Wednesday, January 02, 2008

But my mom isn't on facebook.

I have my 'reject and resubmit' paper to deal with. The same project spawned Penguin's paper which was accepted with major revisions and we're meeting to address those issues - most of which are mine - on Friday. I need to go over my post for the Science Blogging Anthology (still so excited! Yay!) and have a massive amount of data processing to do.

It all works out though - the analysis basically involves changing a couple of parameters, selecting a new file and pushing a button and waiting until everything's all processed and ready for me to do repeat the process. So there's plenty of time to edit my paper, go over my notes for Penguin's paper and clean up that blog post. Except...
  1. I'm sick. The cold medicine and constant blowing of my nose makes working difficult.
  2. Revising text takes work and focus for me. It's not mindless energy - it requires attention and thought.
  3. I'm Katie - I rarely do what I ought when I ought to.
So, with the Penguin's revision requests open on the right side of my laptop screen and my tiny terminal window on the left, I set about thinking on one side while keeping the other in my sights so I could type command lines and push buttons at the appropriate time. I soon wanted to nap - the revisions were making my brain hurt. But after I was resting in bed, surrounded by mounds of pillows and a cuddly dog, I lost the ability to breathe due to the congestion and the glimmer of panic that I would never finish all this stuff if I didn't get back to work. I comforted myself with the thought that Boss had my paper, Penguin was the first author on his paper (though my work comprises 75% of it) and I wrote that post so I could certainly edit it.

None of that worked. So I got up, blew my nose and wandered out to the living room to push more buttons and stare at pages of words.

The documents were soon abandoned - I just can't think well enough. So, as I waited to push the button again, I decided to play online. I found new blogs and added several to my bloglines list. I read news and followed links and tried again to revise some text.

Failed again.

So I opened facebook since Carrie has long lamented my blatant lack of interest in the site. I don't want friends to see unflattering photos of me. And I haven't taken many where I look pretty lately, honestly. Plus, if I'd like to talk to someone, I'll send email or call. Or, more likely, I'll find a nice book to distract myself. So when I added some applications and started to look for friends, I discovered I have very, very few. Which - when one is sick and avoiding work - is a rather depressing realization.

I looked though my graduating high school class and sent an email to the boy who called me Kate. I did like him and I suppose it'd be nice to hear what he's doing. Then I found Elle's ex-boyfriend from college and other friend of hers when I was searching through undergrad people. So that wasn't so impressive. But I can't think of anyone from undergrad I really miss. I had my girls - Elle and Rachel - and while I should send Rachel an email, I've kept in touch with Elle (more through her effort than mine, though I have tried harder lately). As far as grad school went, I did have friends, but I can't find them on facebook. Which leaves me feeling a bit like a failure (and is, by the way, why I've avoided dealing with the site thus far).

I either love or am mildly (and politely) indifferent. I pushed people aside when I was young because I wanted to spend so much time with my family. Grandma was my favorite - I loved being with her and spent as much time as possible in her company. I've always been close to Mom - laughed and talked and shared hobbies with her. I took the junior high squabbles harder than most - withdrew from my peer group and cuddled in closer to Grandma and Mom. Then when I found friends in college, I tried to balance them with my habit of going home often and realized that I loved those few girls so much that I didn't really need to meet new people. So nobody got close to me. And now I write online and participate in this community of bloggers that I love dearly. But when I imported my blog email address into facebook and found a few of you, it sort of freaked me out. I don't blog with my full name and have no plans to do so. So the thought of seeing some of you listed next to Carrie seemed very odd to me. (Not that you'd want to be - I'm obviously a terrible person with no friends.)

The whole experience left me feeling very strange - a little sad, lonely and isolated. But choices have consequences - that's fair and acceptable. I do have people I love and it's OK that there are a select few of them. It's not as if I made some grand realization - I'm no more surprised that I don't have masses of friends on facebook than I am that I avoided my revisions all day. So the goal is to print papers tomorrow from the office - perhaps sitting at the table with paper and pen will help me focus. As for facebook, I'm unlikely to spend much time there. So if we're to be friends, you're probably going to have to send me email directly. Because facebook hurts my feelings.


Anonymous said...

My dad joined facebook-primarily to play scrabble with me--but he only has 7 friends, because he doesn't ever ask for friends. because he's afraid they'll say no!

My facebook is mostly for work. It's mostly college kids with a smattering of bloggers and old classmates thrown in just to make it interesting.

I've never cultivated acquaintances either. My students blow me away by facebook pages with 400 "friends." I can't imagine knowing 400 people well enough to care about what they're up to. I wasn't tied into my family like you describe, but my whole childhood was spent with one or two friends, never a gang.

BrightStar said...

Almost all of my facebook friends are blog people... email me if you want to add me as a friend, and I will send you my name so you can do that... but I am not on it much lately, either, since I'm not feeling it all that much.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

you aren't friendless! You just can't find me on facebook because I have a different email & name for that...I don't use it much either. Sometimes it's interesting to see who comes out of the woodwork to find me but otherwise I prefer the blog community. Besides, having friends you care enough about to do send them something or call them is way better!

Psycgirl said...

I have to comment on this post because Facebook hurts my feelings too! It really does. I hate seeing pictures of what people from home are up to, and I especially hate seeing photos of events other people here at my school have that I am most obviously not invited to. And my latest is that this person who is important to me and with whom I'd like to have a more involved relationship with never messages me back or anything. So now I just get angry and hurt every time I log on! Its sad, isn't it? I should just delete the thing.

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