In your Facebook

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I don't even recall signing up.

Until one day, earlier this year, when I received an e-mail cheerfully informing me: Red! So-and-so has written on your wall! Click on this link below to see what they have written.

Huh? I thought, as eloquently as always. And clicked the link anyway.

After a few incorrect password/member name combinations (why don't I, who can't remember what I've done even five seconds ago, just stick to the same password/member name combos for all e-mail accounts and subscription sites I belong to? But no. Why make something simple if I can make it complicated?) I eventually entered the correct combination, and... well, that's pretty much when my life stopped being my own.

Suddenly my day consisted of a barrage of poking and being poked back (ooh, sounds almost naughty), being bitten by chumps, being turned into a zombie, writing on walls (in short, almost everything we have been forbidden to do since Kindergarten), commenting on pictures and finding people. (In fact, all three of my imaginary readers already know the story about how I even found my high school boyfriend on facebook.)

I didn't quite reckon on being found myself!

For some reason, I am not facebooking (is it a verb now?) under my own full name. Just my initials and surname. (Yes, indeed. Who DO I think I am? J Freakin' K Rowling?)

I'm not saying I consciously didn't want to be found, but perhaps it was definitely in the back of my mind when I signed up and had to fill in my name. Kind of like when I was a kid. I was too shy to play, but I didn't want to be entirely excluded. So I merely sat on the sideline, watching from a distance. That way I still knew what was going on without being swept up in the action.

Besides, it's kind of difficult to be 32(!!! I still think I've made a dyslexic mistake and that the numbers should be typed the other way around. Hold on, all ye young ones. The ride of youth is fleeting) and to be starting over at the very bottom like I am right now. Especially when I just know that most of my peers are, if not close to the top of the corporate ladder, already more than halfway there! It's enough to make a girl feel very loserish indeed.

Maybe that's why I just typed in my initials and surname under my name.

I should have known that the powers of facebook extends beyond a mere technicality like that, though.

I honestly didn't. I mean, I had tried without success over the years to track down my best friend from high school. She has a very unique and beautiful name, so when the Internet came along, I thought that it would be relatively easy to find her. For years I played an Internet sleuth, spending hours online searching for her. Good ol'e Google was the magnifying glass to my Sherlock Holmes, but unfortunately, all I saw when I typed in her full name was thousands of hits... for beer.

I finally figured that she was probably married with a new, less beer-sounding surname. With a heavy heart, I gave up my fruitless searches.

Until facebook. Right around the time that I stumbled onto High School Boyfriend, I searched her name on there as well. Just for in case. But I got zero matches.

About a month ago, I received an e-mail. "Red! Best Friend From High School, still with beer-sounding surname, has written on your wall!"

I had to blink several times to make sure that it was true. When I realised that it was indeed her, I burst into happy tears.

I have not seen her since 1993, during our first year of college. We met when I was 14. I was the new girl at Performing Arts High School, and due to my spectacular failure of mathematics, I was promptly moved from my seat at the back of the class to the front row, where the teacher could keep a close eye on me. Not to give me extra help - I think she realised that I was long beyond help and hope - but because she had never in her entire teaching career encounter anyone quite as absolutely illogical (okay, plain stupid) as I was when it came to mathematics. Who could blame her for wanting to keep close tabs on such a freakish creature?

However, my dark cloud had a decidedly silver lining, as I ended up being seated next to one of the best friends I would ever have. But believe me, she was not seated in that row because she was slow on the uptake like me. No, she was in front because she was actually fascinated with the class. A very clever eager beaver. Until I came along and ruined her academic career with my bad influence... Well, ruin is not exactly the right word. Because despite me doing my best to distract her with lame jokes, she still aced everything, because she was That Clever. Unfortunately, none of it ever rubbed off on me. Even more unfairly than that, though, was the fact that she was both the brains AND the beauty of our dual operation!

The two of us became inseperable. I even spent some of the most amazing vacations I have ever had with her and her family. I had a crush on her big brother. I ADORED her mom. Her mom was not only the coolest mom I had ever met, but she was also incredibly kind and very sweet to me. Some of the happiest times I experienced during high school was spent with Best Friend and her family.

I have to admit though: despite my excitement of being reunited with her, I definitely had reservations too. I AM embarrassed about the current state of my life. There is no getting around it. I wasted a lot of years and energy chasing my American Dream, and when that didn't pan out it was really devastating to me. In fact, I still cry when I think about it! Anyway, the demise of my American Dream led to me coming home, defeated, tail-between-the-legs and with nothing to my name.

I just knew that she would be successful, and I was correct. She IS well on her way up the corporate ladder. About the only thing we have in common now is that we are both unmarried after having had long relationships in our 20s. She is super independent though and her life is more fullfilled than many of the married or coupled-up people I know. The girl has seen a lot of the world. She still takes classes and has a varied and rich life, both socially and intellectually.

I have been so touched, because upon finding me, she immediately wanted to book a flight and come and see me. As in immediately. I was honest with her and told her what a bugger up my life has been, and how shy I am to see her again (especially in my current state), but she has been completely amazing and non-judgemental.

So facebook? Yes, it has the ability to mysteriously suck huge chunks of time from your working day - which is why many South African companies have recently blocked it on their employees' computers - but oh, it rocks.

Because it also has this ability to reunite people who never should have lost each other in the first place.

5 Comments

SilverSabre said:

Wow!! Thats just AWESOME!!!!!

Also, did u send ur cv out!?

SS :)

Deeleea said:

yeah, i waste way more time on it than i should... current obsession? Scrabble...

Sad. As.

Lisa said:

I've reconnected with a couple of friends from way back when and I few I'd hoped to NEVER see again!

I'm so glad you've found your friend again...it's always nice when you can reconnect with someone you were close to!

kim said:

that's great. gotta love the www. as to facebook: at least i was able to put a face with the red that i have been following for so long. :)

mice said:

Go there now. No not you Red. you are already there. Everybody else.

OK Good.

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

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comments
  • mice : Go there now. No not you Red. you are already there. Everybody else. OK Good.... [go]
  • kim : that's great. gotta love the www. as to facebook: at least i was able to put a face with the red tha... [go]
  • Lisa : I've reconnected with a couple of friends from way back when and I few I'd hoped to NEVER see again!... [go]
  • Deeleea : yeah, i waste way more time on it than i should... current obsession? Scrabble... Sad. As.... [go]
  • SilverSabre : Wow!! Thats just AWESOME!!!!! Also, did u send ur cv out!? SS :)... [go]
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