A lot has been happening in the last few months, and I’m pretty sure you don’t know any of it. That’s what I want. I’m not saying this for you to go, “Oh, we haven’t been paying attention,” or for the reverse humble brag. You don’t know because you haven’t asked, and you haven’t asked because you forgot I existed, and I love that. I’ve been fading myself out of all sorts of social media, becoming more and more “unplugged,” as they call it.
It’s really hard though, because I’m falling out of the loop from everyone around me.
I went to meet some friends at a party, but the address was on Facebook and I had to keep hassling them to send me the location so I didn’t have to reinstall the app on my phone.
I want to disappear, but it gets harder and harder every day.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when all of this started, the fading out, but if I had to, I’d say it was the day when my office blocked Pandora because it was eating up all the bandwidth. It was super frustrating because I had just started getting my channel to really understand who I was and what I wanted. That’s so tough to find in the real world, let alone a computer system of algorithms that go with simple prompts that are basically “yes,” “no,” and “not now.”
Imagine that with meeting people and creating a circle of friends based on thumbs up, thumbs down, skip, or “I’m tired of this track.” Eventually, you’d have a perfect circle of friends and through that circle, you just might find your soul mate. The alternate is you get caught in a knotted web of ones you used to like and now tolerate because it's too exhausting to imagine starting all over.
It was either that day, or maybe when I realized I was keeping full tabs on past peers and acquaintances I haven’t spoken to in over five years, or maybe ever.
There was one friend, we worked together my junior year in high school for a few months at a mall kiosk during the holidays. She wasn’t on Facebook much, maybe the occasional holiday shout out, birthday shout out, or “my boyfriend is awesome” shout out. She existed in my world as a completely metaphysical shout out to things I didn’t care about. Somehow, that never really bothered me.
Then, last year, she posted some abstract sad statuses, followed by some abstract angry statuses. Anyone who’s anyone could tell she was either going through, or about to have, a serious break up. She had a couple more angry posts that her girlfriends and one aunt commented on, and then within a few weeks, her statuses were full of empowerment. She began being tagged in way more party-esque photos and was always surrounded by a gaggle of girls. Her aunt even commented, saying “so glad to see your smile again,” or some fucking thing that…whatever. That’s her past year, she’s been “living life!”
I watched this through my computer, a couple states away. I watched this girl fully transform, and I didn’t give a shit any step of the way, yet, for some reason, I could not look away.
I wondered who has done that to me, and I started taking off more and more things about myself, trying to erase my “internet presence.” No one mentioned anything, and I wondered who even noticed, and how many states away they were. I felt free. I started blocking people left and right, and at a bar, a girl asked me to “follow her,” so I smiled and said, “where to?” She laughed and said, “that’s good, I’m gonna tweet that.”
Now I can almost laugh when I see some girl from college post a series of photos of herself standing outside in different locations holding up signs with hand written encouraging quotes on them. That’s a thing now. She gets 30 likes on each one, all from her past sorority sisters supporting her “art.”
This weekend marked the snowball effect of my life into a single defining moment. For Christmas this year, as a joke, my friends installed all the dating apps you can think of on my phone and created my profile pages on all of them. They said I need to meet more people, like a friend who suggested using another music streaming website after my Pandora melt down.
After a few months of avoiding, browsing, and eye rolling, I finally had a date, but I couldn’t remember what app she was from, and when I thought I did, I couldn’t remember the password to sign in. I thought all the passwords saved in the phone so I never thought about them or wrote them down and then when my phone updated, so did all the apps, and they asked me sign in to begin again and this was my downfall.
Because our only correspondence was through the app and I didn’t even have her number, I never found the place and never got a hold of her.
I was left to look out at the city I’ve unplugged from and wonder what everyone else is up to. I wondered if any of it means anything; if any of it matters, if it ever did or if it ever will.
I try to make a point and stand for something and I end up accidentally standing someone up. Story of my life.