Facebook and Psycho-temporal displacement

About a month ago, Chris joined Facebook. My two sisters became friends of hers and soon thereafter, some of my high school friends began sending friend requests to her.

I was hesitant to sign up because I’d heard of some privacy issues, but after a few weeks of fence-sitting, I joined — privacy be damned. I have none at home, so why should I need any on-line, right? Friend requests were a trickle at first, but then my profile reached some critical mass and I was reacquainting myself with perhaps a dozen old-new friends daily.

So now I am back in contact with a bunch of friends from high school, many of whom I hadn’t seen in twenty years. It has been very nice to find out what kind of adults my childhood friends have become, but at the same time, it is a shock to my system. In the rational part of my mind, I know that they’re 30-somethings and have had all manner of life experiences, but in my memories, we’re all still kids.

For example, I became friends with my best friend from elementary school, K. We were schoolmates from kindergarten through about fourth grade, when he moved to a different school district. I typed his name into the search box, and then saw a picture of K’s face on a grown-up’s head and body. It was unmistakably him, but he was no longer ten years old. My memories of us include blazing trails in woods behind his house (complete with false dead-ends and hidden clearings — we were serious), making maps of the trails (I told you we were serious), playing football, his total obsession with the color orange, and going fishing in the little pond across the street. We looked so much alike and acted so much alike that people thought we were brothers. Now he’s a grown-up, owns a business, and has almost thirty years of stories that I don’t know about.

Dear reader, please don’t think that I regret reconnecting with my old friends; the truth is completely the contrary. Despite the twenty-year (and sometimes longer) gaps in our personal fossil records, having people back in my life who were big parts of my life as a boy is just wonderful. Now, if you happen to be a friend of mine that I haven’t seen since the 80’s, find me on facebook and tell me everything you’ve been doing, but please, just give me some time to adjust to the idea that you’re not a teenager.

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