I did not go home. By home, I mean “hometown”. Where I grew up and went to highschool. But I did actually create a facebook account, after much cajoling on my darling wife’s part. I have been resisting for some time and for what reason I do not know. I use email every day, administrate a few blogs, an internet group or two, host a podcast and more, but have resisted this particular little… I was going to say fad, but it is far beyond that. Not quite an institution, I suppose, but certainly on its way to becoming one.
Anyway, I created a facebook account and suddenly found myself confronted with names and faces I did and did not remember from long ago. Maybe this is why I had resisted. There were all these names that apparently went to the same highschool I had, at the same time I was there. I recognised some, but a lot I had no idea of at all. Should I know that person? The name sounds vaguely familiar, but that could just be my mind playing tricks. I ignored them and wiped away the sweat that had formed on my brow (my old brow – I look much older and worn than those people in those photos) and scanned for a familiar name.
And there it was, and another, and… “Hey! I know that one too!”
Turns out there are a lot of people I know on this facebook thing. So I pressed the button to become their friend. Some replied straight away with a bright “Hello”, as if I had only just left school for the day, the time falling away in an instant. Others still have not replied. Do I really know them? Or have I offended them? Am I still too much of a geek for them to talk to, even after all this time? These questions were buzzing around my head as I fiddled with the options on my shiny new facebook page, trying to work out how to drive the thing.
Then something down in the righthand corner popped up. A message. Hey! I haven’t used a messenger… thing… since the internet was new and that was the only fun thing to do.
I’ve been looking for you.
Was I being stalked? Who has been looking for me? Oh, the name is right on top. Michelle. A friend from highschool. It has been 15 years. Fifteen. But we fell into a conversation like it was no time at all. Actually we fell into a conversation more candid than any we probably ever had in highschool. Isn’t it funny how time, a little distance and the security (ahem) of the internet can breed familiarity. Anyway, talking with Michelle was awesome. An old friend made new again. We chatted for half an hour before life called us both away. I could have talked a lot longer. Now THIS is what facebook is for. I understand the hype and carry-on now. It isn’t about sitting in front of a computer and ignoring the world around you. It is about connecting with the world, in a way far easier than I might have imagined.
I didn’t go home, but I felt like I returned their, briefly, talking about old teachers and old hobbies. Memories that I didn’t even know I had came flooding back to me. I connected not just with an old friend, but with my childhood. For a long time I have ignored and forgotten those days. I had written them off as the past and not worth considering, but that was a mistake. I realised how good I had it in highschool – and not in the cliched “these are the best days of your life” way. In the way that I had great friends, a happy place to live and learn, and a host of other things that contributed to making me who I am. And, truth be told I am pretty happy with who I am. So thanks facebook, and all my new old friends, and Michelle. It’s good to be home.