What Life Is Like Without Facebook

You wake up. You look in the mirror. It seems you’re skinnier and so you wonder if maybe you really are skinnier. Then you remember, you always look skinnier in the morning. You take a shower. You might eat breakfast. Maybe you have coffee and toast or maybe you have leftover ham and a Coke. You watch sport recap shows or political talk shows or maybe you sit across from someone as you eat and they talk about the dream they had. Both of you try to understand it.

After, you leave for work. You take the train or a bus or a car and you get to work and you, just, work. You get distracted, like everybody else, but, when you do, you play solitaire or read blogs or anything but, it. Or, maybe you don’t have a job, and so after you have your Coke with ice you go upstairs and you look for jobs. You check your email often and you hope that you get more Twitter followers, though, more than that, you hope that one of your short stories will get accepted and one of these messages won’t start with, “Thank you for the opportunity…” and that things will start to break.

You check your email again. You check Twitter again, mainly reading the tweets of people you dislike, telling yourself you’re better than them. You check your fantasy sports. You write some. You work some. The day is almost gone and you come home for a run, or you just go outside for one. When that’s done you shower and you fry some meat or cook some noodles as you watch Adventure Time or Hardball or PTI, or, if you’re with someone, you help them fry some meat or cook some noodles, then you eat looking at each other and talking about your day.

Alone, you go back upstairs and check your email and you read the Twitter of someone who you used to go out with, then, of other unattainable people like Jessica Williams or Lake Bell or Aaron Paul. You get a drink and maybe you blog, then maybe you get drunk enough to tweet. You don’t have a Pinterest, because you don’t want to plan a wedding, and you don’t have a Formspring, because you don’t know what that is, and you don’t have a Tumblr, because you’re not in high school. Though you don’t have a Facebook, either, which is the weirdest thing.

Life without Facebook, there’s a reason for it. Well, there used to be a reason. There was girl or maybe there was a boy and maybe he got married or maybe she found a new girlfriend. Whatever it was, you couldn’t be trusted to keep a service which granted you the power to monitor her steps or his steps or the steps of his or her significant other. So, not long after caving into pressure and getting one, you delete it. And this is before your dad and your aunt and your old high school classmates ever had a Facebook. This is back when it was just the artists and your young friends, the people you actually wanted to hear from, and so it was kind of disappointing but it was much better that way. You couldn’t be trusted to not pine. Besides, the thought of having to see yourself age on the internet didn’t really seem that appealing, watching as you gain weight, lose hair, perhaps even stay at the same job as everyone else has babies and surprise marriage proposals at sunset, you’re okay with not seeing any of that.

You go to parties. You go to parties without a Facebook. You’re the one who everyone marvels at and asks, “How do you not have one?” Then someone else will say, “Actually, I think that’s cool. I wish more people didn’t. I never use mine.” Then someone else will say to that, “But it’s really not that big of a deal, I just like to keep up with friends. It’s so much easier to stay in touch.” And though you don’t have a Facebook, you’re pretty sure no actually uses it for that reason. You’re pretty sure most people use it to stalk others and “hate-read” comments written on the wall. And even though you don’t have a Facebook, you know what the wall is. Though, it might be that the wall was once a bigger thing than it is now. You’ve kind of lost touch.

Then, at this party, someone will ask, “So, why don’t you have Facebook?” And so you make something up. You can’t say the real reason, as it’s far too personal to admit to being incapable of not obsessing over someone. Instead, you say that you just don’t like having an internet presence and you don’t think it’s necessary to keep up with high school friends and it’s kind of strange to hang out in the same place, socially, as your mom, which is kind of what it feels like when you see her “like” things you had no idea she liked.

Outside of those parties and your daily routine, this is your life and the only other time you think about maybe having a Facebook is when you hear about people using it to hook up and so you wonder if maybe that’s what’s missing in your life, that online dating is for suckers and Facebook is just a classier way of meeting others. Maybe Linkedin is even classier still, though you don’t have that either. And, so, maybe you almost sign up again, but, before you do, you remember that you hate just about everything that Facebook is, so, you don’t. And this provides for you a smug satisfaction, though it is fleeting. TC Mark

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