The Writing On The Wall—The Facebook Wall
A woman's relationship with Facebook—and her son.
This morning I had a small epiphany about my relationship with my son. I don’t even think I should call it an epiphany. The writing was always on the wall. And by that I mean the Facebook Wall.
Years ago, he banned me. Not from his entire existence, but from anything even remotely interesting on his Facebook page. Many parents stipulate that their children must be their Facebook “friends” in order that the parent can keep tabs on how their kids are using this gargantuan social media site. I, too, started out as my son’s “friend.” But I abused my privilege and did the unthinkable: I adopted Facebook as a part of my own daily life.
I spend a lot of time at my computer and often I get lonely. Having a site like Facebook up and running while I work decreases my productivity, for sure, but it also provides me with the random banter and happenstance “visits” that I once relied on in my more social office jobs of yore—little distractions that buoyed me through certain tasks that sometimes felt like drudgery.
I’d deluded myself into believing that my son wanted (and needed) some privacy in his life, and for that reason, we could no longer be Facebook friends. He still allowed my husband to be his “friend,” so I thought maybe he just needed a little space from me.
But it occurred to me today that we remain Non-Friends not because he doesn’t want me to see what he’s posting. It’s that he really can’t bear to witness what I post.
Back when he jettisoned me, I didn’t even know he was able to do such a thing. But he did, right before my eyes, and he narrated his withholdings in an onscreen chat.
It started when he took issue with a Status Line I’d written – that little prompt that benignly asks, “What’s on your mind?”
Jessica was just mocked by her 14-year-old for not knowing the name of The Immigrant Song, I’d written on my Wall. Right away he launched a one-on-one chat.
He let me know that my circumstance wasn’t a big enough deal to warrant a “stat."
“Oh, since when are you the boss of my status lines?” I typed to him.
“Since now,” he typed. And then, “I’m blocking you from all of my stat lines.”
“AND I’m blocking you from all of my Wall Notes.”
“Because you don’t like my status line?” I wrote.
“I just blocked you from seeing anything about me,” he typed. Then added the symbol for a smiley face.
After that, the remarkable happened. My son left the screen of his laptop and came marching into my office to have an actual face-to-face conversation. “Your status lines are SO STUPID!” he said, nudging me out of the way of my own keyboard. He scrolled down my Profile Page. “Look! Look at this!”
Jessica experiences an inexplicable glee when she sees the geese just standing on top of a frozen Edgemont Pond.
“Why don’t you just say: Jessica likes geese?” he said.
(It’s actually more complex than that.)
Jessica is taking the new popcorn maker for a test drive.
“This should say: Jessica is eating popcorn.”
(That doesn’t have the right ring to it.)
Jessica is worried that the gecko is depressed.
“This is so stupid it shouldn’t even be up there at all!” he declared.
(I guess I’d have to agree with that.)
Jessica loves discussing minutiae...it is her downfall.
"Just write, 'Jessica loves to use words that no one can pronounce,'” he said. "That’s what you’re really saying."
(Everyone can pronounce minutiae—it’s just hard to spell.)
Have I mentioned that I was in labor with him for 23 hours and it ended in a C-Section?
Finally, he cut me a little slack.
Jessica hates wind.
“This one’s ok,” he said. “But it’s still stupid.”