Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why I chose Twitter et al over Facebook

Black Friday 2015 was one of the best days of my life. It involved daycare, a Japanese movie theater and deleting my Facebook app. Cary was gone but Jules was here, and I needed a break – even though she's perfect in every way.

Our office on base was open, but I took the day off (thanks, co-worker) and still dropped Jules at daycare (hehe). Then I made a beeline to the rambling, terraced ViNAWALK. I had a plan thanks to the Toho Cinemas at this outdoor mall having a 10 a.m. showing of the latest James Bond, Spectre. I've been a fan since we bought my dad all the old VHS copies for Christmas one year and it turned out I loved the stuff; they're also a good entertainer for visiting uncles and cousins and bored guy friends.

Then bro Ty and I went to the first Daniel Craig installment Casino Royal and it changed our lives all over again, as well as made us want to visit Montenegro one day and drink Vespers. What I'm trying to say is, I was excited. Not to mention the anticipation of sitting in a large, dark, peaceful room interaction-free for a couple hours. Going to movies alone also means I don't have to constantly resist the urge to share what else I've seen the actors in.


Not many people go to morning movies or on weekdays. And in Japan, when it wasn't a holiday, there wasn't anyone under five feet tall, maybe. The parking lot was quiet but for my mini-mini-van's wheels, the mall abandoned as I walked with my coat pulled tight. The warm lobby with its smells of popcorn and coffee welcomed me with open arms.

The ticket kiosk was a breeze. With my tray of perfectly popped and buttered corn and tiny, foamy latte – don't get me wrong; I seriously contemplated the gourmet hot dogs, pizza and beer – I passed the built-in, wannabe Sweet Factory (contemplated this too) and the nicest, most well-groomed ticket-taker ever, on to the most impeccable and colorful restroom ever. I swear to God it looked like the inside of a Toontown building. Every Japanese movie theater is like the few American theaters that are luxurious, clean and focused on service and taste. Yet in Japan, they just seem to take it a step further like with everything else, from Disney to konbinis.

The movie was great.

I watched the credits scroll prettily and enjoyed the aligned baby name ideas as usual, with their sometimes-interesting job descriptions. Then I left those characters behind, doubly sad as I remembered I was almost done with my Frasier Netflix marathon. How have I watched almost all of Frasier while Cary's been deployed? Actually, as Cary pointed out, how did I watch all 10 years of Friends episodes during the time it took to get the hang of breastfeeding in the middle of the night?

Each time I finish a show, it's like leaving family behind. (Samesies for books.) Every friendship no longer viewed leaves me missing them like my real friends. Every love story leaves me wanting more. Every homey house in Parenthood makes me miss living with them throughout the season, as if I'd sat on their plush couches with them and leaked tears too, rubbed their backs and whispered their nicknames. I get coffee with my Hallmark and Lifetime movie heroins. Caroline's desk was my desk. I wanted to work alongside Archer and staff at the good Isis.

I know this deep love of entertainment can be ridiculous. I write it off as arty. Just like I pretend I watch the Oscars to see who'll win best original screenplay and best cinematography. Really, Hollywood, publishing and living as romantic a life as I can handle are all part of a quite superficial dream to feel comely, clever and free.

I sighed – the loudest noise anyone had made in two-and-a-half hours (god I love it, not to mention the zero kicking, random shooshing and potential fist fights) – and proceeded back to reality. But I had the rest of the day really. What was I going to do, I thought. I used the Thanksgiving Day on my own to clean our rock-star-hotel-room-destroyed house... Gosh, I was freezing. So I bought a new jacket. I spotted the decent burger place and hunkered down, warm and happy eating again, American to boot. I pulled out my phone. I swiped to Facebook. I paused before opening it. Here I was about to possibly ruin my good time with myself [wink].

Here's the thing about Facebook. It's pretty much constant comparison despite your level of confidence. Sure there's the excuse it's easier to stay in touch with friends, reconnect, keep our parents apprised of their grandchildren...That we need our account active for Messenger to work, or for work, or to know what's happening in the communities we're part of, or with the brands we love, or when our favorite blog has a new post. ;-) But are these false truths? I thought maybe the app was at the heart of the matter, the content another matter. I'll explain.

I deleted the app and enjoyed my second lunch with a feed of illustrated comedian comic tweets. (In the back of my mind, I fondly remembered my oracle of a friend who mentioned app deletion years ago.)

Facebook is like my new US Weekly, my new McDonald's. I love it, but I'm not really proud of it. Like when I pass up NatGeo for Entertainment Tonight on a gym cardio machine TV console, then wonder if my neighbor also thinks my incline level is pathetic. Apparently I want people to think I prefer the news, the latest local ski report and maybe even an ESPN app over good ol' FB. I definitely don't need it. Sparingly might be key. I'm really looking for viral videos and images that either make me 'lol' or want to write to the moon and back. Enter my YouTube and Tumblr apps, duh me. Insta and Pin are a bit too much of the same, but sometimes I take a pic of Jules I just have to filter the shit out of.

There's just a je ne sais quoi about Facebook. An ease. A one-stop shop. An entertaining, escapist, cathartic liking machine. You tap; you wait for the gray blocks to turn clear and vibrant; and then you get an immediate flood of social information. Which has everything to do with who you're not and what you're not doing, should be doing or wish you were doing. Thumbs down. Plus, many times there's a quirky pic or sarcastic comment, there's some dip who misinterprets it. I'm realizing privacy goes a long way toward my sanity. And I love not much more these days than sending Jules' Papa, Nana and Mimi her cutest pics via text, trolling Twitter anonymously and opening the Blogger app to edit my latest, probably dumbest opinion.

Sometimes it's OK to just enjoy the view over second lunch.


****** SOME TIME LATER ******

Cary: Have you seen this hilarious dog video Brad shared?

[Aly shakes her head quizzically.]

Cary: Oh yeah, you don't have Facebook...