After I quit the social networking site, I woke up with a pep in my step, as if I'd just retired after 70 years of service at a meat-packing plant, with a huge marijuana, cat, and vibrator pension in the Bahamas
So like the stately albatross who knows in an instant she must fly east, or the lone soldier instinctively shifting course, I knew deep in my body the time to go was now (or maybe after posting two weeks of heartbreaking farewells).
Of course, the unexpected threat of dismemberment also helped speed my departure.
Alleged friend Louise Haghole showed up at my house last Friday night, unwittingly interrupting a super-juicy, hot-button Facebook gangbang that had placed me against 20 or so misinformed assholes, one of whom called me "stupid." Stupid! Well, I never! Haghole sat at the kitchen table drinking wine and listening to me as I plotted the harshest kick to the balls.
"Oh, maybe I should wait until the morning to bring up misogyny — after they've slept on all my points. That way they'll never know what hit 'em. Or — "
"Sit down, Roberta!" shouted Haghole. "You touch that computer and I'll hack your arms off. It is the only way to keep you away."
"Well, hmph!" was the best I could manage because, goddammit, Haghole was right: Nothing would stop me from battling for the last word — over and over again — except the complete removal of my arms. And that just seemed kind of sad.
And I thought, "Who the fuck are these people, anyway?" Whoever they were, they bore no significance whatsoever to my everyday life, and yet, here I was having a full-blown panic attack. I was mortified.
The eve I revealed plans for immediate departure, I received a litany of pathetic pleadings and hysterical OMG/WTFs. They all cried, "Don't do it, Roberta!" "That's too drastic," and "How could you leave?" — as if this was a real place.
And I thought, "Really, guys? I mean, it's just Facebook. We haven't maxed out on human invention yet, have we?"
Later that evening, after one last romp across the clean blue-and-white screen, I permanently deleted my account. To be specific, I started the deletion process — there's a 14-day grace period, during which you can always change your mind, baby.
I woke up the next morning with a pep in my step, as if I'd just retired after 70 years of service at a meat-packing plant, with a huge marijuana, cat, and vibrator pension in the Bahamas. The very real stress of constant communication evaporated overnight, and suddenly I could fully relax. From now on, I could spend every online moment reading about LiLo on Dlisted.
But after a few days of silence — aside from a haphazard speakerphone conversation with Haghole, who wondered if I'd moved out of town — I realized that I'd completely fallen off the face of the earth. Clean disappeared. I didn't know shit about anything — like who was DJing at the Nordstrom Rack happy hour, who hated Tuesdays in addition to Mondays, and who was still verklempt about that nasty oil-spill fish massacre. And no one bothered to call, e-mail or text — none of them. I had returned to the pre-Facebook level of socializing — which meant only hearing from the same crusty old scabs you can't ever get rid of. Come to think of it, those people were eerily absent, too.
I began to notice that, although life still had some meaning, it lacked all poignancy. For what good is seeing a hummingbird fluttering in the bright yellow sun if you can't instantly manhandle the moment into a corny update? And who cares if you're depressed, lost, or oversexed if you can't insinuate it on Facebook and then reap the empty reward of "Oh, I feel you" feedback from 500 million strangers?