Yesterday she had wanted to add Penny, the woman who did her nails, to her Facebook contacts and was notified that her coffer was full, that she had reached her maximum of five thousand friends.
Earlier today she bumped into her Uncle Theo while crossing at a busy intersection. She hadn’t seen him in a year or more. Both in a hurry, they exchanged a quick hug and a few fast words. As they separated amidst the bustling crowds, she asked — are you on Facebook? He yelled back from across the street, smiling — yes!
Initially she had maintained a couple dozen friends and family but after a while she started adding people as easily as grocery items to a basket. Although only a handful ever interacted with her, it was a good place to maintain one’s rolodex of contacts.
The beginning of the slippery slope? Maybe exchanging contact information with a woman on the subway based on a conversation concerning their similar boots. Soon she was sending and accepting invitations to connect with fans in the comment sections of online groups she had joined. Friends of friends of friends can fan out infinitely. Numerous politically aligned connections were made amidst raging debates during the last election.
There were cousins twice-removed, some kids she went to highschool with, even a handful of her husband’s buddies. Of course there were the members of her book club, which then expanded outward to all those who might be interested in, perhaps even buy, one of the fabric bookmarks she made. Don’t get her wrong, she was smartly selective — her landlord and boss at work were certainly not admitted to any of her tribal networks.
And all this acquaintance accumulation does have its rewards. Every time she opens the website, she enters that special warmth, that static version of her fifteen minutes of fame; being surrounded by friends, associates, colleagues, neighbors, acquaintances, and potential customers — even people she’s not too crazy about, some whose opinions make her roll her eyes. From that whirlpool of humans there always emerge a handful who are free with that reassuring “like” button, and her heart does a Pavlovian leap whenever that red notification bell goes off.
Back at home, searching for connections to abandon to make some room for the new entries, her finger zooms along on the scroll-wheel as the columns of faces roll on and on and on down the screen. As she’s observing that there are quite a few in the don’t remember where I know them from category, she suddenly stops, a bit embarrassed, at the thumbnail photo of the profile of her friend, Uncle Theo.
Ninth of thirty-one stories — 500 words or less, written one-per-day during December 2018 — The Hunt & Peck Parables PatchWord Quilt™©.
© AleXander Hirka 2019. All Rights Reserved.