured herself badly somehow and sometimes, when working, she’s in pain.
It’s puny knowledge, truly. But even this is more than I knew about the current lives of many Facebook friends. Yet, it was something all together different that triggered my departure, because I quit soon after wishing my grandson a happy birthday via Facebook — which happened when I couldn’t reach him on his cell phone — which happened since we no longer enjoyed an everyday relationship — due to reasons beyond his control. And mine — or so it felt at the time.
The act of writing that solitary birthday greeting on his wall left me sad. And it made me wonder: Is this what my relationships — with those I hold most important in the world — is being reduced to? Sending birthday greetings through a social media service — to follow up an old-fashioned greeting card delivered by others. Though it works for some, I’d rather breathe a prayer in the silence that separates me from those whose lives I cherish.
It was one of those decisions made in an instant — the kind which often lead to regret — where I clicked a button before I could change my mind. And without mention to any of my friends — except for my husband — my demise on Facebook, I think, was not really noticed. One minute I was there — and in the next, I wasn’t. As far as I know, no obituary or announcement was delivered to my friends.
I’m looking forward to clean windows today — the kind so clean, one can see the reflection of their own living face within them — that one can look beyond their own face to a world full of trees and flowers and sun and moon and real people, with legs and arms and backs and hands to wave out a greeting.
But sometimes — I’m not gonna lie — I regret that rash decision of mine. Why it happened yesterday, in fact, when I set out to address Christmas cards, when I realized I no longer have my good friend Litha’s new address, which she shared with her friends via Facebook. But not enough yet, I think, to do an about-face. I’ll just have to call our mutual friend Wynona. After I catch up with Katherine.
It might be worth letting you know that you can’t delete your Facebook account, only deactivate it. If you click back on it, it will bring you a page where you can reactivate it.
I use FB with some personal reservations and cautions, but have generally found it to fill a void that living here has brought me.
And there is something deeply upsetting in having a real life friend unfriend you on FB. Its happened to me twice; one a few years back, and it damaged the real life relationship, and more recently about 2 months ago when a person who had been dear to me, defriended me as a kind of final kick.
I had my windows cleaned today for the first time in a long while. It feels good. I too can see more clearly as I discovered by talking with someone on FB the depth to which I had been deceived in my former friend.
Thank you for being my friend in blogland. I like to think we’d be good friends in real life too!
Janell West said:
It’s good to call you friend — to think of you so — also good to know you’ve found Facebook to be worthwhile in your life. Its lack in my life likely lies with me rather than it — and that topic I’ve covered in another post called “Wallflower” (I think) — so no need to go there twice.
So you had your windows cleaned today too? How many times have we lived our lives apart — separated by an ocean — and found we’re living in parallel — makes me think of that movie, “The Hours”, about Virginia Woofe and another reading VW and still another who shared the name of one of VW’s characters — Mrs. Dalloway. Well back to us living in parallel — I remember us both moving furniture ‘together’ earlier this year — and then painting our walls too!
Don’t you just love clean windows, especially in winter, especially those that face south, when the sun just pours in to make the room glow and shimmer? I’m lucky to have a bedroom with east and south facing windows — and I love this not quite winter sun keeping me company right now.
But about those un-friendly Facebook actions — which in real life, would happen behind our backs rather than to our faces — if my mother were here, sitting between us, she’d tell us something like, “well girls, it’s better to know where you stand — because it doesn’t sound like to me that you’ve really lost anything worth keeping.” Whether that would make either of us feel better…. well, probably not. But her home-cooking us up some lovely treat would sure do the trick.
Your mother was a wise woman!!
i feel much better for realising for sure than someone was fundamentally dishonest and better out of my life.
Our house is aligned east west so our bedroom gets the sunset and my study here the sunrise. As we live as far east in the UK as you can go, we get sunrise miliseconds before anyone.
Janell West said:
This is probably going to sound horrible — but Mom got a lot wiser after she died.
Of course, she had a lot of wisdom while alive too — but like all of us, she made many, many mistakes over a lifetime and rarely if ever admitted her wrongs. Ask my sister, she’d tell you — apologies just weren’t a part of Mom’s vocabulary. But time and death have a way of helping us forget the imperfections of people — and maybe the steadiness of the world we live in helps too, where we start afresh every new day, with the same old sun rising in the east.
Today’s sun is covered by haze — but I’m pleased to report my windows aren’t. 🙂
All I can say is – good for you! And be sure not to click in for any reason – as soon as you do, you’re active again.
When I left Facebook, it had to do with issues of privacy and time. The time is self-explanatory. Once you get involved in updating, posting to your wall, etc., the hours can roll by.
Another somewhat less obvious time issue for me is the speed with which things disappear. Even using it to post new blog entries was useless – within hours no one could see a posting.
But the real issue, for me, can be summed up in the words of someone who’s much more an internet guru than me: “Remember. You are not Facebook’s customer. You are their product, and they will sell you and your information to anyone willing to pay.
There are other, better ways to stay in touch with people. 😉
Janell West said:
Gosh Linda, I hope this move is good for me. One never knows what will come out of our moves on the game board of life.
Yes, the ‘privacy’ thing bothered me too — though not enough to cut ties with Facebook. But often, in my life, I make the right decisions for the wrong reasons — or maybe, a better way to package this thought, is to say for not the best of reasons — and attain the same good results.
And yes I agree: There are better ways of staying in touch with people — blogs, of course, work for me and you and others too — but ironically, face-to-face is the best for me — where conversation can be attended to closely — the verbals and the non-verbals — the speakable and unspeakable which we dare not write. And these are too infrequent in my life. And probably most of our lives. We are a deprived people without feeling the effects of deprivation. Writing this makes me think of the trees in my neighborhood that suffered from this year’s drought — they looked great, they looked good, they looked fine and then — all of a sudden — they were dead. Of course, not all of a sudden, because all that dying from deprivation of water was going on underneath the soil — and I think it’s like this for people too, when they are physically cut off from face-to-face visits.
I’ve told my children a few years back not to give me any more Christmas gifts — to save their money and their time since I have no needs and need no more stuff — because what I need, I’m lucky enough to purchase. But, oh, if they were to gift me with their presence, with lovely spacious visits — well — these would be too wonderful for words.
And guess what — it’s Advent Calendar time Linda! And this too, is too wonderful for words.
I’ve also heard what Viv said, that you can’t delete your FB account. And that is for me a burden. While I’m a regular blogger for over four years now, I’m not a fan of “social media’. I’ve never liked FB, have an account but seldom use it. For a while I’ve wanted to close my account, but heard something like what Viv here mentioned, that I’d never be able to close it. That’s what worries me. With all these tracking devices and linkages, can’t a person have any privacy anymore? You see, I’m presenting the other side of the coin here. I’d rather be ‘un-social’ than be joint superficially with a network of hundreds. I continue to blog because I feel that’s a place where we can actually develop deeper relationship, albeit unknown to each other in real life. That’s what I enjoy, the exploration of thoughts and the building up of friendship by what we write on our posts and share in our comments.
I can empathize with your feeling about leaving a BD wish on FB wall of your grandson. I’m afraid that’s what’s communication has evolved into, virtual and online. And you know what, if that’s the way to keep in touch with the younger generation, I’ll just have to resolve to use it. Sometimes I find it easier to communicate with my son by means of the written words (Google chat), than actual talking. I know it’s kind of strange, but, hey, I’m glad at least we’re still keeping in touch.
As for FB friends, I’ve stopped at the very beginning. I feel an awkwardness in such a mode of linkage. You can call me old fashioned, but yes, I’m glad I’m not hooked on FB. I stopped adding friends at 7, or 8, rarely used it after that. 🙂
Janell West said:
I’d also heard the same as you and Viv — that is was impossible to delete one’s FB account, that it could only be “de-activated.” But I’m not so sure this isn’t one of those urban legends that take on a life of their own. Let me share with you the note I received from Facebook, just after clicking the digital button to delete — that’s dated September 4th:
We have received a request to permanently delete your account. Your account has been deactivated from the site and will be permanently deleted within 14 days.
If you did not request to permanently delete your account, please login to Facebook to cancel this request:
Somewhere on the FB site, I remember reading that, if for any reason during that two week window, I bumped into FB — not just by logging into my own account I suppose, but even by following a link on a commercial website to another FB account — that I would be re-activated rather than deleted. All this to say that I have no reason to believe my account has not been deleted. And that I believe, you too can delete your account if you follow their instructions to the letter.
Some of my response to Linda I could write here as well — about blogs, for instance, and my preference for old-fashioned face-to-face contact. But I hear what you’re saying and agree with you that any communication with loved ones is good.
Though I’m still not good at having my cell phone on me at all times, I promptly reply to a text from family members whenever I see them. As I think about it, I suppose those personal visits are reserved for special occasions and feast days like Birthdays and Thanksgiving while digital visits suffice for everyday conversation. But, oh how I wish it were reversed! Because the everyday is so much more spacious than those days were we crowd around the cake and turkey.
I’m getting off my soapbox now. 🙂