Hats off to your laissez–faire attitude about the beautiful dinner you guys cooked up at the beach this summer. I was cracking up at the joke you made in the caption ("Looks like we're eating outside AGAIN. Oh, well…") under the snapshot of the gorgeous lobsters. The potatoes looked amazing fading off into the blur of a shallow focal range that ends at the saturated greens and yellows of herbs, and cornbread, and lemon garnish on the left just below where the sunset creates the lens flare that bounces off your icy bottle of beer. You must've literally JUST pulled that cold one from the tub or cooler I see there on the right next to your, hello, preternaturally attractive mate (unthinkable that they're whiling away weekdays toiling over files and phone calls in a room someplace like the rest of us rubes. They could be making in one day what the rest of us are paid in a month if they would just model, already).
The wit in your status updates is delightful. The real life version of you always seemed intent on cornering me into a night of drinking wine after work so I could listen to you go on rather humorlessly about money problems and the usual rash of petty resentments against family and colleagues. But the Facebook version of you is one languid little paragraph of blurted bon mots after another. Like last week when you typed:
"Sitting at the car dealer trying to figure out why I need fifteen thousand dollars worth of optional accessories. But I won't drive anything less than the new Infiniti… guess I was royalty in a past life :)"
This Facebook status update was a zinger compared to the previous week when your real life status update consisted of drinking a gallon and a half of Rosé at Loco Gordo's to the refrain of:
"I have to find a cheaper gym, I can't keep spending this much on my hair, Kevin is a dick, I have to find some ways of cutting back, I hate Jan, I'm screwed, I… am… screwed! Face it, we're all doomed."
Then you said you were too stressed out to eat your half of the cheese and shrimp stuffed roasted poblano appetiser we ordered. You just kept drinking wine. You said you don't like Mexicans. Two or three times, I think. You kind of yelled it, actually. At the waiter. Well, and then at the table next to us. And then to to nobody in particular; kind of to the ceiling of the restaurant. But I think it was the Rosé talking because The Facebook version of you likes three different multicultural organisations that endorse free trade and celebrate Hispanic arts and cuisine.
Judging from your wall photos, it looks like you never quite know what's going to cross your path on any given day: longing for the five lazy days of summer you spent in Wyoming; a gorgeous sunset that seems to have appeared from an amber-greenish-orange era past; suddenly finding yourself in another city one weekend seemingly caught unaware of your thirty-day advance purchase of economy plane tickets to get there; a fancy meal in a restaurant that you're, for some reason, taking immense pride in; impromptu shopping trips that overshadow the layoffs and cutbacks where we work; you name it…
And I am crazy about the fact that the Facebook version of you is spiritual bordering on religious and philosophical. The real life version of you is, to be blunt, pretty quick to judge people for believing in anything more than reasonably priced alcohol, entry level luxury cars, restlessness, and chronic dissatisfaction. But the Facebook version of you has spun an enchanted web of a bio that feels like a cross between Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement speech and the mission statement of an idealist's filthy commune that I long to spend my remaining years on:
"Life is a temporary celebration of something larger and eternal. It is a shared path, sometimes traveled at different times than our fellows, but never traveled alone. Wealth is not measured in money or possessions, but in love and experience, ideas both created and imagined."
That bio gets me weirdly pumped up, even just recalling it here. I want it to be true, and it feels like it certainly is true, at least while I'm under your spell of artfully rendered snapshots of a life going lavishly according to plan, peppered with status updates from days that never fail to overwhelm you with their spontaneous gifts, no matter how simple or exciting. The Facebook version of you is the kind of person I have always wished I knew. And in a way, now I do. Here's to not seeing you in real life soon!
Image via Comical Concept
Dan Kennedy is the host of The Moth storytelling podcast and author of ROCK ON: An Office Power Ballad. Find him on Twitter at @DanKennedy_NYC.