Morning journey, first few minutes of the day. I make my morning coffee and power up my laptop from its well earned overnight hibernation.
Image of people cheerfully greet me as my 3 year old son competes for my attention. Thomas the Train chuffs merrily up my arm while a tiny voice insists that I “pway twains wike dis…” Instead, I utilize my super hero mommy power of volume control to lower his urgent pleas for my attention in my head. I have important “friend” stuff to take care of this morning.
I open my laptop and step confidently into an airbrushed reality.
A “friend” (who is really a friend of an aquaintance) posts about her grown daughter’s adventures in Hollywood. Cool connection, I get a little bit of inside dish. I know more about her child’s adventures and success than I know about her. Hell, if I’ve ever stood in the grocery line behind either of them, I’d never have known. Today she posts a generic “thank you” to all of us, her friends, for the gift of our friendship.
My younger, hipster friends check in next. They post obscure music videos and links to books that are way too deep to understand. They patronize the local food markets where I get the scoop on the freshest produce and I feel like a healthier person because I know where I can buy a ton of kale on the cheap. Also mentioned are many clubs and restaurants that I can’t or don’t frequent as my Mom jeans and discount fanny pack real life persona would negate all of my cool credibility. If I have any hipster credibility, it is accidental to be sure.
Uh-oh onward to the FML crowd. I have threatened to remove them from my friends list, but that would be a considerable chunk of my Facebook real estate. These Negative Nancys are generally young (children of real life friends, I’ve watched many of them grown up). Terminally plagued with some sort of cold, flu, awful job and romantic strife, they punctuate their avatars with the prediction of FML. These posts leave me feeling a little better about my life, my “L” is not as “F”ed.
My child has given up on playing trains with me. He has stolen my little companion smart phone to play Angry Birds. He scores pretty high, much more so than I do. It is an ugly testament to my parenting skills. Anyhow, this smart phone is my lifeline. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to check FB status or read blogs while sweating on the elliptical machine at the gym. I am never really tuned in with my body, the only time my heart rate rises is at the hint of any kind of social network scandal or decrease in my gym’s bandwidth..
Hurray! my heavily edited Shiny Happy People Group! Carefully chosen photos reflect perfect lives, with perfect children, lovely homes and exotic vacations. But these folks are so much more than these appearances. Wisdom from Scripture, song lyrics and famous quotes remind me that I need to be grateful for my life. Perhaps, just maybe if I am grateful enough…I can take a vacation or live in a dream house that is always clean.
Second cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal to quiet my son’s hunger. I look at my own profile. Future employers, past ghosts and future friends use this as currency to judge my worthiness in this virtual human race. Their good opinion is based on what they see when they visit my page and peruse my photos. Unflattering photos are removed and sanitized posts replace any unsavory emotions and activities as I tidy up my own avatar for her day in this digital kingdom.
In real life, I look at my son whose physical hunger has been sated. But he is hungry for something more. I close my laptop and decide that sunshine is without a nutrition label and can’t be bartered for in even the coolest urban marketplace. On this warm and sunny Southern winter day, I long for a picnic. “C’mon Bud, lets get outta here and enjoy the day”. And out into the bright warmth we go, hand in hand. But only after my smart phone is charged.