Out of the thirty-four birthday greetings I received on Saturday (yes, I counted for the purposes of this blog post), exactly four were phone calls.
Welcome to the era of the Facebook phenomenon. Sixty zillion friends on your Facebook friends list, but how many of them do you actually know? And care about? Lumped together like peas in a casserole dish, no one person any more distinct than any other, with relationships built on poking, picture commenting, wall posts and, if you’re lucky, an actual Inbox message.
A notifier on our Facebook home page tells us when it’s someone’s birthday. Convenient, yes. Easy, too. And so very lovely when a Facebook buddy actually clicks on your profile and leaves you a thoughtful message. I’m truly touched and grateful to all the folks who noticed it was my birthday and took the time to wish me well.
But yet, I have to admit it’s sad to be wished a Happy Birthday via a social networking site by people I’ve loved and stayed close friends with for years. Now that feels wrong. Especially when you have my number and have used it many times in the past.
It’s also the era of the BlackBerry phenomenon. A BlackBerry has a phone feature that’s almost an afterthought. It pings nicely, but has nothing of real value to say. I’ve had entire conversations take place over arduous and thumb-cramping texting, despite the fact that both parties involved have perfectly good long distance plans. Ridiculous when you think about it. And even more disheartening when someone who’s got your phone number programmed into their phone opts to message you a Happy Birthday instead of calling. Calling would require one button to push. You’d think it would be easier.
But I’m guilty, too. As charged, on all counts. So this, I must acknowledge, is karma.
I got seven times the Facebook birthday greetings than I did phone calls on Saturday. It was depressing as hell, and I don’t blame anyone but myself. It’s my fault, for letting technology take the place of real life. Somehow I’ve let perfectly wonderful and intimate relationships slide into something I can fit into the palm of my hand. I’ve allowed relationships rich with history to morph into two-fingered typing. So it’s no wonder hardly anyone thought to call. I haven’t set a very good example, and if my feelings are hurt, it’s my own damned fault.
I really miss hearing your voice. Don’t you miss hearing mine? And if you don’t, what the hell does that say about us?