Wednesday, September 29, 2010

on facebook messages

No one likes Facebook messages. More often than not, when people are forced to write one, they will go out of their way to dismiss the form of communication completely. ("Oh, sorry it took me seven months to respond to this lunch request... I really just never check these.") Everyone just acts like they're such an awful hassle... which is, I suppose, sort of understandable. It is irritating that every Facebook message is accompanied with an e-mail (which, by the way, makes the weirdly common "I always forget to check these" excuse dubious). Also, there's something about them that just feels cumbersome, as if the Facebook message is the voicemail to e-mail's text message.

This all being said, there are three occasions I can think of where Facebook messages are considered acceptable:
1) The quick dashed off observation or instruction (almost always Facebook-related) to a BFF ("check kim's new album now. lol. 36 and 40 especially.").
2) The "hey, check it out, this is a casual but flirty message" to someone you met at a bar or whom you notice has just updated his status to "back in nyc!" or whatever. These are the kinds of messages that cause you to squirm and shudder if you come across them months later (especially the ones that never got a response), but which - thankfully! - are pretty easy to block out completely once they've been sent.
3) The brief, friendly message to a potential new friend whose e-mail address you can't find/don't know. These are OK, sort of, as long as they are of the "lunch next wednesday?"/"here's my phone number" variety, and not the "blah blah blah"/"how are things at work going?" variety.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

signs a friendship has reached the "next level"

1. You don't think twice about sending him an immediate second e-mail (subject line: "also") after realizing you left out something clarifying/notable/funny in the first.

2. You feel comfortable expressing annoyance about a vague plan that doesn't come to fruition. You had talked about seeing 'Scott Pilgrim' together at Nick's party. A few days later, he texts to let you know he ended up seeing it with someone else ("It was the only movie she hadn't seen!"). And instead of responding to the text with "No problem :)" you find yourself writing back "Ah, OK."

3. You stop ever listening to his voicemails.

4. You occasionally send him e-mails with no subject line that include only a link in the body and no other context.

5. You'd rather stay in bed and watch 'Friday Night Lights' than go to that crowded brunch place, but instead of texting him "Not feeling well" or whatever, you text "I'm in bed right now watching 'Friday Night Lights' so..."

Monday, September 20, 2010

weekend, sept. 17-19

Friday, 8:45 p.m. In cab after fancy dinner with parents (who are in town for the weekend). Send out a mass text and then follow up with friends who respond - reminds me of the kind of fireworks that explode immediately but then just droop and take so long to fully disappear.

Friday, 11:35 p.m. Outside movie theater with Sam, Liz and Lauren.
Me: Weren't those trailers great?
Lauren: It seemed like you guys had seen all of them before. . . You, like, screamed at the beginning of each one.
Me: *LOL*
Sam: Yeah, it's like we were responding to each trailer the way you would to a song you love coming on at the club.

Saturday, 5:30 p.m.: Intense family argument concerning the question of who "seems" older: Katherine Heigl or Christina Hendricks.

Saturday, 8:00pm.: Two glasses of wine down. Text Sarah "Plz make sure I never turn into a 50something with a mustache who makes exasperated noises when clinking glasses for a toast."

Saturday, 10:30 p.m.: Notice there is chocolate on my dress shirt (the placement is unfortunate - when I remark it looks like blood, Liz notes that it does sort of look like I "had an Andy Bernard situation"). I change into Liz's bright orange Reese's Peanut Butter Cups t-shirt which I later get complimented on by a girl I meet at a party. "What a fun 'change of pace' shirt," she says.

Saturday, 11:23 p.m. Text from Sarah: "note to self: stop using 'get it in' and 'smush' as verbs."

Sunday 5:00 p.m. Credits roll on "Never Let Me Go." I turn to my friend and say "Should we wait around to see if there's a blooper reel?"

Sunday 11:55 p.m. Google the lyrics to Fergie's "Paradise" just to make sure I'm not mishearing the line "c'mon everybody, put down your latte."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

bon appetit

Meals in New York with co-workers/semi-friends/family friends (i.e. people you don't know super well) are as predictable as rush hour subway rides or Lower East Side birthday parties. I honestly can't remember having such a meal that wasn't marked by the five following moments, which occur, pretty much without fail, in sequence.

1. You both sit down and immediately begin a languid review of the menu, during which one of you asks the other "Have you been here before?" If the answer is "Yes," the questioner will then ask "Oh... so what's good here?" and, oddly, continue with unnecessary follow-up questions ("So... you're saying the salmon was just OK?") If the initial answer is "No," however, both parties will slump and return their gazes to the menu.

2. A minute or so later, one of you (usually the one who asked the "Have you been here before?" question) asks "So what are you gonna get?" This sparks a tepid back-and-forth that lasts roughly a minute. "I can't deciiiide between the Cobb salad and the burger..." ".... Oh, yeah, those both sound really good."

3. Once the food arrives, it's obligatory that both parties immediately comment on the attractiveness of the other person's meal. "Wow... I should have gone with that turkey wrap, huh?" "... Your fries look amazing."

4. During an awkward pause a few minutes later, mid-chomping, one of you asks how the other person's food tastes. "Good... good... I really need some more water though." (Interestingly, I've noticed that this is a question that isn't always reciprocated.)

5. The meal ends with a half-hearted promise to "do it again soon." "I've been really wanting to try this sushi place down in the East Village..." "Yeah..." "And don't forget to send me the link to that Kevin Kline article you were talking about!"

Friday, September 10, 2010

i've got mail

The first e-mail account I used with any sort of regularity was my AOL address. I wish I could remember what kinds of e-mails I sent back in middle school, but it's mostly just a blur of bright neon text, chain mail which I took very seriously ("Add the names of three of your crushes and then forward this to seven of your dearest friends") and "please be my friend!!!" e-mails masked as questions about homework ("did you understand question #3? hahahaha").

Even though I eventually started using other addresses, I kept my AOL account active, mainly for the purposes of signing up for or buying things on the internet. (I think we all have one of these probably, the e-mail equivalent of a shirt you would wear to, uh, paint in, but wouldn't wear in public, or something.) Nowadays, some ten years later (which makes me feel older than Dakota Fanning), my AOL inbox consists of 70% spam, 15% e-mails from Ticketmaster, 10% e-mails from J. Crew and 5% CNN breaking news alerts.

In the same way that some people call their parents every Sunday afternoon or take out the trash every Tuesday night, I weed through my AOL mail every Friday afternoon. It's a chore I mostly dread, but yet I persist: I suppose I like how it functions in the rhythm of my week, a turnstile of 80 or so e-mails that I must pass through to get to the weekend. Sure, I could stop checking it or just cancel the account altogether, but I know that, were I to do that, every once in a while I would be reminded of the giant heap of unread, accumulated AOL e-mails, sitting like a mountain of trash in a dump, and I just wouldn't be able to bear the smell.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

rear-view mirror

There are few feelings as great as waking up in the morning, getting out of bed and into the shower, and realizing that whatever it was that was stressing you out the night before - causing you to write spastic e-mails, or listen to a song you used to love (or hate) on repeat, or toss and turn in bed - is just nothing. It was so silly, you'll think as you brush your teeth, that I devoted any amount of thought at all to that.

Related feelings: walking down the street past a construction site and remembering that week earlier in the summer when you were SURE you had an "irregular heartbeat"; reading a journal entry from 6th grade describing how you had "hadn't been eating" after asking Alison on the phone if she wanted to "be a couple" and suffering the blow of her response (laughter and a sympathetic "aww, that's cute").