It seems people make a big fuss about their parents being on facebook. I often think of what Mama Alice would have been like on the book. Facebook is essentially my mother’s dream come true: a way to stalk her children from the comfort of her own laptop.
My mother was forced to use antiquated methods to track my whereabouts. When I was in college and living with my boyfriend I taught an 8 o’clock class meaning I didn’t finish until about 9:30. Every week she’d call my apartment to ask my boyfriend if he was going to pick me up. I assume mother-type guilt jujitsu was incorporated in the form of, “You’re not going to make my baby take the bus, are you?” Every time without fail they’d have the same conversation.
“Yes, I’m going to pick Lauren up tonight.”
“Oh good. I don’t know why she does these things. She’s always been like this. She makes me so nervous. She could get abducted!”
I’m not sure my mother ever made the connection that at 20 it was unlikely I would be abducted in Dupont Circle at the late hour of 9:30 p.m.
Undoubtedly she would have parlayed this act on facebook when she launched her very own profile. My guess is she’d take on the persona from her protesting hippie days and use facebook as a platform to advocate for progressive political change. And of course she’d be leaving me long-winded voicemails:
“Lauren, there are a couple of boys who keep liking your status updates, what does that mean? Are you dating anyone? You would tell me if you were getting married, right? I think you should meet a nice boy who is honest and humble. Are you going to have children? I think you should name your daughter Mary Alice. What about your brother? Is he dating? There was a suspicious comment on one of his pictures. Call me!”
It would have been a great source of hilarity for me, not a nuisance as others suggest. I heard Jon Stewart describe facebook as a platform where people express their individuality or “specialness.” I disagree. Facebook is a platform for people to express their similarities. Those similarities build community and the type of human connection people desire. It is very unlikely that I would have stayed in D.C. or moved to Massachusetts if my mother hadn’t passed away. Instead I would have given her chronic agita by moving to Europe, which would have inevitably led me to Southeast Asia, or so I’d like to think. Had that been the case, I would have reveled in reading my mother’s facebook updates, comments and facebook theory-type commentary.
And I’m sure Simon & Garfunkel would appear somewhere in her profile. I haven’t done this in a while but a song dedication for this evening: The Sound of Silence, a Mama Alice favorite.
Fun facts: The Sound of Silence was written in February 1964 by Paul Simon in the aftermath of the November 22, 1963 assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. After adding audio sweetening and being re-mixed, this commercial version has been called the “quintessential folk rock release”. In the U.S., it was the duo’s second most popular hit after Bridge Over Troubled Water.