Facebook on my iPhone was my cigarette. Maybe it was the way my life had been diced into tiny bits for work, family, and self-care, but it had taken over all the in-betweens. At red lights I found myself checking. Walking to school pick up, I found myself checking. Moving around I found myself thinking about what people would think if I snapped a shot of my kid’s creepy drawing all over her belly and her nipples with a red marker or a Grandma Rambo Grambo poster in a neglected Staten Island pizzeria. I imagined Facebook friends’ comments before they’d even happened, carrying their cyber voices around in my life, living in a real-virtuality that gave me periodic twitches and more opportunities to slip away from writing, grading, cleaning, driving, sleeping, hanging out.
Toward the end of May, I noticed some friends posting a lot, maybe too much? It gave me that sad feeling. The same sad empty feeling I’d get after checking my account 5 times in 2 hours. It was the beginning of the summer. Time was opening up. I could see it and I could see it gone.
The fear of the Facebook vacuum sucking my soul and my summer up slipped into my dreams and into my shower the next morning as I hatched a plan. I turned off the water, quickly dried off and hunted for my phone. My finger weighed on the tiny app icon and I watched it jiggle. The x popped up. One tiny tap and poof! I felt the fear rise, the summer open up, and the warm blanket of time and possibility seep into my shoulders.
Facebook was still there and it was still a cigarette, but I’d flushed my pack down the toilet and exchanged it for those moments when you bum one from a friend or snag one quiet moment away from the storm.