Facebook Takes Me Off my Nut
By Sallyanne Monti
Who could have predicted how Facebook would change the world, connect the planet, and bridge the gaps of creed, culture, and civilization?
To places far away, with family faces missed in many ways, to friends of years gone by, with new ones who make us laugh and cry.
In many respects, we live on the fringes of our lives. Connected by this thing called social media that consumes us with obsessive posting tendencies and force-feeds us images that wet the appetite of our fanatical postings.
On the surface, it all seems so sad and impersonal. Lovers are forgoing hand holding over a romantic meal to IM each other from inches away. Partygoers squinting, squatting and smiling in their group photo sessions resembling fencing competitions, in a frenzy of selfie-sticks gone wild. Updates and uploads and one-upping political debates. Boisterous reunions and witty timeline inclusions abound.
Free to roam around the world from the comfort of our couches, beds and toilets on our phones, tablets and laptops, we travel to places we never heard of with people we've never spoken a word.
We measure our popularity by the number of likes and friends we amass while sharing our inner most secrets with friends of friends and total strangers, embellished by colorful emojis and dancing gifs.
Just about the time you begin to ask yourself, what has come to this world we once knew? What ever happened to real Facetime that looked like two people sitting side by side in the same two square inches that didn't include an apple program that tracked your every move?
Just when you’re about to throw your hands up at the technology that has depersonalized our existence, you are profoundly affected. By someone who lives thousands of miles away, who is nothing like you, who may be everything you thought you wanted to be, who may be nothing you ever want to be, who may be in the prime of their life or the fight of their life.
And through this thing, this virtual world we compulsively cling to, we cross paths with a fated encounter that can change the course of our lives, change who we are, change who we love, change how we love, change how we see this crazy world, change us forever.
A lingual metamorphose is in the works as the world’s continents swap colloquialisms in a jargon-infused interchange of regional slang. With Californian’s calling their buddies mate, while Aussie’s call out hey dude in the throws of their localized friendly banter.
In one such encounter, through my author network of friends, I was randomly connected to a gal in the UK who is currently in the fight of her life with brain cancer. She is young and vibrant and happy and brave. In the face of biopsies and surgeries and chemo and radiation and pain, she lives each day to the fullest. Eating her favorite foods, seeing her favorite people, loving her amazingly supportive family, working out with her favorite trainer, traveling to her favorite places, and posting the images of her journey for all to see.
This gal is a-eat-with-a-fork-and-knife-and-sounds-like-she-lives-in-Buckingham-Palace-Brit. I’m a cawfee-and-dawg-verbally-rehabilitated-ex-New Yorker-living-in-California American. Every day, her Facebook posts are golden nuggets of courage wrapped around a common British saying. I keep meaning to write them all down, but I get side-tracked, by some other post from some other friend in some other country far away.
When all is said and done, despite my failing short-term memory amidst an onslaught of daily hot flashes, one such British phrase stays with me.
In honor of my new mate (Aussie word), I'll express my chuff (that would be joy in the UK) by saying, this Facebook thing isn't so bad after all, in fact in the words of my courageous Brit Buddy, It Takes Me Off My Nut.
Sallyanne Monti is the editor of the anthology series, A Heart Well Traveled - Vol. 1, 2, and 3. She also has stories in several other anthologies as well.