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Making up for lost time (or trying to) online

The writer posing for a selfie

“Babe, how ’bout going tonight to that restaurant you were talking about?” My husband suggests in a burst of uncharacteristic generosity. I look at him pensively. “No,” I say finally, explaining, “See, I’ve already posted a picture on Facebook today…”

My husband is puzzled. I continue impatiently, “Don’t you understand? Going out would be a waste of time, I can’t post two pictures on one day. it’s pathetic! Why didn’t you suggest it earlier?” I get angry. “You made me post this ‘exciting’ picture of me in the backyard, gazing at some tree! Imagine how much more posh it’d have been to post a picture at that expensive restaurant! People would have thought I’m rich!”

“Please note you’re insane, babe.” My husband concludes our conversation the way he concludes most of our Facebook conversations.

See, I’m new in the neighbourhood. I opened a Facebook account only eight months ago. While you all were playing, posting, laughing, crying, showing off, posing, going places in life so the whole world and his wife would see how popular you are, I was sitting quietly at home, knitting. Well, never actually knitting, but living my boring real life. And then I saw the light. It was a rebirth.

I’ll never forget one particularly sad evening. “Why are you crying, Mom?” my daughter asked me, as she entered my room to see me sobbing in bed,  phone clutched in my shivering hands.

“Only 15,” I whispered in pain. “Since four p.m, only 15.” The pain was unbearable. “I’d posted a smart, witty post, and gotten only fifteen likes! I could thought I could maybe let it slide, but at the same time, that horrible friend of mine had posted a stupid, shallow post and gotten 49 likes! Where did I go wrong?!

“Plus, everybody’s having a more exciting life than me!” I shouted at my scared daughter. “We’re going nowhere, we’re doing nothing, we have nobody, we’re lonely miserable people, that’s what we are!” I handed her my phone. “Look at David’s posts,” I screamed. “He went to Cuba, then he went to the premiere of a distinguished play, then to this amazing posh party, then to Australia, then to New York, all in one day or so! And David, of all people!” My daughter looked at David’s posts. “OK, who is David again?” She asked. “I don’t know,” I said sadly. “I’ve never met him, but we’re friends on Facebook.”

And then there’s the personal messages. I mean, a person messages you, you’re all giddy, you feel meaningful, you write them back immediately and… nothing. Gone. Vanished. Active two minutes ago, the horrible line says. And you can wait for a day, or 20 years for a reply.

Plus, sometimes you want to be naughty, so you send your husband a private picture, you know, just to spice up your marriage. Turns out you sent this picture by mistake to your rabbi. The rabbi takes it lightly and writes you back: “You are an inspiration to us all. Keep up with good work!” And then sends another message, “Oops, sent this to you by mistake, meant to send it to our family doctor.”

And a final thing: tagging. You have never, ever, seen a woman react so quickly as when she’s untagging herself from a bad photo. It’s a matter of life and death, believe me.

So, my last Facebook conversation today was with my friend Jonathan.

Me: “You know those people who don’t have the energy to message you, so they answer with one word?”

Jonathan: “Yes.”

Me: “It’s so annoying, right?”

Jonathan: “Yes.”

Me: “You don’t know what a day I had today!”

Jonathan: (active two minutes ago)

Hey, by the way, you’re all more than welcome to become my Facebook friends!