Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Losing Touch

When I (finally) graduated college, I told my advisor that I would come back and visit now and then. He looked at me and said ‘I know your type. You don’t look back’.

He was right. I never went back.

If I were inclined towards self examination in a non perverted, intellectual way, his referring to my ‘type’ would imply that there is some part of my DNA that is all about moving forward. Sure, I reminisce about ‘the good old days’ (if there is such a thing), ex-girlfriends, hilarious incidents that are rehashed with the same amount of laughter as when they originally happened, and old friends. I’m just not the one to instigate contacting anyone to do so.

My 25th high school reunion is approaching and I will deal with it the same way I dealt with all the other reunions - by not going. I have a close group of friends I am in weekly contact with that graduated with me. That’s all I need. I don’t need to get stuck in a room with strangers who just happened to have shared a Spanish class with me two decades ago.

I will freely admit that I am a horrible friend. Rarely am I the one to call even my best friends to get together. Usually someone will text or call me to make plans. I am a passive friend: call and I’ll be thrilled to go out. Don’t call and I’ll think of you from time to time but won’t do more than that. One of my good friends works across the street from me and I haven’t seen him in nearly a year. He’s literally a two minute walk from my office.

Email has made things a bit easier and I do occasionally send old friends ‘How are you?’ notes to check in, but email addresses change, people move, contacts are lost. It’s the way of the world and I don’t do much to ease the transition.

I’ve noticed this extends to other aspects of my life. I never read a book twice and have trouble understanding why anyone would do that. You know the story and how it ends, why bother? There are new books I want to read. Same with movies and music. I’m constantly striving to find something new. Occasionally I’ll stumble across a movie showing on cable that I previously enjoyed and watch some of it, but I don’t pop a DVD in of even my favorite films to rewatch. I told Wifey to stop buying them for me because they collect dust on the shelf - shrink wrapped for eternity.

If you’re a regular reader you are already painfully aware of my penchant for music. There is nothing more exhilarating to me as finding a new band or initially listening to a great album. Occasionally I’ll listen to a classic album (The Wall, Back in Black) in order to get a fresh perspective on it, but that is rare. There is way too much great, new music out there to waste time looking back.

Perhaps that’s the problem with my mind set? Why look back when there is so much to look forward to? I can’t say whether this is a good or bad thing, but I’m guessing – like everything – it’s both. I have no doubt that old friends consider my lack of communication an indictment on how I feel towards them.

That’s the confusing part. I have friends I miss terribly. My lack of contact has nothing to do with how I feel about them. I still owe one of my favorite people in the world a phone call in order to have a legitimate conversation. It’s been months since we last spoke, I think of her often, know I need to call, and just haven’t. It sure doesn’t help that there are restrictions on my time – both boys are playing little league which means daily games, work has been crazy, it’s nearing the end of the school year, and life in general doesn’t seem to let any of us breath for a moment.

I suppose I should find it ironic that with more ways than ever to communicate, I still can’t find the time to keep in touch. Or, more likely, I’m just lazy. Keeping in touch takes effort; something I’ve never been fond of.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking ‘Man, you’re a selfish asshole’ and you’re probably right. You’re also thinking ‘Why don’t you just sign up for Facebook?’ and that answer is an emphatic NO.

No!

No!

A million times no!

I have nothing against people using it. To each their own. But during my brief experience with Facebook I found locating me to be alarmingly easy. I was on Facebook for a total of three days. To be exact it was less than 72 hours. I had signed up simply to follow the group that was campaigning to get Bill Simmons hired as the Milwaukee Bucks’ General Manager. Purely for entertainment purposes.

During that time four girls from work, three dudes I went to high school with and haven’t seen or spoken to since and one ex girlfriend attempted to ‘friend’ me. One of the girls from work instant messaged me when I had not accepted her request within the work day. That was when I learned other Facebookers don’t receive a notification when you click ‘Ignore’ on their stupid faces.

The moment the ex found me is the very same moment I attempted to delete my account. Only, if you’ve ever tried, you’ll know deleting your Facebook account is impossible. You can disable it, but you may need to invent a time machine to go back and stop yourself from creating an account in the first place in order to get rid of it altogether. I’m fairly certain I could login with my email address and the site would say ‘Welcome Back!’ and all that shit will still be there.

I’m so paranoid about online social sites that I don’t even want Wifey (who does have an account) to have my picture on her profile. She is actually friends with MY friends. Since I don’t have an account they figure they’ll just go through her. The problem – as she found out last week – is that people I haven’t heard from in decades are now attempting to ‘friend’ her thinking they can get in touch with me. Take my fucking picture down and she wouldn't have that problem.

A year ago a coworker had a goodbye party because she was moving back to the west coast. The office had a going away party and pictures were taken, fun was had, many beers were drunk and I thought nothing more of it. A month later I was having a conversation with another coworker who hadn’t made the party. She said, innocently enough, ‘It looked like you were having fun’.

Uh, what?

‘I saw pictures on ____’s Facebook and you are all over the place!’

The pictures have since been taken down (at my request), but everyone should know that Facebook still has those pictures somewhere on the endless fields of servers that run their site. They own them now and can use them anyway they please. Fucking great. Now I make sure I never have my picture taken. Like fucking ever! I’d prefer there be no photographic evidence I ever existed by the time I die.

It’s nothing personal (in most cases); I’m just a private person. I don’t give out my personal email address, I guard my cell phone number with my life, write under an alias that implies laziness, and keep my home phone unlisted. The best man at my wedding couldn’t contact me for more than a year because I had moved, changed cell and home phone numbers and made sure everything was unlisted.

He finally tracked me down by finding out where my parents had moved, calling them and getting my new phone number from them. And this is my best friend. I’m closer to him than my own brothers and I went over a year without saying a single word to him.

I suppose it’s possible this is a sign of a larger problem. Perhaps I’m unusually cold and distant, but if you knew me at all on a personal level I don’t think you’d find that to be true.

Quite frankly, I am awesome and you should have to work to earn the reward of knowing me.

Yeah. Let’s go with that.


Today’s distraction: 10 reasons you should quit Facebook. I agree with all of them, especially my first hand experience with number 3.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of looking on and moving forward, maybe the BoSox should take up that philosophy with their team.
-Mowan

BeachBum said...

Yes, they most def should

Clayton Bigsby said...

My ten year reunion is this summer. Still close friends with many HS friends. We are going to Vegas instead of the reunion. I recommend it. I don't care what Sally Sorebox who sat behind me in Chemistry is doing. I still talk to the people that I care to know how they are doing. That sentence makes sense in my head.

BeachBum said...

That sentence makes complete sense to me, as well. Enjoy the long weekend, Bigs.