A thought occurred to me today as I was creating a facebook ‘like’ page for work – creating one because I was sick of the way, with a normal facebook account, all and sundry would invite my work to take part in games, go to their birthday parties, ‘like’ their own pages, etc after tedious etc. No, it’s a MUSEUM, it cannot physically kick up its heels and down some Pimms like water at your 23rd birthday, nor can it play Bejewelled Blitz and furthermore, why the hell would it ‘like’ your chip shop? It’s a MUSEUM. Moron.
So. My thought was: I’m possibly not cut out for social media. I shared this with my colleague. “Really?” she said, voice dripping sarcasm like Dracula‘s fangs drip plasma. “You? Not cut out for social media? You who regard people as irritants stopping you from doing your real work? You who have such a clearly defined ‘personal space’ area, you’ve been known to put your hand up and stop people who inadvertently invade it? You with invisible sign above your head says ‘I Don’t Care. Stop Talking To Me’? You don’t think you’re cut out for social media? Well. My world is rocked to its very core.”
So I threw my stapler at her.*
All of the above is true, I’m barely cut out for regular human interaction let alone the online stuff. At parties I’m the one hiding in the corner by the drinks table, rictus grin or faraway look on my face; when approached by strangers I turn into Prince Philip (without the comments on facial features because, you know, I’m not a complete dick), asking in my very best fake-posh-party voice “So what is it you do? Have you come far?” Once, at a funeral I said to the chief mourner “it’s lovely to meet you.” It’s LOVELY to MEET YOU?? What kind of fuckwit says that sort of thing?
Me. I say that sort of thing because I can feel my mind go blank and my mouth go dry and my internal dialogue wind up to hyper, screaming at me “SAY something, ANYTHING!” At least I didn’t tell her I liked her shoes. Or asked how she got there. I have a suspicion that men talking about road routes are doing so because a very cruel person once told them that talk of the A495a roadworks diversion in a William Hague voice is a sure-fire way into a woman’s pants. When I find that very cruel person I will lock them into a room with William Hague and George Osbourne on a loop until their brain melts out of their ears.
On the whole, I stick to a small circle of people I care quite deeply about, feel utterly relaxed with and don’t have to worry that they’ll take my conversational malapropisms to heart. And from the moment I met them, that’s how they made me feel. Hopefully the feeling is mutual and none of them sit there, panic rising, as they try desperately to remember what I do and why I keep insisting on going round to visit. “Who is that woman, darling?” “I’ve no idea, she just keeps turning up and insisting on playing scrabble. I don’t even like scrabble. She drinks all the beer too” “And eats all the bruschetta.”
And my approach to social media is the same. I don’t have hundreds of ‘friends’ on the curse that is facebook, nor on twitter, instagram, or pinterest, just those I genuinely want to hear from, see their photos, share images we’ve found. It’s my happy little corner of the internet and no, Mr. Shirtless Man favouriting my tweets this week, I shall not click on the link you’ve sent me because you are NOT my friend and I suspect I shall see things I should not what-of if I do.
So, should you encounter a dark-haired woman looking frightened by the drinks table, or angrily-determined by the buffet, don’t worry. Offer her a drink, tell her what you do and don’t get in between her and the bruschetta. She’ll tear you a new one if you do.**
*I did not throw my stapler at her really because there are laws against violence in the work place. But there were a couple of really well-aimed paper balls, one of which actually sat on her head for a moment before she shook it off.
**Again, she won’t really because of not being a violent person, but she will freeze you with a look that withers your very soul and, if you’re a man, shrinks your testicles to the size of baby peas. It’s not worth risking it for a bit of toasted baguette with mushed olives on it, let her have them. I said, LET her HAVE them. Do I have to say it again?