It’s complicated with Facebook and me.
On the one hand, I absolutely adore Facebook. I love that it allows me to stalk other people with such a peripatetic grace and ease. I love that I can peek into the not-so-secret nooks and crannies of other people’s often carefully curated versions of themselves. I love that Facebook is proof of Pavlov, that every time I see a little red number at the top of my status bar I'm reminded that I am NOT ALONE in my love of grumpy cat/ appreciation of an indie music video/ alignment of political belief, so much so that I salivate. Really. It’s kind of gross proof, but it’s proof nonetheless.
And then there’s this thing I do with Facebook, an automatic response, actually, to certain posts that I find offensive or dull-witted, that I like to call the digital eye roll. It's shameful but I love it. I’m almost certain I’m not alone in this, and though it’s not a very nice thing for me to talk about out loud, I’m totally subject to the basest of my instincts despite all my namastes and protestations to the contrary. Trust me, if I could sat nam my way out of being a bit of a bitch, I totally would, but alas, I cannot.
Here’s what makes my eyes roll involuntarily: masters of the humble brag (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), and posts that ask others to withhold judgement. Really, isn’t the whole point in posting something to be judged, so the little red number pops up in the status bar and we salivate? Isn’t that what we’re asking for when we post vacation/ baby/ cat pictures/ political rants/ links to our annoying blog that we want you to read and participate in, a judgement? Facebook is 100% about this-- we are begging people for a reaction, and we don't get to ask for only a positive one. You don’t get approval without disapproval in the same way you can’t expect to be all things to all people. It’s simply an unnatural impossibility.
I actually find the judgement of it all kind of refreshing in this regard. But it also means there is almost always at least one other person in your friends list that will agree with you, no matter what, which sometimes makes you (and by you I mean me) think you can continue to be a dick in an unchecked fashion. But that’s kind of fun, too; I love to cut and paste dickish things that people post on Facebook into a document for my future amusement and that totally makes me an asshole. I plan on making a day by day tear-off calendar of all of them someday (and trust me, I have a pages upon pages of this stuff) if I can tear myself away from Game of Thrones and taking pictures of my cats long enough to hit command-C and command-V in a word document.
OK, so backing away from my not-so-nice digital eye rolling, here’s where my relationship with Facebook falls apart. I’m kind of tortured by some status updates; happy ones, in fact, and it makes me feel incredibly bad about myself that I can be this petty and un-evolved. Because I really do believe that love and joy beget love and joy and that there is more than enough for all of us to go around. That others’ happiness, even those that you may not feel deserve happiness because they’ve caused you pain (though we’ve all been both the recipient and the giver of suffering), is something that should fill you with the certainty that you, too, will feel joy and happiness. Because if “undeserving” people are feeling joy, then clearly "deserving" people (such as yourself, naturally) will, too. It’s a selfish thought, but a true one, at least I think. And I’m not withholding judgement, I think we’re all both deserving and undeserving. We’re complicated, whole and messy in our own distinct pettiness and in our generous beauty.
There is a Facebook friend of mine, a deserving one, that is a respected acquaintance in real life, that for some reason causes me to retreat into dark places in myself. She is beautiful and tall. She is both really smart and well educated, which is especially cool because sometimes, a lot of times, those two things don’t go together. She’s about a decade behind me in life, give or take a year, and she comes from what I think (I don’t actually know) was a happy home. She did everything the way you’re supposed to, not the way I did, and she dated the right, few, men. She is never lazy. She had a very high powered badass job right out of business school and now she’s in a successful business of her own. She’s funny and charming and delightful and she is a good friend to a lot of equally interesting and accomplished, delightful people. And, according to my Facebook news feed, she got engaged to a really good looking, equally pedigreed and sparkly person on Sunday.
And I guess this is the point where the good and bad parts of my relationship with Facebook collide and explode ever so perfectly, with great bursts or red and white streaming lights. I “see” these little pieces of her here and there through my passive stalking (I can’t ignore her engagement over there in its seemingly permanent prominence in my side bar), and even though I know that nothing is perfect, that we reveal to people what we choose to reveal, that all of us are receivers and givers of both joy and pain at any given time, I feel some particular pang of sadness in her happiness. And that makes me feel terrible, because I am truly happy for her. But I still want to retreat into some low-level pity party of my own at her announcement of joy. It’s so twisted and illogical.
She’s just an archetype, though she’s a real person, too. She’s the road not taken, my dreams unawakened from. She’s a reminder of the passing of time and of the fact that my knees can’t handle my workouts like they used to. She’s a wistful, nostalgic memory of a past that I never lived and a wake up call that every minute I focus on any of these things is a minute that I’m not living in the moment, the now, in the service of nurturing my own soul.
I think I’m going to have to hide her.
But I’m making waffles first.
buttermilk waffles with blueberry compote
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
Preheat a well-seasoned or non-stick Belgian or standard waffle iron. Preheat oven to 200°F.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir in buttermilk, butter, and eggs, stirring until smooth (batter will be thick).
Spoon batter into waffle iron, using 1/2 cup batter for a 4-inch-square Belgian waffle or 1/4 cup batter for a 4-inch-square standard waffle and spreading batter evenly, and cook according to manufacturers's instructions. Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm, uncovered, in middle of oven. Make more waffles with remaining batter in same manner.
David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop
Yield: 1 cup
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons kirsch
In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, heat the blueberries and sugar until the blueberries begin to release their juices. Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and lemon juice until lump free, then stir the slurry into the blueberries.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for one minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the kirsch. Served chilled or at room temperature.
Storage: This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
About the waffles: this is a really easy batter to whip up on Saturday night and throw in the fridge for a fast, delicious waffle on Sunday morning. Honestly, don't waste your money on pre-made batters/ mixes from the grocery store, it looks like there's much more effort involved than there actually is in making them from scratch. I ate waffles made from the leftover batter from the breakfast-palooza for several days after-- it was how I lured people over to help me clean the kitchen. It was a win-win for me because I got both praise for my hostessing ("homemade waffles, how divine!") and a couple of bottles of champagne as a thank you…a thank you for helping me clean my kitchen. Imagine that. I must have done something really, really good in an earlier life because I certainly don't deserve my awesome friends and their generous amounts of gifted and delicious boozery.
So now I'm going to go to Facebook and post that I have a new entry on this here blog and expect for people to interact by clicking on the link. And I'll wait to be judged. And I know at least one other person will pardon me for being a dick because there is safety in numbers.
PS: I am truly happy for your engagement/ baby/ vacation to Anguilla. Really.