Authentically South African

I’m sat in a small, green painted restaurant that sits just opposite Table Mountain. The mountain slopes up towards the yellowing, pinky sky, and I’m thanking the owner in my head, who’s winding a handle on a long stick connected to the outside roof, to pull up the canopy umbrella back so that we can all get a better view. Everyone else is eating though, and it seems to be just me watching the Capetonian sunset unfold.

It’s my second week here and I’m on a mission to eat only African cuisine. In light of this, my internship co-ordinator has brought me to a restaurant, where I am currently opening up a huge, laminated menu filled with 100%, authentic and original Thai food. He promises me this will be like no other Thai food I’ve tasted, unless I’ve been to Thailand (which I have), but I can’t help but wonder why he’s brought me here. Authentic food is authentic food though, and I sit down, shut up and choose from the juicy list. We get spring rolls to start. They’re the freshest, crispiest and oiliest rolls I’ve ever had. I don’t even think I’ll need a mains course by the time I’ve finished with them. Succulent doesn’t even cover the grounds that these spring rolls took me to. All the while though, Table Mountain stands tall behind my friends, and its majestic presence seems to be goading me: “why I don’t just go to Thailand?” The owners of this fabulous restaurant are British and Thai, and so far the only thing authentically South African about this place is Luigi- my internship coordinator. (And the fact I’m in South Africa.)

 

The table next to us just gets their food. And it looks lovely. So I call over, “Hey, what’s that dish?”


“Hello!”

“Hi, what’s that dish?”

“This one?” He points to a deep set blue and white bowl, filled with delicious, yellow noodles and shiny onions.

“Yes! What is it?”

“Noodles.”

I want those noodles. “I think I might get them. Are they nice?”

Before I can say anything to the contrary, this big, balding, South African man spoons up a healthy portion into a separate plate and waddles over to me, brandishing this dish, a monk with alms.

“Try some.” He proffers, with a big smile.

I’m torn. My British tinglings are telling me this is all wrong – no one willingly shares food with strangers before they’ve eaten themselves, from a separate table in a public space. But these tinglings are minor sensations on the periphery, and my eyes are glowing and I’m beaming as I take up the fork.

“I’ll spoon it onto my palm.” I insist. My British bones refuse to allow me to germify his fork.

 

And of course it’s nice, though of course I order something else anyway which is not actually as nice. But I sit back, happy, as the waitress comes round again to order my main course: Because I’ve experienced something South African. Their inimitably friendly culture.

Bourne’s Swan Lake

The elegance of his production was found mostly in the transformation of his cast. After the show I waited outside the stage door and met all the young men who played the swans, and found trouble recognising them without their black face paint. Though they all had shaved heads. Each of them donned an Urban Outfitters shearling jacket, or a pair of edgy hoop earrings. None of them carried with them the power they did on stage; they smiled at me and signed their programme profiles with boyish charm. Bourne transformed them into menacing creatures with his bold choreography, and marked a turning point in ballet and contemporary dance.

The production was riveting, and intense. Story was told through modern costumes and exaggerated gestures, in a modern day club, and with the fussing of an overly attentive mother who forgot to love. We felt the Prince’s plight whilst also sympathising with the iciness of he mother. Though perhaps not enough to sympathise when she fails to hold her son’s hand when he’s ill in bed.

Though the production was consistent in the reaching of climaxes and reversals in scenes, some were overly flabby for time. The scene where the Prince meets the Swan was one such instant. The scene went on a bit too long, and the swans who riled around their leader had a  bit too much stage time for me. Though perhaps I am being impatient, for although the scene went on for too long Bourne made it obvious the Prince’s meeting with this swan was not ordinary. He had to work for it. A quick and amicable meeting would not have packed the same level of satisfaction as when after five minutes of to-ing and fro-ing between the Prince and the Human, the lead Swan finally held him up.

The Lead Swan visits the Swan just before the curtain break, in human form, and seduces his mother. Ignoring the Prince, he focuses only on the women, driving him to madness and ultimately a gun. A shot is fired at the Swan by the Prince, and instead he hits one of the women in attendance. The Swan then turns a gun on him.

Not shooting, but instead relinquishing, the Swan is forgotten but the guests put the Prince in a mental ward where he waits out the rest of the story. He gets no love from his mother, and is only visited by the Lead Swan, who is attacked by the rest of the swans for doing so.

Here we have an interesting contrast between the betrayal by the lead swan of the Prince, and then the betrayal of the Lead Swans by the other swans, and vice versa. Even the mother betrays the Prince on some level. she doesn’t show him enough love, and ends up losing him to the lead swan at the end: They both die.

A play about treachery then, and betrayal by those you held close. By relinquishing control to the animal within you. The one that is pride, elegance, brutality: The Swan. Was Bourne highlighting the brutality of desertion and betrayal with the casting of the swans as men? Probably not, but a theme that is brought out and held up to the question by virtue of it. The triumph of both the Swan and The prince in death highlighted the betrayal they both suffered whilst alive. it almost seemed fitting that a mother should have to find her son dead as revenge.

Afterwards, I waited by the stage door with a lovely older lady. This lady had been doing ballet when she was younger and thus spent all her pensions going to the ballet and the theatre. She boasted all the cast’s signatures in her programme and was specifically waiting for Liam’s- a dancer who hadn’t been performing that night but who she assured me was in the production. In fact she said, he was the original Billy Elliot in the original cast performance.

She also informed me, after greeting many of the dancers by their first names, that most of the dancers switched roles every night to save on boredom. “You were a sexy minx tonight” she cackled at one of the female dancers who had danced sexily in black sequins as the Lead Swan seduced the lot. She told me this dancer had played the old queen for the matinee.

Not only did these dancers know their own steps then, they knew everyone else’s. Talk about working hard.

All the dancers were lovely and gorgeous to look at. Most of them were humble too and were shocked that I even wanted their autograph. For many it was their first time dancing in a production. After meeting ten or so of the male swan dancers, all of whom had their heads shaved, I felt one of the gang, a non-dancer but fully fledged member of the crew. A guy came out next who had hair though, so I thought PAH an extra.

‘Why do you get to keep your hair?’

“Well as a prince I get out of that one.”

Any chance of looking suave was gone. I was just a fan girl with an old lady who was running rings around her when it came to socialising with the gorgeous swans. He was the lead, of course. In my favour I was high up in the circle so I could pass it off as not recognising him. On the contrary though he as the only one without hair. And gorgeous. And probably the only straight guy I’d met. I didn’t deserve his number.

They were all normal seeming boys; one of them commented that he liked my jacket, and in fact I can see the appeal of doing what this lady had been doing…

She said she had already been to about three performances of this production already and was standing outside after each to get their autographs. She had even gotten Matthew Bourne’s that afternoon. Dedication.

I almost enjoyed our conversation about her life as much as I did meeting the stream of handsome dancers that were pouring past us. (And of course the production itself) After an hour we parted ways, each of us laden with autographs. She said she’s see me at the production of Romeo and Juliet in the summer. I asked what date was she going? And she said Thursday.

‘Which Thursday?’

‘The one in June’

It’ll be up to Miss Serendipity.

 

Exploring A Dream

Where better to explore than the land of dreams… if you manage to record them you can read them back and pick it apart…

I was in a gameshow. It resembled Love Island. Participating were people my age, though we were all separated into groups, like on Britain’s Got Talent. We were all wandering a huge house with empty rooms and grand staircases. I had some new pet rats, and there were people from my childhood and my high school: A girl I didn’t like in school who was a b**** in real life and a bitch in the dream was unfortunately there, as well as my twin (who I love), her friends and lots of other people. I got through the first round of the game show though I can’t remember what we had to do, as did Uni friends, my twin, the B**** and then it began. Not sure if it’s significant but some of our old teachers were there too, as well as some made up ones who were really fit. There are always good looking people in my dreams.

What was amazing, was that in the dream I knew the public could hear me, as there were microphones everywhere. I knew that they’d agree with me and hopefully vote her out. It felt great. It was like Justice had been served without the need for a big confrontation. It’s like when people say ‘”God knows. Don’t worry, God will make sure them pay.” But for me it wasn’t God that knew, it was the audience.

Then we were deciding what our talents were going to be, as it was BGT meets Love Island.  My twin was saying she was going to perform a snorkelling show in which she would look for drugs from a drugs raid that had sank to the bottom of Ocean. I don’t know how she was planning on doing that act, as Snorkelling isn’t even a talent of hers, but I remember being very impressed with the ambition and faith that BGT could provide that size and function in a set. May we see a rise in a new kind of television show?

As I woke up, I thought, ‘How great would it be if this was the way that your entrance to Heaven or Hell was decided? You entered a house that was based on all the shitty reality shows and game shows we’re inundated with whilst we’re alive, so we all intrinsically know how to play, and then we let the public of Heaven and Hell decide who gets in. Obviously we would need to monitor those from hell voting, because they might vote great people into Hell just because they get an evil kick out of it. Conversely, people from Heaven might vote bad people into where they are because they think they deserve a better chance. In fact this idea would never work, because people would end up exactly where they didn’t belong. Then, both Heaven and Hell would become more and more diluted until both were pretty much the same. And then we’re back to how it was on Earth.

Meta…

Uber’s are worse than black cabs

Bold statement. Definitely. Black cabs are avoided in the street as the plague was avoided, I assume, by the villagers of rural, NHS-less England. In fact, I would say I avoid black cabs to the point that I even forget they are cabs. They’re just menacing presences that prowl the streets for drunk suckers. However I don’t drink, so not only did I jump in, but I jumped in sober.

I jumped into the cab as my uber ‘wasn’t accepting my payment method’ (I will pay you uber just give me time.) So Uber wasn’t letting me pay – far more to their detriment than mine. Just as I thought my number was up and i’d have to slum it with the foxes (which I have done before- different story), up prowls one of these black cab lurkers. And my companion hailed it down and insisted this was my ride home.

What I had hitherto accepted blindly was that Uber is all transactioned virtually, and pretty much forces you to pay whatever it wants. It charges more when there are ‘surges’: so basically when they’re making more money they decide to add even more. We just pay because they’ve trained us to forget how to take out cash and ring up a taxi company. Like little iphone wielding monkeys that pay them in cash instead of peanuts (poor joke).

But luckily for me, I had stone hard cash- I actually had about £60 on me but I thought i’m not going to let this sucker sucker me out of money, so I told him “I’m sorry I only have £10” THE CHUTZPAH. When was the last time I did that in England? Morocco maybe but not cobbled street Manchester. But we haggled! We negotiated! We had such fun, at quarter to 1 in the morning on a Thursday, beneath the moonlight, haggling with what made us human: Our communication. We were communicating. Never would an Uber driver allow you to say, “Fancy only charging me a tenner?” and get away with it. No. We enjoyed ourselves enormously, and he agreed. A tenner it was. There was real, human interaction. None of, “The computer says no”. We got to decide our fates, standing like glittering angels beneath the christmas lights that were hanging just outside of House of Fraser on Deansgate.

Uber has denied us our humanness. It has taken away our opportunity to get away with stuff. Everything is decided for us and we just go along with it because it’s ‘easier’.

Well tonight I said no. But tomorrow I will definitely say yes. Who can look a ‘two minute away’ gift horse in mouth?

Seeing without eyes

Have you ever been lucky enough to see without eyes?

I was introduced to the phenomena at Sensibility Festival, a festival which explores new ways to develop accessible and multi sensory arts practise. It requires an open mind and an active engagement of the other senses. What I found maddening is that we can all do it ourselves anyway, without a specific exhibition to show us how.

As a volunteer steward I worked with the exhibits for two days, and was privy to the experience of having my eyes finally opened…

by closing them.

Visual Creatures.

The eye’s retina, which contains 150 million light-sensitive rod and cone cells, is actually an outgrowth of the brain. According to Seyens, in the brain itself, neurons devoted to visual processing take up about 30 % of the cortex, as compared with 8 % for touch and just 3 % for hearing.

It stands to reason therefore that we are more focused on what we can see. We all know men are meant to be visual beings (think lingerie, lingerie, lingerie.)

However, what if we couldn’t see? Or what if we saw the world through touch instead? How would that affect how we saw?

The Touch Revelation.

Over the two days I volunteered at Sensibility, I worked in instillations that encouraged the assimilation of these wonderings.

My favourite exhibit had  reams and reams of drapery hung down from the ceiling, to create a room reminiscent of the wardrobe Lucy walks through to access Narnia in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. In the scene of the movie, she runs her fingers through the different fur coats, and you can feel the oppressive intensity of them pressing against you in your mind as you read. What you see in the movie is all the coats, but what you feel is much more impressive. It is the close proximity, the stifling stillness, the compact nature of the wardrobe that lasts the impression.

This exhibit took me back to that feeling I had reading the book. I’m not sure I would have had the same startling flashback had it been a picture of the exhibit. What’s needed is the material to touch, to let the fingers play.

As I showed people round the exhibit, and explained what the creator of the room had intended, I realised I had not followed the advice I was giving to them.

I was not closing my eyes.

The creator of the exhibit’s clear instructions had been to close your eyes and let your thoughts run off what only your fingers tell them.

It was fascinating how different the velvets, embroidery and rough starch felt once I had taken away the primacy of those 150 million rods and cones. Suddenly bumps became like mini road blocks to my hands, each thread made itself known and my meeting with the material became more present. I felt surprise at the immediacy of the dips and curves that suddenly came and went. With that 30% of the cortex disengaged, the other 8% had become more beautiful.

As a volunteer I was catering for those who were less able-bodied than others. This event was inclusive for those that couldn’t see, those that were deaf and those that had learning difficulties. Each exhibit was designed to enthral everyone, no matter what their level of abilities were. Food was incorporated, exhibitions that played with sight and musical instruments permeated the excited sounds that were a constant from those that passed me. I felt part of something bigger whilst standing in the same spot for hours on end.

Never have I been further than those two days that I learnt to close my eyes. Those who came too, experienced an exhibition that was for once engineered for them. Life is represented in more ways than just the visual, and if we pay attention to even just the feel of the wallpaper, our lives will run deeper.

 

Yoghurt instead of Death

We’ve forgotten what’s important, as we follow blogs from people who tell us what they had for breakfast (sorry to the person who knows I follow them and recently blogged about yoghurt for brekkie). It’s just not the stuff of dreams, or existential thinking. What makes us human is our sometimes annoying, but very human ability to philosophise and reflect. When everyone and their Instagram-using hamster is blogging about what they had as their ‘I missed the bus’ late morning snack, we somehow lose the important stuff that matters. We didn’t finally learn how to scribe, and record ideas for Socrates to write out what grapes he was going to smush up for his after party dinner drinks, or for Homer to skip out all the stuff about Odysseus and write out his top tips for getting on with your boss.

Maybe I’m being harsh- I’m sure if writing was more accessible and education was more abound back in the olden days more people would write more shit. In general. Also, the dilution of what we read must be a good thing, as we’re not constantly walking round in a haze of existential dread and balking at every busy road crossing: we are not constantly in need of literature that spells out to us our greatest fears. Perhaps what we write about hasn’t got more minor and elusive to what’s’ important; maybe we’ve just democratised what’s important, and focused on the stuff we do know: like how to win a guy who belongs to the bitch over the road. I love writing and reading stuff like that. Especially when I’m on the toilet.

So when you’re stuck in traffic, and staring at something long enough to remind yourself of the randomness of it’s existence, you may get scared. But just remember someone’s always on the other end of that motorway in a semi-detached house writing about the crucial integration of Vegan yoghurt into our daily habits.

Nighttime….Day time!

You walk up the stairs and it’s pitch black. It’s ten past one in the morning and you left all the lights off upstairs when you went down to make toast. The world has a different perspective, and the taste of vegan butter is sinking into your tongue and dribbling out your mouth all at once.

Have you ever noticed the different dimension the world takes on when you’re in complete darkness?

You will always put your hands out, like stabilisers, and also as a guard. Even though you know your house like the back of your hand, you worry that something unseen will be there, to trip you up. Even though in reality there is nothing. Though, bizarrely, in the dark you always seem to trip over stuff which you would have instinctively avoided without noticing it had the lights been on. There is a strange irony in seeing more in the dark.

And so hands out, and steps awkward and flailing, you manoeuvre yourself out of the bedroom door. The world seems bigger and smaller, all at once, because you don’t know where anything is. Possibilities are endless. Your eyes are open and yet you can’t see anything which is a humbling experience, and you become a little bit lost in an existence so dependent on sight. It reminds me of those blind cafés where they keep you in pitch black, and have blind waiters lead you to your table so you can experience life without sight. It’s not the same when it’s not a paid for experience.

And when you do finally find the light switch with your rather impatient hand, or you step through a door way and see the light coming out of a previously hidden bedroom, your whole perspective changes. It get’s smaller, a little bit more familiar. You realise the way you were looking at the world is no longer needed. It’s a bit disheartening when you’ve spent so long grasping this new perspective.

Maybe there can be an analogy drawn between changing your perspective when you’re in bad times and then good times; the importance that acknowledgment is. There are existential links in everything and sometimes it better just to look at it as plain ordinary.

When you start making existential links you know it’s time for another piece of toast.

Jobs and Ass

You walk into a bar and notice a guy with a cute, little, curly hair thing going on, and he’s ordering a drink. It looks like an expensive one, but you don’t want to look too hard at it or it’ll look like you’re confused by it. Nice. You eye him up, saucy. Do you give him the look, or do you wander over to the blonde number who just walked in? He’s standing over by the mirrors so the rest of the room can see him reflected 8 times more than you can. Jealous. Your attention is suddenly torn by the spicy ginger slouching by the piano. You imagine he sings you Elton John’s “Our Song” and you start to tremble.

Now you know you could make it work with any one of these hotties. Lets be honest. If they have the similar, basic values and their interests match with yours how do you pick?

Jobs are like Men. Or women. You can probably make it work with anyone really but how do you pick? Sometimes it’s hard when you know the field you want to get into, but not the specific job type.

There is no set, perfect job- just like there is no set, perfect partner. Polyamory could always be a pretty fun route to go down, in the same way being contracted to write for different magazines could be awesome. It’s not as sexy though. Probably quite stressful.

Screenwriting is the elusive man who seems to good to be true but you realise you just need to drop everything else and bow to his commitment issues. He’s  clingy. He’ll take up all of your time. For some reason the path to becoming a screenwriter seems magical but I t’s just hard work. Just like every other job. I was on the train the other day and someone saw I was reading a book on writing movies and they started going “oooh making movies” as if I was reading a book on making potions out of cat’s heads. IT’S A VIABLE CAREER.

Until you manage to carve out the space for screenwriter, or reach that perfect marriage, there are other partners you could be equally happy with- if not more so! Journalism seems awesome. Journalism is like that brunette with the sexy fringe that doesn’t say much- instead she just looks at you from above her notepad with a chewed up biro.

Publishing may look over from across the room, with his cute round framed glasses and the blonde mop. He’s gorgeous, as well as sufficiently nerdy to never threaten adultary.

They’d all probably be equally satisfactory at delivering…job satisfaction.

So why not dabble for a few years in each, and see which one floats my boat the most? Have fun between the sheets of the job industry, and remain consistently picky in the dating world. That seems like a plan.

What’s wrong with waitressing?

Have you always wanted to know what it’s like to be a waitress? Maybe. If you’re curious. You may see us as sub humans or in fact, super humans. The truth is (staggeringly): We are humans, bringing you plates of cooked food, hoping you will enjoy your experience enough to tip us.

But I made an equally staggering realisation the other day: I love waitressing. I love it. I love everything about it, getting to take a group of hungry people to a table and sit them down and promise them food. That’s about as nice as it gets in a legal establishment.

Really though, it’s the people you meet. As I work in a chain restaurant, with branches across the UK and USA, we get alot of different people in. Work meetings, work lunches, first dates, second dates, marriage dates, we-don’t-have-the-kids dates and the occasional semi celeb who happens to bop on over. We also get families with adorable little kids who distract you for 10 minutes and so food that you should have ran has gone cold; We get crayons flung and papers scrunched but those adorable little smiles get you through the next hour until your lunch break.

I’m not saying all the people are nice. Four weeks into being a waitress I actually told someone I hated humans a little bit more. But I think that’s subsided. I’ve just learnt that not everyone is a good egg, which everyone realises at some point… And now i’ve had Class A training in dealing with them.

So, who have I encountered….?

I once had a big family sit down, with an obviously very chauvinistic, masculine father. I came over and told them, ‘Hi my name’s Hannah, I’ll be your waiter today.’ I was having a strong feminist-ey vibed week, and was trying to promote calling all servers, ‘waiters’, just like the acting world had started calling all actors and actresses, actors. This man though, turned round and said, “But you’re a waitress” in a very pompous tone, and I just turned to him and said very matter of factly, “Well actually I’d like to go by waiter because it’s the 21st century.” You could have heard the teeeeniest needle drop. His family were stunned. I knew I had lost my tip. I tried to turn it round by then conceding, and saying ” You can call me a waitress though”-promptly throwing my morals out the window and trying to claw back customer satisfaction. (He wasn’t so much a bad egg, as a set-in-his-ways egg.)

One bizarre encounter I had was, when trying to take a bill from two big, chain wearing, bling repping lads who were on the way to Notting Hill Carnival (though it was 2pm in a branch I was working at at the time in Birmingham so I’m not sure what they wanted their eta to be). They were discussing girls in the bedroom. Not super displeased about the topic, but I was when I found out they thought that women should never be dominant in the bedroom, on pain of death. They said, “Why would a girl try and be a man? Nahhhh, don’t try and be a man, that’s a man’s job.” I just clanged my tip tray down very loudly and yelled out “Would you like to pay by cash our card” before his friend could answer. Because I would have wanted to responded. And I wasn’t representing me, I was representing my company. Plus I think dominating in the bedroom is great.

fire walk with me diner GIF

Waitressing introduces you to new people, with a rapid turn around, meaning you meet about 50 new people every couple of hours. It’s exhausting but rewarding. I’ve served French families completely in their language, to practice my french, and I’ve served a Norwegian Playwright who gave me his contact details so we could write together on a day we were both free! Who needs LinkedIn when you’re a waitress?

But…”what are you going to do next?”

I have my copywriting course that I’ve bought online, I’ve got my master’s degree sitting on the shelf and I have options….but to the family members who are constantly asking when I’m going to get a real job, or when I’m going to do something with 4 years of Uni…it’s time to change the record.

Being a waitress is not an easy option, it’s hard! You deal with complaints all day, you have to act as a go between to the kitchen and the front of house when things (always) go tits up, and you need to keep the customers (and the chefs) happy round the clock. You learn how to work well in a team, how to pick up the slack for others and when to give some of yours away. It’s actually taught me alot about remaining professional when all you’ve wanted to do is slap someone in the face.

And so yes, I am looking for jobs that will make use of my degrees and take me into the writingsphere, but until then I am quite happy learning how to be the best possible waiter I can be. It might be an in between job, but, ma familia, that doesn’t give anyone the right to push me to find another, or ask when it will end. Because I am proud of my job and (sometimes) enjoy the long hours, and for now that will have to do.

waitress apron GIF by Tony Awards

I Deleted Facebook!

Doesn’t it feel weird, that deleting a social media account should hold such gravitas that it warrants an exclamation point to be put at the end of this blog’s title? That an online profile which I use to post pictures and chat to people should have it’s claws in me so deep, that to delete it seems like the biggest deal in the world?

When did I realise Facebook was the devil? Was it always the devil?

About three years ago I realised that I spending too much time, energy and care on Facebook. Like everyone else I guess, I figured that these negatives were necessary for the bountiful positives that Facebook afforded me: Gig offers for DJing, Social Media presence (whatever that means) and a way to connect to my friends. What ensued however over the next few years was a gradual disillusionment with at least two of these points.

In terms of landing me gigs, it did. People would see pictures of me Diing and message me to ask if I wanted to come and play at their venues. A lot of them were paid, alot of them weren’t, but all were fun. I got to show off to all those with access to my account (note how I don’t say ‘friends’) how I had become quite good and successful at pressing some buttons and working a crowd. N.B I love Djing and do not mean to patronise the art, but rather wish to poke fun who actually think it’s something worthwhile showing off about. I perhaps was probably one of them.

OMG
Did I tell you about the night I’m DJing at next week?

Apart from this gig landing, Facebook did rather little for me, in comparison to how much it took. It hoarded all my information- which we know thanks to the Cambridge Analytica exposé- and sold it to clutching buyers; it used addiction methods to keep my eyes and brain glued to the site, triggering my happiness and sad responses to keep me in a constant state of emotional turmoil; it made itself my companion, to turn to when I was feeling low or in need of a pink-me-up. It became, in short, a monster.

Imagine if one of our friends did all this to us? If a friend sold information about us which would then be used to manipulate us, would we stay close to them? If a friend purposefully kept us in a state of emotional distress by telling us nice things, followed by sad things and then worrying things, one after the other in quick succession? What if this friend made us believe, without them knowing, that we needed them for a pick-me-up? With the amount of time we spend on Facebook it’s shocking to think that some people don’t think it has become this illustrated, pseudo best friend.

facebook GIF
Who cheers you up more? Facebook or a Friend?

When a few of my own friends started deleting Facebook I realised how right they were. And seeing them do it made me question why I hadn’t. And so I did! Last week. Two days after my 23rd Birthday. (Happy birthday to moi, thank you.)

Facebook is for the common folk, as World of Warcraft is to nerds. (No offence meant- WoW is probably quite fun)

Facebook is a slippery, slimey, wormy, leech. It makes us put in our details, like our age and birthday, but we voluntarily give it our attention, our care and our energy. It’s like when people used to make fun of the computer nerd stereotype, who spent hours and hours a day playing PC games such as World of Warcraft or Runescape (I played Runescape too, no judgement, it’s a sick game) Why did we make fun of them? Why did films and society at large make fun of them? Because we could not believe that someone could remain cooped up at a screen all day when all the social fun was to be had outside!

pc jenkins GIF by South Park

I mean- wasn’t the inventor of Facebook an angry nerd?

cia GIF

Does he want us all to be like him????

(Speculation)

How has quitting Facebook been so far?

Well, I have spadefuls of energy and time to do all the things that truly matter to me- and I’m not exaggerating. In between shifts at my job, I go to the library when I have more than an hour, and read new plays, take notes on books I’ve bought and enjoy myself intellectually.  It’s crazy how only a few months ago, I thought spending just two hours a day on my phone was a small amount!

About a year ago I got the app Moment, to track how long I spent on my phone. I was averaging 1h30min-2h-30min a day and that’s good; some people I asked were spending 6 hours a day just on their phone. And yes, that involves watching Netflix and Youtube but isn’t that still bad? Isn’t that still reminiscent of the nerdy kid stereotype with no social skills that sat at his games all day instead of interacting with the real world?

Going on Facebook seems worse than the gamer stereotype, as at least games are their passion, and they can create friends within that world…Facebook obsessors are passionate about…themselves?

Split Personas

Facebook to me seems like a spitting of ourselves. We spend so much time on this online presence that we split ourselves into two- a virtual one and a real life one. How much energy do you think it takes to successfully an healthily manage both? Probably more than we can manage to give out. As humans we have evolved our output rapidly in the last hundred years, and our brains still haven’t caught up with us yet- we’re still using emotional responses from the hunter gatherer periods of our lives, and we’re trying to navigate this technological jungle with them!

Interestingly I read that because of our advances in agriculture, only 2% of the population are farmers now. We have freed our time up to create the technology we now know, but it seems we are now potentially consumed by it. Already our pseudo version of ourselves online has as much effort and care and maintenance put into it as we do our real selves. I for one have deliberated for days over which Facebook picture to set as my Profile Picture; much longer than how long I have ever fretted for over what to wear for a party.

What’s next? Will it stick?

Yes. Hopefully. I’ll write more blogs about how it’s been, living without Facebook, and what I’ve noticed. I want to do separate blogs on who I’ve lost contact with because of deleting it, and if that is a bad thing?It’s hard to see who you’re just friendly with, and who you’re friends with on Facebook. Deleting it has freed me up to see that. I’ll also write about what I’ve missed out on, as what is the point in glossing over any negatives of deleting Facebook? But so far, I have no regrets. Deleting Facebook was probably the best decisions I’ve ever had the wise counsel to make.

 

bbc three millennials GIF by BBC