One of the things that surprised me when I quit smoking was the amount of time I had freed up to do other things. Very rarely does a human being do nothing at all and there are a lot of little ways we find to fill the tiny spaces of time doing something and doing something else. The problem with doing something that doesn’t take much time but is fairly fun is that it begins to creep into the territory of those things that are important, yet uninspiring, that take most of our lives to do, like work and sleep and interacting with human beings who are in some way important yet uninspiring and likely downright dull.
While smoking was once socially acceptable and everyone stood around and smoked, society drifted away from smoking and now smokers are the pariahs of the workplace who have to go stand outside under a tree or sit in their cars to smoke. There are some workplaces that have banned smoking from their property altogether so you’ll see a guy puffing away on a cigarette during lunch while standing outside the gate. That’s dedication to a habit or it’s stupidity.
As a Hermit and a person with a stronger than average Introvert Quotient I get worn out and worn down by dealing with real people in real time. It really doesn’t matter if I like these people or hate the people, it’s the fact that people drain my emotional energy and after about twelve hours I begin to seriously fade away. FB was my way of being able to interact with real people, more or less, in real time, but when I needed a break I could turn the computer off, or close FB and they were gone. They were always there, mind you, anytime I opened things back up, and like a cigarette break, all I had to do was swipe my phone and there they were again, invisible friends with icons and dog photos.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’ve met some really great local people through FB and there is no greater tool for rescue than FB. Two of the four dogs vying for my attention came from rescue groups on FB trying to save lives and they did. We did. But just like smoking to break up the day into more edible pieces, a habit soon control the smoker rather than the smoker controlling the habit.
The Distance/Attraction Inverse Relationship
One thing I’ve noticed about FB is that most people get attracted to other people who are at least one thousand miles apart. This is akin to think that a new computer is really cool because it cost two thousand bucks and there’s no way in hell you can afford that, but you’d really like to see more of it. People treat these long distance relationships as viable even though they realize there can be only one of three eventual outcomes; one person moves, the other person moves, or they both move. Only in the latter choice is there a sense of equity for the former two require sacrifice of one or the other for the sake of one or the other but not both. It’s difficult, at best, for someone to acclimate to a new culture but in love rarely is anything easy or impossible. Yet I’m fairly certain there are more ships on the rocks of long distance dating than there are those sailing into the sunset of happiness.
At the same time, there is something to be said about the sheer persistence of love. There something to said about its ability to turn time into longevity despite life. It’s rare, but not extinct, true love, and if it can be found anywhere it can be found everywhere, and if two people can find happiness together everything else, even distance, is just background noise. That’s wildly optimistic of me, I do realize that, but is there anything else to be optimistic about if not love? No matter what else we discover outside our own world if love cannot be found here we might as well just stop and wait for the end, ever it may bring. We, as a species, have to hope that love can be found and can be found by anyone and everyone, anywhere, or we can just stop hoping for anything else.
FB, is more or less an open field where people meet and share things that are important to each individual in some way. Sometimes the noise is greater than the sound and that’s to be expected. Yet dogs get rescued, cats find homes, and people with great hearts discover they can make a difference in a medium not designed for altruism. Even Hermits can find love there, it seems, and in that, perhaps, hope resides if nowhere else.
Yet there is always that draw, that undefinable need to speak in great silence and that is not altogether a good thing. To smoke one cigarette is nothing at all, except what it means at the moment to one person. A habit is rarely what it appears to be at all and time, always time, is something to be balanced at the end of whatever demands it and whatever needs it and whoever wants it. FB is a very slippery slope that leads to a rabbit hole that might devour an entire Saturday afternoon if there isn’t some sort of braking mechanism in place.
So these are the words of the Hermit in the woods who lives with dogs and largely without people these days. FB has been shut down and disconnected for three days now, and it’s odd how many times I find myself about to check to see if I have any notices. Notices? Has someone tagged me or mentioned me or posted something to my wall? The language itself is esoteric. A billion people trade electronic pulses and the world changes.
I’m still not ready to return. Have you noticed that I am writing more?