my facebook (and real life friend) jeff barnes sent me this picture of best friends harry o. fischer and my grandfather fritz leiber. the two met in college and remained friends for life. and this was before facebook! the inspiration for fritz’ s series of novels set in the land of newhon came out of a board game the two created. in february while others are fretting over what to do on the fourteenth, i’m going to be thinking about the fromances of my life.
this is right around the time of year when there’s a free treadmill at the gym, when the double stuffed oreos crowd out the kale in your grocery cart, when the pack of cigarettes behind the counter at 7-11 shrieks “buy me!”
the problem with most new year’s resolutions is that they’re hard. and they’re based on the principle that we have to punish ourselves with a good dose of self-discipline and denial. and we can only last two weeks before throwing in the towel. january 14 is the day it all goes south. well, at least it does for me.
in 2011, i had a new year’s resolution to meet all my facebook friends in person in one year. that was 325 friends and a lot of travel. a lot of interesting experiences. a lot of new things. 13 countries. 52 weeks of packing my bags. did i meet all 325? no, but i got the asian f. 90%.
since then i have met new facebook friends. and this past week i drove 900 miles in less than 36 hours so that i could meet jim hellman and connie conley in ironwood, michigan–just south of lake superior. i felt so 2011!
connie and jim have known each other forever. well, it feels like forever.
would you believe that connie is younger than me???? i just want to know what moisturizer she uses.
in any event, the duo did not become romantically involved until years later. and how did they connect? on facebook, naturally!
a new year’s resolution won’t work unless it’s fun. and i had fun with my two new friends! they are the 332 and 333rd facebook friends i have met.
just a facebook friend. how many of your friends are “just” a facebook friend? with facebook, linkedin, myspace, twitter we can have friends from all over the world. friends we never meet in real life. friends with whom our interactions occur while we’re in our pajamas in front of our laptop or squinting at the smartphone or playing online scrabble (okay, busted on that last one!). we think we know someone but we only know their atavar. we can know them deeply with long heartfelt messages but we really don’t know what they’d be like on a road trip, in an emergency, for the long haul.
it’s especially easy to rely on these friendship when the rest of the world seems chaotic, hostile, and just plain scary. i think a lot of anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia and depressions have to do with how fast and furious our interactions with the real world are.
i have been isolated for the past two months and i knew that i really needed to change. i was lucky enough to receive an invitation from facebook friends jim hellman and connie conley to visit them in bresmere, michigan—right near lake superior. connie and jim have been my facebook friends for roughly a year and a half. i have never met them before but they invited me. and i am never one to pass up an invitation to visit a facebook friend!
tuesday was sunny and bright. out the door of the bat girl cave by eight o’clock. according to mapquest, it would be a seven hour drive, which means in arlynn driving time nine hours at least.
i find that every new geography means a new food. in this case, something that sounded somewhat disgusting but damn, i ate two of them:
i ended up at the americinn of ironwood michigan and was presented with a slight problem: i had booked my hotel room for monday evening–the day i was online. i didn’t read my reservation confirmation. maybe that would have been a good idea. luckily, i have my own personal hotel clerk.
i posted about my stalker a few days ago. william is a facebook friend (well, unfriended now) who became obsessed with me. we are all so easily connected with facebook, email, cell phones, etc. that it’s hard to know the proper distance of friendships. over the course of six months, william pressed so hard that i became frightened and overwhelmed. i became completely unhinged when he suggested that he would quit his job in tallahassee and move to chicago to be near me. this was not a romantic obsession, but rather an obsession of friendship.
i blogged about william because i had reached my breaking point. i had not been posting on facebook because i didn’t want to deal with him. i had not been blogging or even turning on my phone for the same reason. and i had taken to being extra cautious about leaving and returning to my apartment. i thought of going to the police but then i thought i would trust my friends.
in blogging, i was contacted by a number of friends who had been contacted by william. i heard from friends who advised restraining orders, firearms training, mischief, and mayhem. i received many offers of safehouses, bodyguards, and friends who wanted to speak to william. then i heard from william himself.
he posted a comment to my blog. i made a decision to not approve the comment because i want to protect william’s identity–although, to be fair, facebook friends who have been reading my posts can easily figure out who he is and some have already had interactions with him. this is what he had to say:
You are not responsible. This is my fault, and mine alone. I had no idea it was nearly this bad. I wish someone had made it clear to me. You have my word it front of all these witnesses, that you will never hear from me again. And I’m sorry.
i will take him at his word. any suggestions or comments?