SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska




July 30, 2010

Ketchikan, Alaska - The most horrendous thing happened to me other night.

In fact, I am still so appalled by it that I can barely calm myself to type this. It was truly awful and I was left completely unable to cope with the shock of it.

I went to log onto FACEBOOK and it wouldn't let me. It was undergoing "site maintenance" and suggested I try back in a "few hours."

It was like finding yourself adrift in the North Pacific, thousands of miles from Nowhere, without a hope of rescue. Talk about "isolation."

David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

I was stunned. Since "joining" FACEBOOK a few months ago, I have never been "off" for even a few hours.

Naturally, I frantically emailed a friend.

"Have you ever been off FACEBOOK?"

"Absolutely not," she fingered back, a short time later, acting as though I had asked her an absurd question like "had she ever voted for a Democrat."

"Neither have I," I replied.

And that is absolutely true. I swear it on the bible of the mother of Dustin Moskovitz.

I have spent, on average 17.6 hours a day posting, reposting, replying to posting, replying to reposting and replying to replying. The other 6.4 hours, I sleep, but I leave my FACEBOOK screen on just in case someone else is reposting to my replying. (and yes, I sleep in my chair at my desk in front of my computer, why waste time go back and forth to a bed, that is so 20th Century!)

There is absolutely nothing else that I do any day other than FACEBOOK. I mean, really, what else matters?

In fact, I have been so absorbed with FACEBOOK that I can't even remember what it was like to not spend 17.6 hours a day in concert with my fellow "BOOK people."

You could just as soon ask me what it felt like to be born as what my life was like before FB. I kid you not. I don't remember. WTH! OMG!

Natch, I immediately began to overflow with the "chat" that endlessly burbles up inside me and demands FACEBOOK as its outlet. Without my "connection" I had no way to "share" it.

Would I swell up like character in Willy Wonka that turns into a giant blueberry? Would I have to be put inside a giant social network juicer? Or worse, sign on to MySpace?

jpg Quit Facebook Day

Quit Facebook Day
Peter Broelman, Australia
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

Who could I brag to about how clean my house was or how I was whipping up chateaubriand for a lite snack?

Who could I immediately share the coolest new link of singing and dancing platypuses with?

What would become of my status in Farm Wars and Mafiaville if I couldn't immediately broadcast all my needs to all my friends?

How could I express my most intimate thoughts on the weather or cap and trade?

Quelle horreur!

I immediately sent my burbling ramblings to my friend via e (e for endless) mail. But there was no immediate reply. I was shocked. I didn't know what to do. It had been months since I had experienced anything less than immediate communicatory gratification. I really didn't know what to do.

"Walk away from the computer," I heard a voice tell me. "Walk away from the computer."

I didn't know where it was coming from so I got up for a minute. Could it be my I-Kindle calling me?

jpg Facebook Privacy

Facebook Privacy
Daryl Cagle,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

No, it was peacefully recharging in the corner. Maybe my cell phone?

No, my "smart" phone had taken the night off and had gone with her friends (two Blackberrys and an I Phone) to the Coliseum Theater see "Inception."

Suddenly I realized the voice was coming from inside my head.

It was a bizarre feeling because I truly hadn't had a conversation with myself since I first went on FACEBOOK, lo those many months ago. I mean, there was no need. Not when I have 1,386,732 "friends" to "converse" with.

In fact, I hadn't even talked to another non-digital person in that time. That's why it took me aback to actually hear words that were not a collection of ones and zeros inside of a machine. They sounded funny, or maybe the cilia in my cochlea were rusty.

As I stepped gingerly away from the computer (my legs were rusty because I hadn't used them for so long) I had a weird sensation.

Almost a bit of déjà vu.

But what was it? My mind cranked slowly back and forth as the synapses warmed up.

What was it?
Suddenly, I remembered.

Once upon a time, before life became instantaneous, I used to walk away from my computer all the time.

I vaguely remember that I would click "download" or go to a different screen and it would take some time before the new screen popped up.

I would get up, wander around the house, use the bathroom, make a phone call (I can still feel that dialing tingle in my fingers), go outside, maybe even take a nap. Sometimes it would be actual minutes before my computer was ready to go again. Time would pass and there was nothing I could do about it. The horror of it all.

I thought about emailing my friend to tell her it was like a bad flashback from "Generation Dialup," but I didn't want to have to wait for a response. I fidgeted to the other end of the house and back.

Then I returned to the computer screen. I took a deep breath. I clicked on FACEBOOK.

It was there.

Thank you Mark Zuckerberg.

The "site maintenance" was over.

And so was my isolation.




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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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Dave Kiffer ©2010

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