My phone didn't stop all night. Bzzz.. Bzzz... Bzzz... all Facebook notifications from or regarding people I haven't seen or talked to in years - in one case, since I was eight years old. It wasn't merely that people were trying to "friend" me. It was that they were wildly encouraging the befriendment of six or seven other people I am connected to in some tenuous way. Or in some major way, like, oh fuck it, the guy after the guy with the V card.
One of the ways I have always defended myself from too much reality is by compartmentalizing things and people. I don't mix my sports friends with my literature friends. I don't mix my work friends with my drinking friends. And I definitely don't cross eras. NO! If you are from high school, you stay in high school. Stay!
You must be wondering what purpose all this organization serves, how it protects me. I'll tell you: all those people from my past have expectations about what I am supposed to be right now. And all those ideas are different. The one from when I was eight years old is still confused and hurt that I didn't marry her older brother, but mostly she is just shocked that I didn't have the imagination to get out of New York City. And if I wasn't going to marry her brother, couldn't I at least married someone?
My literature friends are all aghast that it has been two and a half years since my dad died, and I haven't submitted a draft of the manuscript for them to read. WAIT. They WOULD be aghast if were not so pissed off that I disappeared into the ether for two and a half years without informing anyone that I hadn't died. Because for while there, I bore all the hallmarks of a suicide risk, and I was not polite enough to let the literature friends or anyone else know I wasn't dead.
My online friends are just in shock that I am on Facebook and revealing my actual name because hello, anonymous blog?! Well not for long, apparently. Anyone with an IQ upwards of 80 who reads this blog could find me, and my true identity, on Facebook in less than 10 minutes.
I am really uncomfortable.
How to continue?
Internet, I have decided that compartmentalization is mostly bad. It is not bad in and of itself - but the way I use it is absolutely wrong. I use it to lie to people - passively. To let one group of people think one thing about me and some other group of people think some other thing. I do it to keep people at a distance, and I achieve that by creating a life where no one can ever compare notes. Even as I write this, I am thinking: what's wrong with that? Why isn't it ok to be in-person friends with X person but compartmentalize Z person into the "online" category - and stubbornly refuse to budge?
Answer: Because it's total bullshit. It serves no purpose except to protect myself from some vague idea of disappointing people or not living up to expectations. I don't want my in person friends to know that I have a freaky, post-modern life that I would never share with them. This is the honest truth: the internet is a big part of my life and my in person friends HAVE NO IDEA I HAVE A BLOG.
ALSO: I don't want the online friends to know that, really, seriously? I am 40. I have told you all this, but if you met me you'd all be like, jeez, you really are 40. And you look it.
So I hate Facebook. I hate it. All my compartments are collapsing, and I hate it. However, much as I hate it, I think it'll help me live a more honest life. Who knows: maybe I'll be brave enough to actually meet a blog person in real life this year. Or maybe I'll admit to my sports friends that I have long arguments with other people about how indirect objects work - in Russian. Maybe I'll actually contact all the people I have let believe I have fallen off the face of the earth know I am alive. OH WAIT. Facebook is doing that for me.
Have I mentioned I am uncomfortable? I am. Please comment: does any of this make sense? Or is Facebook really evil and can I please unFacebook myself and get on with my tidy little multi-celled life?