I sometimes feel as though Facebook gives me way too much information about people's lives. Because of my live feed, I know about casual acquaintances' rampant back-and-forth relationship statuses.... Ann is now single, Ann is now in a relationship with Ryan, Ann changed her relationship status to It's Complicated. I found out that my high school music teacher left his wife via Facebook. Even though I knew my sister and her live-in boyfriend were on the verge of splitting, Facebook provided me with the official notice before the phone rang. Pregnancies and births are old hat at this point via my home page. Hell, I found out an old friend was getting breast implants from her status updates.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Since we've covered relationship statuses and medical procedures, apparently tragedy is the next big ground for Facebook to seize onto. One woman I know detailed her mom's heartbreaking sudden diagnosis with terminal cancer, starting with "Carrie can't think of any way to tell Facebook her mom is dying" to "Carrie's mom died today." Psychgrad previously wrote about someone whose mourning led them to post pictures of their dead mother.
Last night, I was scrolling through status updates, when an old high school friend's caught my eye. "Rebecca is shocked. RIP Anton." My mind immediately goes to Anton, a mutual friend, whose mother used to make us chocolate chip pancakes, who had a catapult in his backyard, who played a mournful song on the saxophone in the school courtyard when Marissa died, who was tall, quiet, and unaware of all the girls pining after him, who is now studying art. I shoot her off a quick message, asking her if it was indeed that Anton.
I start clicking through other friends pages rapidly. He is not on Facebook, but his sister is, and her profile picture is of her and him in the outdoors. There is nothing out of the ordinary there. I know that if the update was "RIP John", I might give it some passing thought, but Anton was too rare of a name for me to just discard it. I hate myself for wishing this misfortune on another Anton, not my Anton.
We curl up on the couch. I watch TV. I try not to ruminate, as I know this is my pattern, and there is no use grieving until I know the truth. I also know that, in all probability, it is someone else. At the same time, I feel a little guilty laughing.
No reply by midnight. I crawl under the covers. I dream that I log into Facebook and have many, many messages, all from Anton and I's friends. They tell me he had a recessive genetic condition that let to him collapsing after having a few drinks. They share memories of him. In this dream, I am checking my laptop in bed, so when I wake up in that same bed, it takes me a moment to shake the feelings off.
Still no message from Rebecca when I awoke. I start to vaguely resent her for putting up these words, for not knowing how many people would see them and worry about our Anton. At the same time, I know this is not fair to hold someone in mourning to my standards of logic.
Finally, at 9:08am, one line. "No another Anton."
She changes her status to clarify this, and I see she has joined a group in memorial of this Anton. He looks young and happy.
And I lament for the people who are going to find of his passing by an invitation to join a Facebook group.