Here’s how my 2010 Instant Karma Resolution works. Each day, I will randomly draw a name from my Friends List and make that person the subject of a status update where I will cull from memory some funny or interesting anecdote about the person. I’ll do this once a day until I work my way through the entire list. When you’ve been selected, I will also post this note to your wall and tag 5 of our mutual acquaintances in the hopes it will spur some nostalgic commentary.
Today we’re on #11. The answer: Sharon Dembinski, Scott Erlandson, Sarah Collins. The question: “Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?” And neither has Tracy Menchi Rifai, Kristen Burke Gouthro, Dan McNally or George Anderson. Nor so many more of you. Not that I wouldn’t love to have you stop by for a spell. It would make my millennium, actually.
That said, it doesn’t diminish their importance in my life for they are proof positive that we are living in extraordinary times. Finally, after years of fumbling in the dark or bidding farewell to people we thought lost to the ravages of time, we finally exist in an era where we can have instantaneous contact with another soul. And not only that, we can choose to share as little or as much of our lives in the hopes that our threads merge with that of friends and family as we lay the groundwork for an ever changing quilt detailing our own unique histories. One that we’ll hopefully look upon years from now, when we’re old and grey and taking stock of our achievements, and feel that sweet condensation moisten our cheeks; the kind that can only mean we had it pretty good.
Sure, there are those who scoff at Facebook as just another diversion – something that keep us connected electronically when we could enjoy person to person correspondence but the truth is that’s a fantasy world. Unless you are a complete shut in living out your days in your Mom’s basement ‘beating your bishop’ or ‘daring your dragon’ while channel surfing the 18 versions of Skinemax that dominate most digital cable lineups, then Facebook is merely another tool in our arsenal to take back what is most important to us – our unique and precious personal connections found and made on the various highways and byways of life.
We’ve all traveled long and far and made a huge amount of connections with some truly fantastic people. Alas, it’s The Impossible Dream to think we can somehow keep time with absolutely every awesome personality that has ever rolled the die and made a few moves into our own personal Game of Life. It’s a nice dream but one that is fleeting. And the fact is, we often don’t know we’ve said our last goodbyes until the days yield to twilight and the years melt to decades and on some random Saturday evening the thought builds in our brains before storming like a thunderhead across our countenance… “Say, I wonder what ever happened to???”
And we make that mental note to track them down but then real life intrudes and another few years pass and we’re nowhere closer to that blessed destination and now the road has become populated with even more travelers, making it harder to keep track of every last one of them too. The noble pursuit becomes pure folly.
Well, Facebook has made the Impossible Dream a reality. While we’re unable to just waltz over for a cup of sugar or enjoy six or several Coronas on a warm summer’s day, we’ve got virtual real estate that finally makes the fantastic a reality. These specters step forth from the inky darkness of time and suddenly the shadows shrink as we reconnect and reminisce and come to the realization that nothing short of a Mayan-dictated global calamity will ever separate us again.
I discovered this late last year when a group of my former high school friends and acquaintances – all of whom reconnected on Facebook , found the time for a little casual, off-cycle reunion in Boston’s North End. After getting through the initial “So what have you been up to?” phase, we settled into a nice comfortable rhythm where we re-entered each other’s lives. Sure, our lives have grown nice and complex and it would be impossible to carve time out of every day to hang for a few hours, but the shear fact that a nostalgic memory was only a Status Update away helped to dissipate the ether of time. And finally, we were able to pencil in a block of time on a pleasant Saturday evening in September and gather in person, where we could put to rest who was rocking a decades’ old profile shot and who was the real deal. For the record, it’s always my mug but usually Jennifer Aniston’s body.
Our little Facebook derived non-reunion reunion thing was simply put – FANTASTIC!!! Couldn’t have gone better and I couldn’t have been happier with the turn out. Hell, just when I was at very peak of contentment that eve – I realized that we were all drunk on that special brand of good cheer that goes great with cold beer. That intoxicating euphoria that takes hold, hard and fast, when you find yourself face-to-face with a long lost friend and instantly feel the years evaporate, the miles shrink, and the sweet, soulful strains of nostalgia stir in your memory as you instantly realize that no matter how many days may pass and how many towns may stand between your Point A and their Point B – you’ll always have an unbreakable bond, forever tattooed to memory in indelible ink. That night merely proved a theory that my experience on Facebook had seeded long before.
This place is good for our soul.
And that’s where Sharon and Scott and Tracy and Alex and Kristin and countless others come in. Some like Scott I had know a long, long time ago and hadn’t seen in many a moon. Others like Sharon I have absolutely never met in my entire life yet I feel like I’ve known her for decades. And none of that would be possible without our shared stomping grounds – a place that you can decorate and make personal and share as much as you’d like with those you hold nearest and dearest as well as those newfound friends that you wouldn’t mind getting to know a little bit better.
And then you learn things about yourself. You look back upon your high school days and you bemoan the fact that you and the person your currently chatting up (say… Tracy) have a whole lot more in common than you ever knew and you begrudge the fact that way back when, you didn’t take the time to really get to know these awesome personalities that were right there in your midst. But, thanks to the miracles of modern technology we’re all allowed to crib from Quantum Leap and set right what once went wrong.
I’m probably getting a bit overly dramatic there but the point is that I happen to think we’ve all stumbled upon some kind of wonderful.
A little over a year ago, I was at a cousin’s wedding where every single person I spoke to told me to get on Facebook. I brushed them off thinking it was just a glorified MySpace for the post-teen set. Then when I returned home that eve and found an unassuming e-mail from a friend, inviting me to join up and essentially taking advantage of my slightly inebriated state, I took the plunge.
And then I found my first lost friend. And then the next darkened the doorway. And then I was offering up a prize to my 100th friend (Mark Vos) and then hosting trivia contests and Photoshopping myself into some uncomfortable situations and in general, having a lot of laughs and erasing a lot of time. And then the thought hit me hard and fast.
I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here.