Posts Tagged society

About Face

I like routine and it is easy for me to fall into the habit of doing something because it is what I do, long beyond the point of that thing being important. If I do not do it, I will feel anxious, because a thing which I am “supposed” to do, is not being done.

I disabled my facebook account a week ago. I don’t expect to remain off of facebook forever (at least not yet), but it wasn’t working well for me (from a personal, not a technical standpoint). I was spending far to much time on facebook, even though I wasn’t enjoying that time. I was also spending too much time trying to figure out how I was going to make it work better for me, so I decided to remove that from my thoughts for the moment and just go cold turkey.

Now, with a little perspective, I’m coming closer to deciding how to relaunch my use, and manage it in a way that is less time and energy consuming, and hopefully provides more positive than negative.

I joined facebook (and Myspace) because my daughter was interested in being able to hang out with her friends online, and I wanted to look at the sites so I could make an informed decision. She was not yet old enough to join according to their TOS, so it was not yet an option, but I knew she’d like to have an account on her 13th birthday, so I started doing my homework ahead of time. I hated myspace, but facebook was fun for me. I had a manageable number of friends and it was nice to have a window into their lives, and for them into mine.

Four years later I have, less than, but far too close to, 200 “friends” which is absolutely ludicrous. There are not 200 people on this planet who give a shit whether I am alive or dead, much less how my day is going or what the past ten photos of my pets look like. Hell, most of my actual friends don’t really give much of a shit how my day is going, because, face it, most of my days are going the same as previous ones.

The thing is, I basically added everyone who ever added me, as long as I sort of knew them. I have no idea why they added me to start with. Do they just like the friend number to look big? Did they give facebook access to their email address book? I know one added me so I could play facebook games with her. I added less than a dozen people first. But, I figured if I was going to add them, then I should pay attention to them. I made friend groups so that I could post to only specific people, but didn’t use them for reading. If they were on my friend list, I read their updates. All of them. This could take a very long time if I hadn’t looked recently. Yes. I know. You don’t need to say it, and neither do I.

Some of them are really fucking annoying too.

Plus, I didn’t block any apps or games, so I got all that spam too. The whole point was to be there so that I could check it out for my kid, and keep an eye on her and how she used it. If she started spamming people with app shit, I needed to know it. No way to guide her along if I had blocked them all. Now, she is older and I am totally confident in the care she exercises as far as facebook apps go (and really, she can go ages without even logging in to facebook, because she is busy being addicted to tumblr instead, where half the time I want to throw up over stuff I see, but hey, she is older now, so whatever).

So, I was overwhelmed with all this stuff to read, and the first choice was to narrow down my “friend” list. It turned out that was easier said than done, because while many had no real connection to my life, they were at least the friend of a friend (or friend of a business associate), and I worried about offending somebody, or some such nonsense. While I mostly feel it is nonsense, I don’t actually want to hurt somebody’s feelings if I can easily avoid it.

So, I believe over the course of my week break, I’ve come to accept that I’ll just need to create reading groups on facebook, and really only look at those people regularly. Plus, try to just see what I see when I happen to login, and not go back to check on everything they’ve posted about since I last checked.

I still find it a shitty way to communicate at any level that actually matters to me. Not to say that there are not some people that I manage to have meaningful communication on there with, but for most people, even those I care about a great deal, it just isn’t a good place for that. It is a place of small talk, and I don’t enjoy small talk. It feels like a waste of time and energy.

I’d always prefer to have a one on one conversation, or just sit home and read a book, to attending any kind of group event. Living your online life as a group event is what facebook is all about. It is a group event that invades my home every single day. I need to manage the door much better.

Fifteen years ago, the internet was more than a great resource to me, it was a refuge from the way general society interacted everyday. That is no longer the case. There is no way I can stop the internet cold turkey. I’ve stored my brain in the cloud. Dependence aside, it is clearly time for me to make a lot of changes.


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Fallen Princesses

I love this photo series.

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[ adjective ] [ noun ] to you too

It is that time of year again. “The Holidays” as if these are the only holidays. It is admittedly not my favorite time of the year, mainly as a matter of convenience. I don’t like how crowded the roads around the stores get. I don’t like how crowded the parking lots get. I don’t like how crowded the stores themselves get. I also don’t care for the vibe I get from inside stores. Because of all of this, I try to stay in my house as much as possible from Thanksgiving through early January, and that can get rather inconvenient. I find the rest of the year plenty inconvenient enough.

Other things I do enjoy. I enjoy the colder weather at this time of the year. I like it when people carol door to door, but I haven’t had anyone do that in years. I like the decorations that many houses put up, especially the big elaborate homemade ones, and things with lots of sparkly lights. I don’t appreciate the vast aisles of decorations for sale in the stores, but that is just because it displaces normal items and I am stuck wandering around a store I already don’t wish to be in, in search of something that I would normally be able to find rapidly.

The ever growing PC greeting crap going on surrounding the holidays is definitely getting on my nerves. Mainly because it leads to questions. People wishing me some sort of holiday nicety is one thing, people asking me directly about my holiday leanings is not nearly so welcome.

Years ago everybody assumed we celebrated Christmas. People would wish us a Merry Christmas and we would smile and wish them one too. It was a honest sentiment, I certainly didn’t wish them an unMerry Christmas. Whatever form of greeting they wanted to offer, I’d offer them one back. If they wanted to say “Happy Holidays” that was fine by me too. It was easy.

This week somebody started out happily with “Merry Christmas!”
“You too.” I responded with a warm smile.
Then she looked concerned and asked “Oh, but do you celebrate Christmas?”
Not liking to lie directly, I inwardly sighed, and told her still with a smile. “No, we don’t.”
“Oh, then I shouldn’t say that!”
“Of course you should, it is a nice thing to wish us.”
“Happy Hanukkah! Should I say that? Do you celebrate Hanukkah?”
This was going exactly they way I did not want it to, but still smiling I told her, once again, that we did not. The look of confusion passed over her face. The look I’ve seen many times before.
“Well, what do you celebrate?” she asked with concern.
“Just the season,” I lied, or at least half lied. I mean, we celebrate New Years.
“I don’t want to be inappropriate!” she called after us.

It isn’t a secret that we don’t celebrate Christmas, but I am not going to have t-shirts printed either. It’s our personal choice. It works for us. It isn’t meant as a judgement on anybody else. It also isn’t something that I want to converse about endlessly with people as they go about their merry business. People are often curious however, so I might as well write it up once and then I can point people to it. Like with many aspects of our lives, there are several reasons behind our choice.

I don’t believe in Santa Claus. I was brought up on Santa Claus. By the age of five I had serious doubts. It didn’t make sense to me, and yet my parents, both of them, had been telling me about Santa Claus. I left out snacks for this guy. Were they making it up? Were my parents the giver of gifts from Santa Claus? Were my parents eating the snacks? I began to question them as Christmas approached the year I was in kindergarten. They decided they were not ready to give up on the Santa Claus myth yet. One night while both parents were in the kitchen with me, Santa Claus gave me a call on the phone to reassure me that he was real, and he’d be leaving me gifts for Christmas. This bought my parents two more years before they were forced to admit the truth. It also had a lasting affect on just how much I believed what they had to tell me.

I also just happen to think it is a creepy idea. I don’t want people breaking into my house, whether they be taking things or leaving things. I don’t like the idea of children sitting on random strangers laps at the mall. I also don’t think milk should be consumed after it has been sitting outside of the fridge for half the night, but that is just a whole other issue I have.

I want my kid to behave because she should damn well behave herself. That is what is good for the family. That is what is good for society. That is what is good for her. It is certainly what is good for me, and that is pretty damn important to me. I do not want her to behave because there is some man watching her all the time who knows if she has been bad or good or naughty or nice or whatever. I don’t want her to behave better because she thinks she might get presents. I just want her to behave because she would be disappointed in herself if she didn’t. Furthermore, why should a guy in some red suit who lives almost half the globe away be determining what behavior is appropriate for her to start with?

I say “I” not because this was a unilateral decision, but because I don’t want to speak for my husband on precisely what his experiences were (especially those before we met) or current beliefs are. We spoke about the issue and made the no Christmas decision as a team. We came into the relationship still celebrating and we did celebrate some together, but we decided to stop. We stopped before our daughter was born.

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