Yesterday the Ogre did the worst thing.
Well first he did the best thing. He came home from work with an Amazon package and handed me this:
Then after I had time to bask sufficiently in the glow of my husband’s awesomeness, he said, “hey, did you ever delete that facebook thing from your phone, like you promised you would on the radio?”
To my credit, I said, “no I did not.” Then I immediately picked up my phone and deleted both the messenger and the facebook app. My fingers neither trembled nor hesitated; they dragged those apps to the “uninstall” trash can of death both swiftly and surely. I didn’t feel the loss right then, of course. I put down my phone and chirped “done!” and instead felt this unfamiliar glow of choosing virtue and acting on it promptly, instead of pulling my usual St. Augustine.
That glow faded rapidly, though, when I kept picking up my phone and being totally disoriented.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a facebook account that I can access via a computer. But that’s like, so 2005.
The weirdest weirdness about the whole thing is that I actually feel truly disoriented. I did not realize how much I depended on facebook on my phone for literally everything. Headlines, updates on friends, updates on colleagues, birthday reminders, anniversary reminders, reminders that I had planned to meet someone somewhere fifteen minutes ago…it all happened through that magical bastion of social media. Like C.S. Lewis’s wood between the worlds, I could loll around on facebook for Android endlessly, dreamily thumb-contemplating the lives of others and the interesting articles they linked to, with no idea that centuries had passed me by.
It’s sounds all hyperbolic when I say it like that, but I bet if you asked my kids what I did all day, they’d say, “Mommy stares at her phone like a zombie and ignores us while we paint the kitchen table with yogurt.”
Sadly unlike the wood between the worlds, I have not been jerked awake by virtue of merely taking the plunge. Instead, I’ve read the first book and a half of Dean Koontz’ Odd Thomas series on my Kindle, thereby discovering once again that my addictive personality is still not a transient feature of my character.
In my defense, I did read some of the funny parts aloud to them.
It’s admittedly much harder to disconnect totally from reality while reading than it is while reading facebook. I was definitely more responsive to my kids yesterday than I usually am if my phone is in my hand. And at least I’m filling my head with good fiction instead of finding meaning in my facebook timeline, right? Baby steps, yo.
In the meantime, if you try to get ahold of me via facebook and I ignore you, now you know why. It’s not you, it’s me. I would say email me, but my inbox is a dark and frightening place. I try never to go there. I heard, though, that you can do this thing on your facebook box where you push a series of numbers and then talk with someone’s actual voice instead of their profile picture. You could try that. Don’t leave a message, though. Voicemail frightens me.
Related: Tom McDonald, “Alienation: Technology & The Synod on the Family”