Yes. Again. I broke up with Facebook for the second time. A week or two ago, I’m not really sure how long it’s been. Peace of mind tends to blur time.
I did it for the same reasons both times. Facebook is mentally fragmenting. It’s a collection of fragments of people’s lives, ideas, problems, desires. Bits and pieces. Like rushing through a crowd and picking bits of lint, strands of hair, swatches of cloth, hints of bad breath and perfume, words and phrases, a grunt here, a moan there, a giggle, a laugh, a curse, a bad pun.
And rushing through a crowd that cries out for a signature on a petition for this, a petition for that, a petition for half a dozen causes a day; holding out a hand for a donation for a cause in America, in Africa, in London, in Iowa; laying out pictures of abused, abandoned, and dead animals as a plea for help for them.
It’s too much. There’s too much of it.
I made it stop. I think I will not make it start again like I did last time.
I’m sixty-eight years old. I can’t save the animals. I’m tired of signing petitions that go nowhere, do nothing. I haven’t got enough money for all the hands wiggling their fingers at me. And I don’t want the fragments of lives: they all blur together.
I want to read whole books. I want know whole persons. I want to spend whole hours just being bored. I want to work through whole arguments about politics and ethics. I want to play real games of backgammon.
I got tired of snappy memes, snarky comments, brief bits of ideas, impotent rage.
I like the people I met there on Facebook. I think I could be actual friends with many of them, in the real world. Or maybe not. I’ve been the perennial outsider and loner all my life, though not, as PeeWee Herman would have it, a rebel. Which is fine with me. I like my silences. I like the feel of my mind working uninterrupted.
I can write, somewhat. I think that’s what I’ll do from now on. That, and tend to my cats, read my books, mess around with ham radio, peek through microscopes, do the laundry, and listen to less news from the BBC and NPR.
I’m tired and I’m alone and the rest of the way is going to pretty much be like that. It’s okay. Could be worse. Could be better. But Facebook jangling around my brain isn’t the better way.
Goodbye Facebook. You were interesting. But I think you’re just not my type.