By December 2, 2008

Facebook: the time machine

One by one, I’ve added friends from high school to my Facebook account. I graduated in the early 90s, which (partially) explains my absolutely insane mullet/silk jacket/rayon shirt/black leather tie get-up in one of my school pictures. The other part of the story is that I went to high school in Utah. My mother and stepfather worked there at the time. None of us were Mormon (the dominant religion of the state), and I had no idea what I was in for when I moved at age fourteen.

I met a lot of people who were different from me while I was in high school. Although I still keep in touch with my friend Alex, most of the people I knew back then have been distant memories. Every once in awhile I wondered how some of my classmates had gotten along, but I assumed they were still stuck in Utah. Utah’s culture has a very strong gravitational pull.

Finding friends on Facebook is a lot like watching a virus spread. I started out with one good friend, and they have a few friends I remembered, and they have a few friends …. The next thing you know there’s a friend request from someone I maybe, possibly, remembered from a class or two in the eleventh grade.

For the most part, I accept these requests. It doesn’t hurt anything to have a lot of acquaintances on Facebook, and my contact information is locked down even to those on my friends list. It has made for some interesting trips back through the ages, as people are old enough now that we look very different from high school.

Typically, my old friends have started families. They have put on weight associated with having to chase two or three kids around and still make time for their significant others. My male friends have hairlines that look a lot like mine. Gal friends have smile lines on their faces, and sometimes look more like pears than the hourglasses I remember.

Some of my friends, however, look just as great as I remember. A friend of mine is in New York City and is engaged to a fellow out there. They look exceptionally happy, and the vibrancy I remember is still on her face and in her spirit. My buddy Alex might have put on a few pounds, but he’s the same guy. Yes, he has two boys and is married, but I think being a child at heart has kept him “feeling” young. He looks great.

My favorite part of this Facebook time machine is reliving the memories buried under years of other bullshit. Take this picture, for example (I’m in the back):

I had this taken when I came back to visit during my first year of college. It was the last time I was with the core group of my friends. It is very plausible it’s the last time they were together, too. I was really tight with some of the people in that picture, and through time and apathy I fell out of touch. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve reconnected with six of them.

It’s not like I’ve become best buddies with my old high school friends, but it is nice to know how they are doing. Selfishly, it’s nice to know that they still want to be friends with me. As the years have passed and I have pissed off more people than I have pleased, it’s nice to know that some people still remember me fondly.

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1 Comment on "Facebook: the time machine"

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  1. kari says:

    wrinkly pear, here…i totally agree- facebook is a trip. there are some random people collecting friends like some cyber popularity game, but running into the ones that mattered is worth it.