In addition to starting a new blog, completing a couple of triathlons, touring with a Foreigner tribute band, and re-grouting my bathtub, I’ve joined Facebook.
Yes, yes, I know. After waxing philosophically about privacy concerns and other pitfalls, I finally caved. I’ve changed my status from “Conscientious Objector” to “I’m Here For The Kitten Videos.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still concerned about privacy, but in the end this was the only way I could pry into my children’s lives and know where they are and what they’re up to at any given moment.
So far it’s gone much better than I’d expected. As some of you suggested might happen, I have reconnected with some old friends and family, in time in fact for the birth of a baby and the adoption of a puppy. Facebook envy started just about the third day when a friend posted a description of her morning pain au chocolat at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, but I got over that. Truly. I’m fine with it.
I’m learning to like it.
One of the things I like and dislike about Facebook is reading my son’s dispatches from what MapQuest tells me is 5585 miles away. I know that number because I looked it up while I was on the phone with my son, who was calling from the emergency room, some 5585 miles away.
Let’s break that down:
My son was calling me. Not good. He rarely calls me. There’s an inconvenient time zone difference, plus he’s 20-something and living a full and happy life, completely self-sufficient and financially independent. He wasn’t calling for money or for help fixing a flat tire.
He was calling from the emergency room. Not good, but a little good. I originally thought to write that it’s a mother’s worst nightmare to get a phone call from the emergency room, but that’s not true. My worst nightmare is much worse. Also, it was his voice on the line, so he was in good enough condition to call.
I might not have received this call if not for my new and maternal presence on Facebook. He knew I’d be reading, so he wisely braced me for the impact of the news.
First, he posted an exciting status update about buying a motorcyle. (You see where this is going, don’t you?)
I wonder if Tom’s mother will sign my petition.
(photo from the movie Top Gun, Paramount Pictures, 1986.)
I held my tongue because I’m a firm believer in the Star Trek Prime Directive. I didn’t want to intervene and alter the course of destiny . . . yet.
Also, I remember the way cockroaches would scatter in the kitchen in my first apartment right after we’d flip on the light. To immediately post my disapproval of this horrifying turn of events might send him scattering for cover, thereby defeating the purpose of my new presence on Facebook.
So, I remained in stealth mode. Watching. Waiting. Praying for the best. Hoping the peer pressure from his colleagues would be enough to dissuade him from this new “Maverick” image he seems to be cultivating. (Don’t get me started on the tattoos. Yes. Plural.)
A few days later, after several discussions about Warhammer that left me and several others completely confused, I saw glimpses of the cool kid I shipped off to the far side of the planet.
Instead of saying so out loud, because it is every young man’s worst nightmare to have his mother posting on his Facebook page, I sent him the following private message:
I signed up for Facebook to know how things are going with you. Two weeks later here’s what I’ve learned: you have some sort of Steve McQueen death wish, which I’d have been better off not knowing, and apparently you speak Klingon. Quite frankly, I’m disappointed in the dearth of kitten videos. I was told there would be kitten videos.
To which, the sweet, funny kid I handed over to the real world replied,
At your request:
I can’t believe I fell for it.
While I was distracted by the cuteness of a kitten eating sour cream, Maverick apparently soared off on the highway to the danger zone, crashed his bike, and ended up in the emergency room. Thankfully, his injuries are minor and he will be fine, but he hasn’t yet agreed to give up the death machine.
Here’s where you come in.
I know you’re feeling as helpless as I am and you’re wondering what you can do to help. Or maybe you weren’t feeling that way, but now that you’ve started to read this section, you’re sort of feeling like maybe you should because everyone else is. I’m grateful for your concern either way.
I’ve started a petition to convince him that 5585 miles is a long way for a mother to be away from the scene of any future, more serious misadventures. I call it “Maverick’s Mother Against Maverick’s Motorcycle.” My goal is to get 1000 signatures. I doubt that will convince him to do anything he doesn’t want to do because he has a stubborn streak, which I am not ashamed to say he inherited from his father. But I had to do something and those petition things seem kind of groovy.
If you aren’t interested in signing the petition*, which you can find by clicking here: (link removed because the petition site asked for too much personal information) you can just leave Maverick a note in the comments section below. If you’re any good at mother-guilt, you’re encouraged to lay it on thick. He seems to have developed an immunity to mine. Let’s rally, people!
And if you’re pro-death machine, don’t try to distract me with cute kitten videos. I’m wise to that now.