• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Had Some Friends But They’re Gone

I started an account on Facebook a few months ago. Friends, it’s a shit show. First of all, the graphics are hideous. Doesn’t Mark Z. have enough cash to give the site a clean design. I can’t tell a notification from a comment from the feed. My email is flooded with notices about stuff I can’t see because I can’t remember my password. I don’t care if it’s the Pope’s birthday. I prefer a birthday wish that comes in the form of a Hallmark card preferably with cash. I don’t get “liking” something. I’m a hater, as you know if you’ve been hanging out here. I really don’t get it. I will say that it looks as if Shana is having a high time and she looks better than Lena Dunham as a blonde. Maybe I joined a day late and dollar short, but I feel like the girl at party who hugs the wall and watches ice melt in the bottom of a plastic cup, and nobody puts baby in the corner. Okay, I’m on my fourth episode of Law and Order and that means it’s time for jammies. I think I need to stay here in Mr. ROgers neighborhood where I belong.

Are you on FB. Are you happy? Popular and by that I mean how many friends do you have and would your recognize any of them in a crowded elevator?

41 Responses

  1. I’m a twitter only gal and happy as a clam!

  2. FB stands for facebook?
    I thought it was FuckBuddies?
    No wonder no one ever says yes to my friend requests. Maybe I should rewrite them.
    Naaaaa.

  3. I only stay on because of my family. If I get one more invitation to play some stupid game, I will lose my sh… mind. I turn off most notifications, especially the ones that tell me somebody commented on a post I commented on.

    Including family, probably about 200 or so “friends.” I made an author page, but nothing to report on that.

    I usually lurk, but whenever I post a picture or update, the whole site explodes with Likes and all that sh… stuff.

    Now my dad is on it, and his profile pic is a faceless silhouette.

    I’d love to abandon it, but my aunt and cousins would probably drive from New Brunswick to see if I’m still alive.

  4. Facebook practically brings me out in hives. Build an audience they say. I felt like I was back in school (watching the cool kids) or a zoo (the mutual grooming), stopped writing, anxiety, the works. I’m an introvert and FB was an invasion.

  5. All the cool kids have split the FB scene and they didn’t tell anyone where they were going cuzz they knew if we wannabes knew, we’d follow and then it wouldn’t be cool anymore. So we hang out there pretending we’re cool but it’s a shit-show now. Marky Zee sold a zillion souls to the debbil and we were they and now we poke around in the shopping zone, hugging our pussies and stroking our doggies and going wee-wee-wee all the way to where there is no home, no harvest, no point, no leaders, no followers, no likey, no friendy, several generations of lost crammed together in a festive mortuary.

    • So when do you start your new job and do they know you’ve won a Pulitzer, an Edger and are in the running for the Nobel for literature. Oh wait that was the High Street guy, sorry.
      Good luck on your first day my friend. I hope you don’t mind if I call you that.

      • I don’t mind being friended by friendly and kindred spirits, my friend.

        I am still the High Street guy, though in mufti. I’ve retired from the active pursuit central to that tome, anyway.

        When my new bosses asked me if I had any hobbies (they can ask that at interviews?) I told them, “Writing and photography.” Neither of those have I ever considered mere hobbies, but I didn’t want to cloud or complicate matters, or scare back into the bush the bird I’ve so long sought to coax into my hand.

        I start the new job Tuesday.

    • Geez, where’ve I been? Congrats on the new job! That big news somehow slipped by me.

  6. I was on Facebook until 3 guys from high school days decided they’d plan visits to see me, to try and woo me, to finally play out some adolescent longing they’d had for me back in the day. My nerves couldn’t take it. That and the cat pictures.

  7. I have a love/fear relationship with it. One of my kids thought it was great that I was on and the other was mortified that I would invade her world. Now, the only one who thinks it’s stupid is my husband, which is understandable because if it were up to him we’d still have a dial phone and a TV antenna.
    I put my column up when it comes out, and my friends, I don’t have many, make very nice comments. Because the newspapers that run it are a few towns away, that’s the only way I can spread my brilliant writing acumen among my fans, I don’t have many. It is a great way to keep up with family members, the ones I like anyway, not many of them either.
    There’s a lot I don’t know about how it words so I am standing next to you Betsy, with my watered down drink, hugging the wall. Nice to meet you, do you come here often? I don’t. Nice to meet you.

  8. facebook is the worst, You are so right about the graphics and interface. It’s ugly and hard to navigate and read. I wish it was true that people are leaving facebook. I am particularly tired of taking on line classes and they put the groups on facebook instead of yahoo groups.

  9. Yup, you are a bit late. So you can cry in your jammies, and revert to that awkward-feel-out-of-place-tween that never left the recesses of your mind, or you can Lerner-Up, and do what you do best–walk that shit. Now!

  10. Oh, Betsy. Now you join Facebook, just as I’m drifting away?

    I’m joking. I would not want you to see me on Facebook. I think it’s an amalgamation of the nine circles of hell or an unknown tenth beyond, but I’m addicted, so it’s eaten up God-knows-how-many years of writing time. I have no family to speak of, so my daily interactions consist of Liking photos of new babies, and theological and ecclesiastical infighting with other Hare Krishnas and assorted heretics.

    And when I say “addicted,” I mean that it has ruined/damaged relationships in addition to eating up hours. I’m sure I have written at least three manuscripts’ worth of copy in the comments but can I make even one book out of all my bloviations? Believe it or not, I’ve thought seriously about trying to do just that. Averil and anyone I respect as an artist has told me to quit cold turkey, but I’m not quite ready yet. I’ve started taking frequent “deactivation vacations,” and each time I return I feel the pull of Timeline less strongly.

    I used to accompany a friend to AA meetings to give her moral support. At the third meeting, I said, “Hi, my name is Tulasi and I’m addicted to FB.” The room erupted in laughter but what they don’t understand is that I was more productive (in my own way) as a drunk. FB is insidious in its destructiveness. Recently I signed up for ello.co, which is so brimming with East Coast artists and designers and such, I feel like a Muscovy duck among (black) swans. I have yet to see a cat video there. You have to contribute, not just schmooze, if you want to be noticed.

  11. I’m on facebook. I have a lot of friends, some are relatives, some are associates from clubs, groups, etc. I used to be picky about who I was friends with but then I just gave in and have over 1000. I unfriend the ones who are posting sex photos, politics, religion.
    I try to stay off fb for the most part, I’ve been adding links to music videos, articles about animals, books I’m reading and reviewing on Goodreads.
    When I get the social bug I go crazy with fb and write way too much, sometimes without a filter. I’ve been unfriended by at least three people, not certain why. My mother even unfriended me, but that could have been my niece who did it for her, since they share the account.
    People who know me (and those who don’t) can contact me through facebook and leave a message. I’ll read the message when I get around to it. I don’t usually take phone calls so writing on fb is good, or gmail for those who know my eddress, or a letter in the mail.

  12. I’ve tried twice on Facebook and twice with Twitter, and at this point I’m not on either. I just don’t like who I am in those venues, what with the scorekeeping and self-censorship and the goddamned emoticons. It’s like being stuck in a neverending PTA meeting.

    • I miss you from FB, Averil. You can’t see all the nifty fotos I post, usually one a day, that I don’t post on my blog (I could… I should prolly see about that). As for the PTA, ain’t much of life a never-ending PTA meeting? Here’s something to take for that:

  13. I’m glad FB exists, not because I enjoy knowing what a hundred people ate for lunch that day or whose cat did something too cute to not post the video, and yes, I hate the game requests and have done everything I can to block them.

    Facebook can tell me in one sentence when my friend who was recently widowed needs a phone call; help me discern when one of my daughters is overwhelmed with her working mom balancing act; and lets me offer the woman who used to clean my house some comfort after her chemo treatment.

    None of those interactions would likely happen if the only way to initiate them was for someone to admit their need, weakness, illness and ask for help. This strange, awkward public airing of our lives that is Facebook provides a sense of community and of not being alone, for many. And it gives me the opportunity to be present in those lives in a way that otherwise might not be possible.

    I have nearly 1800 “friends” on my personal page, about three quarter of whom I know at some level. And I’ve found it fun and interesting to have someone I don’t know walk up to me in the grocery store and introduce themselves and talk about something I’ve posted.

    My professional page is nearing 1000 fans, most of whom I don’t know personally, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a relationship. When I post news about my work or one of my Friday Inspirations, those strangers write to tell me how the words impacted them or about a similar experience. I am honored by their confidences and made richer in spirit by their stories.

  14. What’s Facebook?

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • I just don’t get it, either, and I mean ‘get it’ in the literal sense. It’s total chaos. Why, when I refresh here seconds after I read, can’t I find anything I just read? Like, follow, friend, what? When I do x, y happens…or does it? Why can’t I use two capital initials as me if that’s an abbreviation of my legal name I happen to use for night-job writing (as a page okay, otherwise not). Where is the rulebook? Why isn’t it easy if not only smart people work it? Am I that dumb?

      And yet. I use it to tell my whopping handful of friends about my night-job writing successes – so it’s me but it’s not me. Gritted teeth, an occasional constipated ‘like’ (the stink of which winds up where?), and wide-eyed fear that lurking will out me. I like the cats, though.

      And Twitter is more my thing, too. I like that brutal editor exercise, even if the whole thing (social media) is self-reinforcing.

  15. Sorry, replied under Lonnie’s awesome post – meant it generally.

  16. I enjoy Facebook as much as I enjoy WalMart and Home Depot. I’m more the farmer’s market, corner grocery, and old school hardware store guy.

    Lola is there, and sometimes shows me a picture or shares a greeting from a faraway friend. That;s nice, and she sends a greeting on my behalf. But I don’t go there. The old dog is good company, and I savor the solitude of the boat.

  17. Facebook is a strange bird. It irritates me most of the time. I enjoy some parts of it, like “some” of the pictures, (calling Tetman out on this – awesome photos always!) and “some” of the comments, but in general? I find myself aggravated by the over animated posturing.

    I have about 250 “friends.” I used to only confirm people I felt close to, but somehow I felt guilty when someone I wasn’t sure I knew would invite me to “friend” them. This is b/c of my husband’s business. Maybe he knows them? Maybe I’m supposed to know them? She/he looks vaguely familiar. Oh what the hell, confirmed!

    FB is the King Of Drama. Have a crisis and suddenly everyone is “liking” your crisis. Why that makes sense is beyond me. Comments pour in, and people suddenly become profound, maudlin, or tell someone how to “get through it.”

    In general, I’m perplexed by it.

  18. Social media has its uses for me. On Flickr, I became acquainted with a couple of people who live and work in Europe; when I visited Paris, I even had a night of drinking and talking with one of them. On Goodreads, I got to know an author who had written a book I admire; she’s now a genuine friend of mine. On Google+, I’ve become acquainted with a man who, among other things, is now a candidate for the 2016 presidential election, representing the Transhumanist Party. On Twitter, I discover breaking news and follow all sorts of people I don’t personally know whose work interests me (including the TV-show character Will McAvoy of ACN, who jousts repeatedly with political dullards in his Twitter posts). On LinkedIn, I’ve found a few former colleagues and learned what they’re doing now. On Facebook, though I don’t visit that often, I keep track of a lot of friends both past and present.

    On a separate subject, Betsy’s tone seems a little bit off to me in this post, though I admit I haven’t been reading closely for a while. Are you okay, Betsy?

    • Thanks for asking. Not really. My left shoulder is frozen. My right leg won’t stop bouncing. I can’t seem to walk the bridge from chapter seven to chapter eight and now the formatting has gone kerflooey. Otherwise peace and blessings. Oh, and no longer can get pictures for my blog. Every time I turn around WOrd press has gotten more stupid. Or maybe it’s me.

      • I’ve got a WordPress blog now. When you’ve created a post, just under the place for the title, there’s a button that says “Add Media.” Are you using that? (There’s another way, which I won’t go into.) I got up early & and think it’s about time for a nap, but you can email me if you want: ohmicron271@me.com.

        Don’t think I can help with shoulders, legs, or bridges. I’m more of a button-help type. Sorry to hear that, though.

      • but you still pick great post titles

  19. Betsy, I know other bright, successful people who do not wish to have their every move tracked. I avoid FB as much as possible. Whenever I am forced to log on, I am inevitably confronted by news of an illness, death, marriage, childbirth or worse. I shudder to imagine how much joy and tragedy I’ve missed by ignoring notifications. I have a few hundred “friends” – many people I don’t know or haven’t seen in decades. Yes, FB is a time suck, a forum for braggarts and bullies, and a bore. Yet I found myself posting when the Marathon bombers descended on my town with guns blazing. Having this outlet is not particularly healthy or useful. FB’s only real benefit to me is maintaining updated contact info in our hopelessly mobile society.

  20. I only use Twitter bc I follow literary people and things like Paris Review that often have wonder ful links to book, interviews, profiles, but talk about time suck! When and if I finish my novel, I’ll go on fb for business promotion only. I broke a lot hearts in high school and college and I don’t need those guys looking me up!

    Ps meant to say “when” I finish novel, no “if”

  21. Appearances are deceiving. I try not to curate my Facebook page to only show golden moments, but sometimes they come in a string anyway. But I’m the wallfloweriest of wallflowers. I summon deep reserves of bravado when I’m out on the town, then spend the next two days in bed. Truth. That joy you see on my face is definitely tinged with hysteria.

  22. Fuck facebook. All the fun stuff happens on the blogs, where you don’t have to be so goddamned polite all the time.

  23. My irresponsible use of Facebook changed my life forever. And not for the better. Funnily enough, I still have an account.

  24. Shanna looks fantastic as a blonde. Oh, you pretty thing.

  25. Guess I’m the odd duck out (story of my life). I love Facebook. It’s allowed me to reconnect with some old friends and has been a huge boost to promoting The 52/52 Project. Yes, you need to weed out a good amount of crap, but I learned to turn off the bad noise a long time ago. Twitter, however, still has me crazy-eyed…

  26. Are you on FB

    I’m “on” it in the sense that I have a profile but spend very little time on it because it’s terrible for the relationships that count.

  27. Brilliant for stalking. Everyone is on it. My phone is broken and peeps can only get access to me over facebook and post a cute pic as well.

  28. Was on, went off as a christmas gift to myself, and I’m still enjoying the heavenly peace being present with my people and myself. It’s like a finally found the door to leave the worst party ever. I just worry that if I ever get a book deal I’ll have to get back on. (This is how I manage rejection.)

  29. You can earn some extra $$ from your site, i see several opportunities here.
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