The Middle of the story can be summed up quite easily: David S. became my very first really-and-truly Facebook Friend yesterday. It was a lovely surprise - almost too lovely. At the heart of it beats a simple truth that all of us (really) find some amount of validation in being noticed. And that's all there was to it - the pleasure of being noticed and acknowledged without ever expecting it. I think that might be at the core of the Facebook phenomenon. Maybe.
Beginning and End can now be told.
In the Beginning, I created a Facebook account to just annoy the Hell out of my 16 year-old daughter, BandGeek. I have teased her pretty consistently about her massive circle of Facebook Friends and how that whole world seemed to be a little short on content or substance. They Tag and they Poke and they write on each other's Wall - and I marvel at it just a bit.
To grok this meme, she suggested I create my own account, and she went so far as to add me as her Friend. Several minutes later, she removed me as her Friend. Parents, I'm told, should not really 'social network' with their kids. Bad things can happen. Information can go astray. Her advice: maybe find some Friends more my own age.
So my account sat there unloved, unused, Friend-less. I hadn't made much of an effort to seek out anyone on my own. And then Middle came along, and you know that part of the tale.
In the End - which is not really the end but just what I was doing a few minutes ago - I decided to poke around a bit inside the Facebook world. I kind of get the drift of things, I suppose: commenting, following others, just sort of keeping in touch in a multi-casting kind of way.
I started to search around for people I knew (or used to know). That's the true power of Facebook: making connections across geography and time. I found a few people I knew from school, and that was pretty cool. There were names I hadn't thought about in years. There were some names that were familiar somehow, and yet not.
And then I ran across Her - an old flame from my college days. She had a picture posted, and it punched me in the gut without the barest hint of "Look out, stupid!". I haven't been in touch with Her in more than 20 years, but the power of encountering someone from the past - someone that resonated - is pretty powerful stuff, indeed. No, this isn't middle-age crisis territory. Rather, I think it's just a new path for some old memories to claw their way to consciousness - a shortcut heretofore unknown.
So, yes, the End of the story seems to be about ghosts and what to do with them. I may reach out to some of these spectres - give them form and substance by shining a bit of light on them. Others will probably remain as wispy memories, worth a smile and nothing more.