Now that over a year has elapsed since I deleted my Facebook, it’s time to evaluate whether my life has IMPROVED MONSTROUSLY.
The answer is: yes
I remember taking a trip to Italy in 2013, and spending a lot of time sharing my pics to Facebook, Twitter, and probably Instagram. I remember walking past the internet spot at the hotel and seeing people on Facebook. I remember checking my phone a lot, wondering if so and so was viewing my TOTALLY AMAAAZING photos.
I remember using a meditation app on my phone to help me sleep. The irony of the situation is…if I never had a smart phone, I doubt i’d have needed the freaking meditation app to help unwind my brain. But that is a story for another time. See: Chapter on my nervous breakdown! coming May 20-never.
I remember the gnawing feeling that I didn’t use any of this social media stuff in a healthy way, and maybe I should just stop using it. The judgmental comments from others kept me on the apps. It has always been hard for me to not care what people think of me. The weird thing is, I have never felt that I fit in, so why did I even need the validation from others? It is certainly QUITE A PARADOX.
Well, eventually, I said, fuck it. I’m deleting this shitty account.
so, it’s been over a year, and I haven’t created a new Facebook. The temptation has been there, but it’s fleeting. I recently discovered that my high school class is going to have a 15 year reunion. I had no idea, because I don’t use Facebook, but I found out through someone else. So, I still found out. I wish I hadn’t- The horror of realizing that 15 years, YEARS, has elapsed since high school ended has been quite the shock to my old bones.
Anyway, since it’s been a year without FB, and my addiction is gone, I’m in a good place to tell you what I think I’m missing out on, and what I think I am gaining, by not having a Facebook presence.
Cons: I do not get invited to high school reunions (or perhaps you would place this under the pro column?!)
I am no longer reminded of the birthday of my 5th grade gym teacher. Surely, she is quite distraught that she did not receive my ‘happy Bday’ Facebook text on her wall.
I am no longer tracked by russian bots, techbros, various stalkers (Or perhaps I have an inflated ego to think I might have an estalker or two?) or mark zuckerberg’s digital assistant, whose name is Janice, and she knows EVERYTHING about you!
PROS: I regained my ability to go a day without thinking,’ what witty thing can I write on my facebook today?!’ Oh, I am so funny! I need more likes! NO ONE liked my post yet. Delete it, delete it, quick!
I am now a millionaire living in an amazing house with my own farm, 100% organic cotton bedsheets, and an undying sense of self-worth that can NEVER be broken, EVER
Sooooooo. Yeah. Life is pretty much perfect now. Maybe you should delete your facebook, too!
note: Some things in this story may or may not have been slightly fabricated.
I was scrolling through hateful internet comments. As you know, reading internet comments is a great way to relax and connect with your fellow humans! So, yesterday, of course, another insane idiot went on a shooting spree. It’s mildly horrifying how desensitized I’ve become to mass shootings, but it’s just part of life in America.com now. Anyway, the internet was awash with insane comments after the shooting.
I’ve got a bit of a masochistic side, so I will scroll comments for a long time, feeling the anxiety flood in my body whilst reading some of the most horrible thoughts being typed/spewed by some anonymous carbon-based moron. Although, perhaps a BOT was posting this hate?! Oh dear! Anyway, some horrid creature was posting horrid things on the internet. (SHOCKER!)
After I closed the laptop and lunged it out the window, I thought, life is so odd. Why am I here on Earth? I had no say in the matter! One of the Comment Spewers went on some crazy ass rant about how shootings are the fault of liberals, and the libs are the reason for
The American Family Falling Apart (trademarked by people everywhere who never studied the history of the american family)
Immigration (oh heavens no! this country was created by Jesus himself in the year 0, as a land for whites only. Read HISTORY!!!!!! DUHH!!)
Then the goober signed off with his REAL name. I wanted to google his name and find his address and send him a teddy bear. Okay, not REALLY. Please! I’d send him a box of Omaha steaks, because he is a REAL MAN and REEL MEN need STEAKS.
His spewy comment made me think about why people get in such a tizzy about things like LGBT rights and gay marriage. And then I started to think about how we are born, and we’re born a certain way, and then we’re judged based on the way we were born. I was a born a woman in America. In the 80s. It’s not like I asked for that…Hey, Zeus/God/Flying Cat God, make me a woman, and make me born right around the time Madonna is super popular in America!
It’s just weird to think about. Yet, we are so judgy of each other, when at the end of the day, we were all thrown into the world and a lot of things are beyond our control.
And we don’t try very hard to understand the things we don’t understand.
It’s easier to just spew nonsense on the internet and grasp firmly to outdated beliefs from a world that no longer exists.
Sometimes I think, oh, just stop reading the internet comments. But how? HOW?! The worst part is….I have definitely met some of these comment spewers. And so have you!!!!
It’s 2018 at the time of this writing. I just put Netflix on pause. Later today, I’m going to help my mom set up a Roku player so she can cancel her overpriced cable plan. We’re going to sign her up for Hulu, too.
I am oh-so modern. I am oh-so streaming. I am an internet-based TV-watching kinda person.
So, why do I miss video stores? Why does my heart ache when I look across the store at the HR Block, which used to house Blockbuster video? (RIP)
Well, this isn’t a luddite thing. My nostalgia for video stores is not based around the fact that technology advanced our movie watching choices beyond whatever was available at the video store at the time you strolled in.
I figure I miss video stores for a few reasons.
- Video stores were at the height of their popularity and prestige during my formative years. Have you ever noticed that life ZIPS by when you’re over 30, and memories formed after 30 just start to mush together? So, I figure, my memories are so strong and sentimental because I was a kid. And everything was new when I was a kid, because *I* was new to planet Earth. Now it’s all the same old stuff every day.
- video shopping is an experience. My dad would take me to the Video Store, and who knew what would happen. would my movie be available? would I wind up renting something old that dad said was a classic, so i simply MUST watch it! He seemed to think all black and white movies were classics, just based on the fact that they were old movies. Hm.. Anyway. I miss the experience of going out with my dad to a video store and picking movies out. I miss the experience of not always getting what I wanted. That might sound crazy, but it’s not. Netflix is endless choice. ENDLESS. Sometimes it’s so paralyzing, I just end up watching The Office for the 100th time. And not always getting what you want can open you up to other possibiliities. Sure, that New Release (How Stella Got Her Groove Back!) wasn’t available, but dad said this old-ass movie was a CLASSIC, so why not give THAT movie a chance?!
- I miss rewinding movies. Remember the sound the machine made? Anticipation! No, we can’t even stand to wait for Netflix to Buffer for a nanosecond. HURRY UP, NETFLIX, And buffer up this episode of Whatever Netflix Original I Am Watching Today. #binge!!!!
- I miss seeing which men would enter the beaded porno section at the independent store. I wondered if women ever wanted to enter, but women were not allowed to admit that they watched porn. Now we have internet porn, and you can desensitize your brain to even the most sadistic, f’d up porn in the universe. Go internet.com!
Ultimately, I believe I just miss that childhood experience. I just have a hard time believing that my nieces will fondly look back on the days of scrolling youtube videos on their tablets when they’re 30. But who the hell knows.
I plan to contemplate this nostalgic a bit more. Please, stay tuned! Be kind, rewind.
All day, I am fine living in the ‘present.’ Sort of. At night, the past floods into my head. If I fall asleep at night, and wake up, the past is right there, demanding some attention.
I don’t want to think about the winter track meets in the year 2000. I always think about this time I fell down a snowy hill in front of a bunch of school buses full of track kids. And this time a kid brought a camcorder to the meet and started filming people. He said to me, ‘you look happy’ sarcastically. I always thought about whether I am on some random person’s dusty VHS tape in some basement somewhere. Or maybe the tape has been sitting in a landfill for years, next to the camcorder.
Why do I think about high school? I hated that place! Sometimes I compare my experience to modern day kids’ experiences. I am a ‘digital native’ but we had desktop computers, not handheld computers at all times. Would I give my imaginary kid a smart phone? It seems so weird to me to hand a child such a powerful, addictive device. Why do they need that? Is it just because society and marketing demand/command that your child needs the latest and greatest handheld computer?
I don’t even want to call cell phones ‘phones’ anymore. Only scammers call me!
Why can’t I think about the old timey prank calls we used to do? I only conjure up the memories that make me anxious. The human mind can be quite a pain.
Sometimes I try to switch to thinking about sheep jumping over a fence. Does this actually work for anyone? My sheep are blurry, and the fence is really low to the ground. The background is really dark (uh…like night time? LOL) and the sheep is all alone. Is it the same sheep over and over, like a GIF image repeating over and over, or am I picturing a hoard of sheep, leaping over a fence, never to be seen again by my brain?
The sheep(s) seem to distract my head from the onslaught of Past Memories, but is that good enough?
Must it be so hard to be a humanoid?
Ok, time for work. The sheep need a break from jumping over a fence post all night.
Amazon just announced a 15 dollar minimum wage. Well, thats good, maybe. I still amazon is evil. Is that wrong? I used Amazon in 2005. Back then, Amazon was mostly a place to book books and stuff. I still have one of the books I bought in 2005. Over the years, I started to feel that big corporations were starting to erode the internet. My view hasnt changed on that.. I mean, I know google and facebook trackers are installed all OVER the internet, but you don’t see me throwing my laptop out the window. Am I a hypocrite, then?
I am also a cynic. Or ..pessimist..or..realist? I just think once automation hits its groove, they’ll get rid of the workers and replace them with robots, except for a few humanoids to oversee the process. And maybe that is why Amazon is fine paying workers 15 bucks per hour. It’s just temporary, and it’s a drop in the bucket for them anyway. It’s insane that we have to fight for such a measly minimum wage in the first place. If you live in a state like Massachusetts, 15/hr is long overdue. So, you cripple 18 year olds with massive student loan debt, then throw them into the world at 22, and tell them they dont even deserve 15/hr, when the average 1 bed apartment is over 2,000 bucks per month now, and wages have been stagnant for 30 fucking years? (Trickle down economy really workin’, thanks Reagan)
It’s good to give people a living wage now, but what happens in 20 more years? Automation is starting everywhere. It’s in its infancy right now, but it’s happening. The tech gurus are automating right now, but in 40 years, why would we need those tech gurus, either? Aren’t we ALL dispensable in the digital age?
Does it matter?
Does it matter if I don’t earn a paycheck anymore? Eh…Not really. What matter is…will I still be able to retain my autonomy as a human?
It’s possible. We don’t know how things will pan out once the robots take over in the next few decades.
Humans are adaptable creatures. We’ve been equipped with portable computers at all times, and we seem fine with that ( I guess..) So, we’ll be able to handle the robo takeover.
Have you seen these things? Every day, I drive by the same Lime bike (TRADEMARKED!!!) sitting dormant on a street corner. Someone left it there last week, and it hasn’t moved.
I suppose those in wheelchairs should just ride on the side of the road. I mean, who cares about their safety, right? We’re talkin’ ’bout INNOVATION here! Get with the times, oldie! Dockless bikes are the wave of the future, and if you question them in any way, you just can’t accept the new, cool, fast paced world of today!
Well, I mean…the part where dockless bikes sit on a sidewalk for days and days is slow paced, but….uhh….Do you even know how fast that bike rider swippity swiped their phone against the bar code thingy on the phone and paid to ride that Lime bike (trademarked!!!!) ? SO FAST! Lighting speed!
But, as you know, we millenials have things TO DO! People to text, and apps to mindlessly scroll. We ain’t got no TIME to put a damn bike on a dock! So, we prefer to just leave our Lime bikes (trademarked by some dudes in silicon valley, I guess?) wherever we darn well please!
So, deal with it, mom pushing her baby carriage on the sidewalk! DEAL. WITH. THE FUTURE!
If you dare complain about Lime bike, you are certainly a luddite. I shall alert all of Twitter of your anti-progressive ways. #getoutof2017
In 2017, we docked our bikes. Sure, it kept the sidewalks clear of bikes strewn about. Sure…sure..but……
but….Did you know that Lime bike also has…scooters?! No one gives a shit about scooters, true. But, suddenly, when you can rent a scooter via a mobile app, then leave it wherever the hell you want, suddenly…scooters are cool! Get on ya scooter, friend! Leave it on that old lady’s lawn when you’re done. She’s lame and old anyway. I hear she still docks her bikes. LAME.
I went somewhere else, and my mind came a little bit alive.
We were driving up a never-ending hill to some place in Martha’s Vineyard. MY mind wandered and twisted and bounced around. I guess I felt some level of anxiety. Ever since 2013, traveling has made me a little anxious. And this barely counts as travel- Martha’s Vineyard is an island off the coast of Massachusetts. The anxiety was nothing compared to how I felt on my flight to Rome. Sometimes I can’t believe my anxiety ever got that bad. I thought I’d never recover, but I have recovered a lot. Still…once I travel, the anxiety comes back a bit, but so do thoughts.
thoughts thoughts thoughts thoughts. Anxious thoughts? Thoughty thoughts?
I think about my dad a lot lately. I think it’s because I think about my own age and mortality a lot, and my dad is stuck in time. He’s 40 forever, but I’m not stuck in time. (yet) I keep marching closer to 40. closer, closer, closer. Soon, I will outlive him. I’ll be older than my dad. Because he’s stuck in time.
All dead people become stuck in time.
The world keeps changing, it’s barely the same world as the world he left in 2000. And the world will just keep marching on, but the dead just stay stuck.
Usually, I don’t felt comforted by ocean tides, calm noises, birds lightly flying ahead. I always think of this quote by some self help dude, ‘if you need to get out of your own head, go somewhere where you’re reminded of how small you really are in the world’ and he means you’re supposed to go look at the vast ocean, or go hike in the mountains…so I’d go drove my body to some ocean and stare at it. I’d still feel all wrapped up in my own head, the useless, ego-driven thoughts plopping around as the ocean ebbed and what not. Then I’d drive home and feel the same as always.
This time was different. I sat and stared at the ocean for about 20 minutes. It wasn’t boring. It just…was.
Well, anyway, time to lighten up this blog…
I just sneezed!
The self isn’t static, and I keep changing.
Today, while brushing my teeth, I thought, ‘In which time period was I the most annoying?’
I didn’t really phrase the question that way. It would sort of make no sense- too open ended. (was I most annoying in the time period known as the European enlightenment? Or perhaps during the cold war era in USA? Uhhh..Well, I was nonexistent during both time periods, ya know?! Unless, the mere fact that I did not yet exist was a clear annoyance on the world. That’s quite an ego-centric thought! Good thing I didn’t have such a thought! ahem. Wow, did I really need to put all of this in parentheses? YES)
I believe that my most annoying time period was 2012-2015. I call this The Keyboard Warrior Years. During this time period, my social media addiction was at an all time high. You just need to scroll through my Facebook data archive to the section ‘account activity.’ It shows a timeline of every time I deactivated my account. Starting around 2012, I started deleting my account on a near monthly basis- I was (unsuccessfully) trying to escape the grip of my addiction. ALAS.
Okay, big deal, I was a Facebook scrollin’ lunatic. Why do I say that I was most annoying during this time period?
I loved to get into political discussions on public internet forums. AKA Facebook. Ya know, the place where your mom reads everything you post, thanks to the scrolling news ticker. Or whatever the hell it’s called. I haven’t used Facebook in 2 years, but I’m assuming the website/app/mind control device still has the side bar that lets you know whenever someone ‘likes’ some nonsensical, unoriginal meme.
I loved to ‘debate’ people over the latest news stories. I knew my FB followers were reading my nonsense, because occasionally some of them would ‘like’ my comments. This fueled my addiction. In order to receive more ‘likes’ for my oh-so-astute political ramblings, I needed to check facebook more often. I needed to ‘debate’ more often. I NEEDED MY VALIDATION.
My tired eyeballs, heavy from hours of staring at a bright screen in my hand (or lap, if I was bein’ totes old school and surfing social media on a laptop) would scan my news feed for any hot news stories. I’d share the story on my FB page with my riveting, surely mind-blowingly erudite opinion, and then wait for someone to debate me. I knew the usual suspects, so I’d await their comments, and we’d begin a lil debate.
Other times, I’d respond to public stories, such as stories posted from actual newspapers. As you know, no one reads news articles online. They just read the headline (which is usually click baity, because newspapers need to make money in the digital age) and then spew their ill-informed opinion on the internet, for all to see.
Was that me? Was I a spewer of ill-informed opinions? Sure! But not always.
It didn’t matter. I could churn out the most informed rambling that Facebook has ever laid bloodshot, tired smart-phone addicted eyes upon, and it just doesnt matter. Fighting with people on the internet is horrible, mind numbing, anxiety inducing, and bringing society down a notch. We need to step away from our screens and remember….that dude that said ‘good morning’ to you at dunkin donuts might be some Trump meme sharing lunatic on Facebook.
So, anyway. 2015 was around the time I quit the keyboard warrior game. Things are better now, in regard to my internet life. I’m not quite sure what to call this time period…
2015-??? When I Quit Social Media (except Youtube and I guess WordPress? Oh and sometimes I get sucked into bostonglobe’s comments sections. Isn’t that social media? UGH! I wonder what Trump is up to on Twitter? Oh, that crazy man!)
A kind visitor (?) to my blog said they could increase the traffic to my blog. How kind. I am utterly dubious.
This blog is now a symbol of my dying love for writing. Or is it?
This blog is a symbol of my inability to write.
I used to think I would become a writer. Now I don’t know what the hell to write about. A lot has changed since I aspired to write for the local paper. Look, it was 2003, keep your ‘omg does anyone even READ newspapers anymore?!’ jokes to yourself. Mostly because jokes making fun of the recent past are the easiest jokes to make.
Ipod? Okay, grandpa!
You want me to VIDEOTAPE you? Okay…grandma!
You want me to help you find your way back to your time machine, because you are a traveler from 1850 and you just spend some time on reddit and now you want to get the fuck back to your time, scurvy and all? Okay…..great great great grandpa!
Anyway, I think I made my point. Uh….Oh. Right. That I can’t write anymore.
I suspect that, perhaps, we just change over time, and there’s nothing we can do about it- Except complain incessantly to anyone who will listen.
Well, reader, that ‘anyone’ is you. Thank you kindly. Let me continue my whine.
I accepted that I won’t write anything groundbreaking or anything even ungroundbreaking. (i can invent words if I want)
But I haven’t fully accepted that sometimes I just don’t know what the hell to say anymore. How do you even poke fun at the world, like I used to? Everything is a parody now. Or is that a damn COP OUT? PERHAPS.
Or maybe I just haven’t found the THING to write about.
As you know, Julia Roberts Ate, Prayed, and Loved (she totes had sex with some guy) her way across India, Italy, and…..somewhere else. I dont have google.com, so I cant look it up for ya. Well, Julia Roberts is rich as fuck, unlike most broke ass Americans, so we simply do not have the luxury of quitting our jobs and eating copious pasta. I suppose we could quit our jobs and eat copious pasta in our homes, but that doesn’t sound like the good premise for a FEEL GOOD hollywood movie aimed at 25-45 year old women such as myself.
Perhaps I can write about my inability to write. My lack of imagination. My feeling that I just don’t have enough time anymore, except, really, I do. I found time to learn Spanish, to learn gardening, to run road races back in the day (and burn off my knee caps in the process, but that’s another story)
But this feeling of having nothing to write is a new feeling. I dont think it stems from depression, or sadness, or even from heartburn. Although, heartburn sure is annoying.
I suppose I am in a phase. Once, I had a low carb phase. I mean, low carb seems the way to go, but I sure as hell didn’t stick with it. The siren call of pizza was too much to resist. I do, however, have a delightful low carb book.
Another time, I had a pizza phase. And now, it is my ‘What the HELL do I write in my blog?’ phase!
It’s ok, my elders tell me, ‘it’s just a phase. You just haven’t met the right blog topic yet. ‘