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.