Facebook entered my life in June of 2007. I know this because thanks to its murky policies of ownership and through the implementation of the Timeline, it has stored and made possible for me and everyone to see every single thing I’ve ever posted. Often with cringe-inducing results (if nothing else, the Timeline has shed some light on what an idiot I was in 2007).
But back then it wasn’t the all-encompassing beast it is today. Not everyone I knew was on it. I didn’t go on it every day. It wasn’t yet ubiquitous. It hadn’t yet shuddered its bulk out from the muck and risen from the depths to swallow me whole into its belly, where I’d live forever in dim blue light, subsiding on photos of people’s lunches and videos of their drunk friends.
That transition, from casual social aide to vital social vehicle, happened so gradually, in fact, that by the time I realized how huge the role Facebook played in my life was, I couldn’t remember what I’d done before it. I think I might have been a hang glider, or played chess really well, or something. I probably read books. Hell, maybe I’d even had a job.
So I decided to do a little experiment. Partly a challenge to prove to myself that I’m not an addict, and partly an attempt to better myself. One week without Facebook. One whole week. I deactivated my account, I deleted my phone app, and I prepared for what I assumed would be an entire week of full-steam-ahead, unbridled productivity. And masturbating.
What follows is a series of unexaggerated and unedited journal entries from that week.
Day 1: This really isn’t so bad. I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult than this. It’s already lunch time, and I haven’t really had an urge to log on. This is going to be a piece of cake!
About to go to bed. This is going to be easy. There was one moment this evening where I was tempted to go on, when a friend texted me “hey u not on fb anymore?? was gonna post this awesome cat vid on ur wall”. Other than that, it’s been going great. I really wonder what that cat was doing, though. I bet it was hilarious.
Day 2: Bit of a rough morning. Didn’t sleep very well last night. I wonder how many people have noticed I’m not there anymore. Right when I woke up I went straight for my phone and had a moment of panic when I couldn’t find the app, but then I remembered. Haha.
Had a rocky start, but the rest of the day went smoothly. Hardly thought about it at all. Still kind of bugging me what that cat video might’ve been about, though. I was really productive today. I mean, I didn’t get anything written, or do the laundry or dishes I’d planned on, but I did watch five episodes of The Wire.
Day 3: Okay, starting to get a little antsy. I can’t remember if there’s something going on tonight or not. What if there’s a cool, last minute event that I’m going to miss because I don’t get the invite?? Maybe I should just check it real quick, just to make sure no one’s trying to contact me about something really important. Then I’ll log back out right away. I swear.
I had a moment of weakness earlier, but I overcame it. I didn’t log on, I was strong. Instead, I took a bunch of Ambien and slept through the afternoon so I wouldn’t even think about it. Now it’s almost midnight and I just woke up. It’s time for me to go to bed, but I can’t get back to sleep. I better take some more pills.
Day 4: i don’t need fuckin face book or anyone who uses it for that matter too. They can all go fuck themselves because theyr all a bunch o f JERKS anyway. I got still like half of this 40 of gin that’s all I need. Ya know what facebook? I’m gonna go on twitter because I don’t need you. I’ll go on twitter and I’m tell celebrities what I really think of them. You think your so great stephen Colbert just because you have a tv show. I’ll show you. What’s Stephanie’s number? I gotta text her too and tell her what I thnk of her boyfriend.
Day 5: Things got out of hand yesterday. Made some very regrettable decisions. I can do this, I’m a grown man, I just have to stay strong. I’m going to leave my phone at home and just ride buses around the city all day until it’s time to go to bed.
Day 6: I never realized how white the walls of my apartment are. If I stare at them long enough they start to breathe. I threw my laptop into the fish tank, and I’m writing the rest of this on the breathing walls with a mix of fish blood and ashes from the fire in which I burned all of my clothes. There’s a man in my apartment. He won’t let me look at him. Every time I try to he moves to a different place. He’s wearing black doctor’s scrubs and speaks Latin in a piercing tenor. Whenever he speaks, my head is filled with images of torture and genocide. I bet he knows what happened in that cat video.
Day 7: My experiment is over. I’ve reactivated my account, and I can feel order rushing back into my life. Not much has changed on Facebook, and it doesn’t look like I missed much. I’m at an internet terminal at the public library. I’m afraid to go home. Everything is smashed, and there is feces everywhere. I’m fairly certain I threatened several of my neighbours with bodily harm or Sumerian curse. It’s all pretty hazy. I’m worried that the police will be waiting for me. Perhaps I should leave, find a new city to call home, and forget this whole ordeal. It will make a good story one day. A story that I can share with all my Facebook friends. After all, I can take them with me wherever I go. Even prison, right? Because now that I think about it, I may have murdered my landlord.