Contrary to what Mickey Rourke might tell you, certain aspects of our lives were meant to stay partitioned. Religious faith and scientific understanding. “Grazneth, Level 70 Dark Mage” and “Todd, C.P.A.” And who hasn’t heard “don’t bring your work home!” from their wife, am I right? We keep things in their appropriate boxes in order to maintain some level of order and control in our lives. In order to stay relatively sane. So what happens when those boxes spill over?
The stage: Brooklyn. The scene: The Levee. It’s 1 AM or so on Sunday morning and, anticipating the 3 hour trip back to Manhattan, my friends and I have started walking over to Bedford Avenue and the subway stop. On the way, though, I spot a face out of the corner of my eye that makes me pause. It looks familiar… but not “hey! Don’t I know you?” familiar. No – this is a more unsettling, “I never thought this would happen” familiar. This is “random Facebook friend” familiar.
What I’m referring to, of course, is any number of friends in your Facebook arsenal who you might not – in the traditional sense – well, actually know. We’ve trod this ground before. It’s friendship through a glass, darkly. As insecure “Millenials,” though, we treat this anonymous social networking as some sort of validation; proof that we’re likable and unique enough to stand out, even to complete strangers. But we never expect to meet those strangers.
People person that I am, I first tried to ignore the girl. I kept walking with my group. But I turned back, out of curiosity, just as she was doing the same. We both knew instantly who the other was (even if that knowledge was merely a technicality) and found ourselves debating whether to say hello. She drew first.
“Are we friends on Facebook?” I shook my head just a little before saying “yeah” with an exagerrated look of recognition.
“That’s so weird! And outside a bar in Brooklyn!” I nodded. I may have added “right?” We both sort of stood there after that. It was awkward.
“Cool. Well, see ya later!”
I’m guessing that another minute there would have broken all laws of Facebook physics and probably killed us, so we were both lucky to get out when we did. This was like Marty McFly meeting his mom as a teenager – it wasn’t supposed to happen. But it did, and I can’t help but ponder a few things in the aftermath:
1) What’s sadder: the “friendship” itself or the fact that when confronted with something “real,” (loose interpretation here) we both kind of freaked out?
2) Am I special, or has this happened to anyone else?
3) Why does this girl make so many photo albums?