In Praise Of Facebook

Making friends is easy.  Keeping them has always been difficult.  There are always circumstances beyond your control that greatly interfere with your social life.  People come and go and it’s not always possible to stay in touch, even if you make a Herculean effort to do so.  And I haven’t, until I started this website.
Sometimes, there’s a rift which makes a reunion very difficult.  (Despite the passing years, hurt feelings can endure.  It’s tough to let go.)  Sometimes, there isn’t, but, there are times when both parties don’t want to continue the friendship.  Some platonic relationships just aren’t strong enough to survive every possible change in life.  It’s sad but true, as Metallica once put it.
And then, there are those instances where you reconnect with someone from your past and the experience is very positive.
Last night was pretty special.  You couldn’t have planned it.  It just happened.  Two former classmates talking and listening to each other for hours, reunited by technology.  And to think, it would never have taken place were it not for Facebook.
For months, I had long resisted joining the site.  My cousin sent me an email invitation to join earlier this year.  I just deleted the message.  An old friend from college, who I’ve been exchanging emails with since last summer, also invited me.  By that point, though, I was in a relationship and wanted to concentrate on that, but I saved that second invite.  You never know.
When it abruptly ended, I needed a distraction.  Obsessiveness is the family curse and when it infects your every being, you need an immediate cure before it dangerously disrupts any momentum you’ve been building with your life.  Joining Facebook became a priority.
It was the best decision I’ve made in a while.  In the two weeks since becoming a member, I’ve reconnected with a number of old friends, many of whom I hadn’t heard from or even seen in a decade or longer.  Among them:  my old bowling buddies, Kevin and Phil, who were also my high school chums (Phil was also my campaign manager during the 1992 Student Council elections when I ran for President.); friends from college, more high school pals, fellow community TV and radio volunteers, a famous fan of my site who’s become a good friend and even family members who I rarely see.
It’s wonderful to hear from them all and to find out what they’ve been up to.  One friend, Dave, who I last saw with his then-girlfriend at the downtown public library sometime in the 1990s, is long out of that relationship and now happily married to a woman he met at Mohawk College.  He’s been furthering his education successfully and I’m happy for him.  They go on trips to exotic places.  He posted some photos of one such journey and you wonder why the guy never became a photographer.  He took terrific snapshots of what looked like a trip of a lifetime.  I’m sure he has lots of memories about that vacation.
It’s weird to learn that a number of my female friends are either married, engaged, in a relationship or have kids.  I haven’t even left home yet and their independent adult lives are thriving.  It makes me wonder if I’ll ever catch up.
Inevitably, the best part about reconnecting with old pals through Facebook is reliving old times.  It’s amazing how much you remember and how much your friends remember.  Add it all up and the past comes to life again.  As a result, I come to life again.
And that brings me back to that phone call from last night.  Heather was a woman I had a mad crush on when I was a teenager.  I thought she was beautiful and sexy (the warmer the weather, the hotter the outfits she wore in high school), and when I got to talk to her in and out of class, smart and comforting.  I always loved her laugh, too.  I was really floored when she wanted to go to a movie with me but, long story short, we never got to go.  In retrospect, I was more disappointed than upset but she did the right thing.  She saved me from a lot of unnecessary heartache.  (It was nice to get a “yes”, though.)
As I found out during a walk we shared the day before we were supposed to go out, she went through a lot of hard times.  In fact, in the years since that late summer day, there have been more difficult moments for her.  We’ve been exchanging messages through Facebook since I added her as a friend, as well as MSN Messenger, and that’s been a lot of fun.  It was one such chat session yesterday that led to that late night conversation.
She’s back in town visiting family for the Father’s Day weekend and she gave me her mom’s home number in case I wanted to talk.  Earlier that day, she also invited me to come over and visit but I had a pretty bad headache so I didn’t go.  After I started feeling a bit better, I called her before 11:30.  We chatted until almost 4 in the morning.  It was the longest phone conversation I’ve ever had in my life – nearly 4 and a half hours – and it was endlessly entertaining.  There were plenty of laughs, sad moments, dramatic moments, intriguing moments, sweet moments, revelations, juicy tidbits and even a little flirting, not to mention my voice echoing at times when it reached a certain volume.  (That was rather interesting.  It was like being at the Grand Canyon when that happened.)  I had forgotten how sore your hands and arms can get from holding a phone that long but it was worth it.  I’m really glad I made that call.  And my arms and hands are feeling just fine today.  I slept well, too.
I realized as I was listening to all these fascinating stories she was telling me that I could listen to her all day long.  (She said that I wasn’t the first person to suggest she compile all these stories for a book.  Too bad she has no real burning desire to write.  She’s got a plethora of material and she has talent.)  I learned a lot about her last night and I hope we stay in touch.  She’s a really good friend and I’m lucky to be talking to her again after last seeing her 6 years ago.  I’ve noticed that, despite living very different lives, we are very similiar which probably explains why we’ve always gotten along, then and now.
That’s just one reason why signing up with Facebook is a great idea.  You’ll never know who you’ll find on there.  I highly recommend it.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, June 17, 2007
2:06 p.m.
Published in: on June 17, 2007 at 2:06 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. […] Zuckerberg’s social networking creation was once a personal sanctuary for me after a terrible online break-up, a welcome place to reconnect with long lost friends and a public game room worthy of time […]

  2. […] a family member.  What changed my mind about joining the controversial social network?  A lousy online break-up.  It took a while to get over but I finally moved on, with thanks, in part, to […]

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