Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Facebook fatigue

The honeymoon is over, the thrill is gone, the novelty has worn off. I'm so over Facebook.

Oh, sure. The Book was fun at first. The cyber stalker in me reveled in looking up (and being looked up by) old high school crushes. There was a certain perverse joy in finding out that most of my former flames were leading pretty boring lives.

I got caught up in the rush of joining random Facebook groups like the "I Will Go Slightly Out of my Way to Step on That Crunchy-looking Leaf" group and the "Just Because We're Both Gaijin Doesn't Mean We're Friends" group.

But, in the end, Facebook is just another distraction I don't need. There are too many applications, too many "friend" requests, too many people poking me (what's the point of all this cyber poking anyway?), too many people tagging me in unflattering photos, too much time spent untagging myself from said photos. Who needs it?

Now, before I leave The Book behind forever, I want to share a funny story about connecting with someone from my past on Facebook. Someone I haven't seen or talked to since he broke my heart in elementary school. Let's call him "Paul Gorma."

Paul Gorma and I go all the way back to junior kindergarten. Paul Gorma was the king of kindergarten. He was funny and cute and had a big gap between his front teeth and even bigger brown eyes. He was always getting into trouble but had a magical way of charming his way out of it.

I had a huge crush on Paul Gorma. In fact, I had such a big crush on Paul Gorma that I decided to name my teddy bear after him.

Each night I clutched his stuffed effigy close to my chest as I fell asleep. I loved Paul Gorma the bear and the boy equally.

Over time, my crush intensified and by Grade 2 I couldn't keep my feelings inside any longer. I wanted to let Paul Gorma know how I felt about him. Maybe he'd love me back! Maybe he'd kiss me behind the slide! Maybe we'd go out (and by "go out" I don't mean that we'd actually go anywhere. I mean maybe we'd kind of be boyfriend and girlfriend who'd maybe hang out during recess sometimes. Because that's how romance worked in elementary school).

So I decided to bring Paul Gorma (the bear, not the boy) to show-and-tell and introduce him to the entire class. I don't remember what I said exactly. But I do remember holding the bear up above my head and telling the class that his name was Paul Gorma and being shocked when all of the kids in the class (and even the teacher!) broke out into hysterical laughter. I wasn't trying to be funny.

Unfortunately, my grand gesture of love blew up in my face. Paul Gorma was downright mean about it. He told me I was stupid and that the bear was stupid and that he would never talk to me again.

Looking back on it now, I don't blame the poor kid for freaking out. I mean, a crazy stalker names her teddy bear after you? And announces it in front of the entire class? Run, kid, run! (I suppose it didn't help that I liked to come to school wearing yellow plastic sunglasses with the lenses poked out while pretending to be a British exchange student by the name of Kimberly Leblanc.)

At the time, I was crushed by Paul Gorma's harsh rejection. But I never thought to change the bear's name.

[Side note: The bear actually did undergo a temporary name change during my university years. I was dating a guy who went to high school with Paul Gorma. Seeing my bear for the first time, he asked what his name was. Thinking it might be kind of awkward to tell him the truth, I made up a new name on the spot. And, not being one who thinks very quickly on her feet, I told him the bear's name was "Um . . .Ted." After we broke up, the bear temporarily known as Ted went back to being Paul Gorma.]

I haven't seen or spoken to Paul Gorma since he shunned me in elementary school. I'm not going to spell it out in years, but let's just say that it's been a very long time.

Fast forward to 2007. A few months after joining Facebook, I got a friend request from none other than Paul Gorma. It was a strange feeling to see that name pop up in my inbox. It put me right back on the playground.

Now, after not having seen or spoken to each other in years and years and years, what do you think the very first thing he said to me was?

That's right. He asked me if I still had the teddy bear I named after him!

Oh, Facebook, thank you for that long, strange trip down memory lane. Everything has now come full circle.

"Paul Gorma" chills out on the balcony at the apartment we shared while living in Japan. Paul and I miss Japan a lot.

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