I lately spent a few days in Switzerland where websites such as Facebook, Myspace, Youtube etc are known and hard of but not used. It turned out that it was difficult to explain what the utility of this sites was and what kind of people navigate on them. I had the excuse that my husband had put me in Facebook before he even asked me. The sad truth is that the only pals I can contact through it are the ones who live in the UK or who are a tad international. My friends/ acquaintances/ contacts in Switzerland, Italy, France and Germany are left behind.
Now I don’t have any justification for browsing Facebook, but I sometimes do. And I was delighted to find two friends whom I hadn’t seen one for 27 years and the other for 20. Truth is that my life went on, but from time to time I give a good clearance to my house. About a month ago I discovered a bunch of boxes that have been following me for quite a few years. I had never opened them so I decided it was time to get rid of their contents. As you can see, I am not exactly sentimental. But on this occasion. I discovered a few pictures and memorabilia from my teenage years. There were pictures I had done between 10 and 18 years old. Poems I had written. Short stories. Letters. I went through them all, one by one, throwing away bits and pieces of my past without a second thought. But then I saw the photos- old faces I had forgotten but whom at the time had been hugely important to me. Some I would never call back, such as my first serious ex-boy-friend, the first one to ask my hand or the one who went mental and started to harass me 5 years after I had left him. But the other guys and gals, that was something worth having a second glance at.
I found some of them. I had kept the habit through the years to send Christmas cards to the good old ones and give the odd phone call to a happy few every – more or less- every 3 to 5 years. But now I was digging deeper. I was expecting at best no answer at worst rejection, but I soon found out that curiosity is a powerful engine. Everybody answered cheerfully. I had not been that easily forgotten. It was nice to discover how this people I could only recall with pimples or smooth skin had turned out and what their choices during the long silence that had separated us had been. For some reason none of them expected me to have five children- by I wouldn’t have expected them to have them either. Divorces, marriages, teenage children, different careers- we reviewed it all. And then we faded into silence again for we didn’t have much in common anymore but there was no bitterness either. The door is left open- who knows, we might call back again within a decade or two, or even have a cup of tea when we are due to be around ( although for the ones who live in Ukraine and Australia, this might take some planning and a few more years).
I am very conscious that you have to have a diffuse tenderness for those human beings who have known you when you still were an awful brat and a selfish/ depressive/ ugly teenager. Then you see them again – and pictures lie- and you have now wrinkles and a pot belly. You have misssed the whole blossoming part – but you still recognize them and you’re very fond of them for all the dreams are still alive in your memory.
I have let go of the past and although I remember much, I don’t recall the same things as they do.
Of course you have the odd misadventure poking out from time to time. My husband got a message from his last ex-girlfriend, who technically was never his girlfriend , but still acts as such. By reading this sentence you just know that it is going to get complicated and likely – worse. He had no intention of rekindling the romance or even a pretence of friendship as she hadn’t been actually nice, or generous or anything that could have been even remotedly agreable. So he refused to allow the contact. A few days later another ex- girlfriend makes the same request- and it turns out to be that she’s the first ‘s best friend. The debate can then begins- what is this all about and is any of them even slightly grown up? ( We’re talking about women who are a few weeks away from their 30th birthday). The rejections seem to have stung as, next thing we know, an old schoolfriend calls to say she has received an email from one of them telling her the worst things about the broken liaison that happened 7 years ago and about which she had no clue, no interest and no part. I mean, come on on, get over it girl! My husband was rather philosophical about it – he simply stated that he had a knack for ex- girlfriends turning into psycho bitches from hell. But in simple words this is at best harrassment and at worst stalking and it may get this young lady in a lot of trouble if she persists with her bad manners.
So yeah, Facebook etc has its pros and cons. You live with it I guess. It’s a bit like life.