I frequently hear people say, “I’m a Facebook addict.” When those words used to escape my mouth, I used to quirk my internal eyebrows a little and wonder whether it was actually true — I say used to because the jury is back on that question. I’m actually just social and with-it and quirky entertaining, right? On Monday, I and several colleagues left for a long-term assignment in London. We walked into a pretty crazy situation and since leaving the States, I’ve hardly seen Facebook or Gmail. I do believe that’s doing more to mindfuck me than 10 hours of sleep in three nights and jetlag combined.
Yes, I realize that virtual relationships don’t make up for real human contact, and yes, I’m (sort of) kidding when I tell people, “I love my computer — all my friends live there.” But I do have friends all over the country and the world, and Facebook is a good way of keeping tabs on whatever they feel like telling me is going on in their lives. Through status updates, there is also some measure of horror and/or amusement at what kinds of things people choose to share.
The isolation from Facebook has led me to beg people to send me email as to developments back home. Alison took pity and dropped me a long note last night — other people, let’s get with the program. The work is keeping us busy, but even workaholics don’t stop being social animals. Ever the ADHD-ite, my habit is to flip over to Facebook at least every hour and spend two minutes scrolling through the latest posts; that’s not happening here.
Aside from monitoring how other people’s lives are going, I go through spurts where I post frequent updates. Sometimes as Alison and I are doing things together, one of us will sum up a funny or perplexing situation with something like, “Right now, my status update would be …” Granted, I do that more than she does, because she usually thinks to just pull out her phone. I can’t do that here, either, because my Droid phone doesn’t have coverage and my work Blackberry is restricted against the Facebook app.
And I have a lot of things that I’d be broadcasting, being in England for the first time in 15 years. Among the updates I would have posted this week:
- Who the hell accidentally upgrades to first class while checking in at the airport? Oh, yeah. I do. FML.
- Who the hell gets lost in a hotel staircase? Oh, yeah. I do. You’d think the only options would be up or down …
- I would pay good money to have been fast enough with my camera just now: little English guy wearing full red/yellow Ferrari leathers and helmet … riding a Spree.
- How is it that our hotel is in the Redlight district, and still no one talks to me on the street
- Hotel room lights that only turn on when you put your keycard into a slot are a fine idea, unless you blow a fuse plugging in a Blackberry to charge. Yes, front desk, I know it’s 2:30 AM. I’m trying to work.
- Surprisingly, I don’t find English accents all that novel anymore, or have the urge to mimic them. Maybe that’s a sign that Ricky Gervais is on American television too much.
- New rule: when in a foreign country, you are not allowed to use more than two local slang words per hour. Not within my hearing. This is for you, teammates.
- I keep forgetting that you’re supposed to drink lots of water to combat jetlag. Beer has water in it, doesn’t it?
- Hi! We heard you were swamped on this engagement and flew in from the U.S. to help. What? You’re going on vacation. Oh. When? TOMORROW?!
- Apparently, successful formula for naming a pub: “The ___ and ___”, “The Black ___” or “The White ___.” If you are in London and the pub is called otherwise, have a good time with the Americans and Germans inside.
- One pence is worth two cents. Clearly, since all the British people are intent on giving me theirs.
Anyway, those are the ones I remember. I’m not sure whether it’s more or less fun getting them all in a glut, or whether it provides some insight into my reaction to London. Either way, this is how my communications seem likely to come for the next three or four weeks, so subscribe to the blog if you miss having me on your wall. I have lots to say, but I won’t be saying much of it on Facebook.