Thursday, November 13, 2008

Memory Bank: The Case For Facebook Being More Than Just A Massive Timesuck

Out of necessity I've become an excellent online stalker. I'm the one people come to when they want to profile an ex-or-potential boyfriend/husband, see what an old college rival is up to these days, or find dirt on a snooty mom who snubbed them at school while dropping off kids. I've had to hone my skills because, until recently, there was no Facebook. Now I can retire from virtual PI work and focus my attention wholly on my craft, with short breaks for the results of stalking that Facebook does in my stead.

Facebook was made for people like me who love/need to know what's going on in everyone's lives but are not that keen on actually communicating to get that info. In Facebook you make initial contact and then sit back and voyeuristically enjoy the ride, peeking in on people's lives whenever you feel the need (read: hourly). It's entirely justifiable, though because I find Facebook is flooding my subconscious with memories, which are key for a writer. Grade school, high school, college; my own spotty memories get fleshed out with every new friend request and accompanying one-inch photo that pops up on my screen.

Becasue of a recent Facebook friend request, this morning instead of waking up with the conundrum of bittersweet chocolate vis a vis peppermint ice cream, I woke up thinking about 1987-88, my senior year in college. I'd moved out of the Kappa house and into a rental, dubbed The Kasbah, with friends Pam and Wendy. It was an old house that had been remodeled and it had super-shiny hardwood floors that we thought were incredibly posh. We named it The Kasbah (the K made it krazy!) because of the Clash song—no one would ever come off campus and visit unless they thought a party might break out, so we gave the house a name that engendered the feeling that it could really Rock At Any Moment. Parties never did break out though, because while other girls in other houses were filling garbage cans full of Spodi Punch with 151-proof rum in halter tops and mini skirts, we sat around in our nightgowns—remember the long, nun-like Lanz brand that had what looked like a lace-trimmed bib?—and played How Much, a game that dominated our social lives that year.

How Much was a simple game; one person came up with a rude, crude, or simply unsanitary dare and then the lowest bidder would do the deed. For example, I’d ask How Much to lick the mop after I’ve cleaned the bathroom floor. Wendy would say ten bucks. Pam would say three bucks because she never really grasped the nuances of the game, like underbidding to maximizing her payout; if this were Wendy or me we would have bid nine dollars and ninety-nine cents. So then, I would mop the bathroom floor and she would lick the mop and collect three bucks.

Pam always won at the foul-bordering-on-deadly deeds (things like chewing on raw chicken skin for 25 seconds), Wendy always won at the public humiliation deeds, and I always won when it came to eating large amounts of things that grossed other people out but I secretly liked. Just between you and me, you wouldn’t even have to pay me to eat a whole jar of mayo, but apparently this was gross enough to be valued at around twelve bucks. Ten bucks just to eat a whole cube of cream cheese? Bring it on.

Wendy always slept late; although she was enrolled in the University, you would never know it. Pam and I actually got up, dressed, and made our way to campus everyday, if only for a cup of coffee. Wendy preferred to sleep in, enjoy coffee and breakfast in her robe, and then get down to cross-stitching. She was a Leisure Studies major—there really is such a thing—so she could get away with this most of the time. She wanted to be a stewardess so she could cross-stitch all over the world.

While we had scrapped together real furniture for the living spaces, we lived at ground level in the bedrooms. If you had walked into my room with, say, one of those cones that dogs have to wear after surgery to keep them from licking wounds, and you could only look side to side, you would think the room was empty. I had a mattress on the floor, a wooden box for a nightstand, and milk crates to hold clothes and books. Nothing in the room was taller than two feet. When I sat on my bed it seemed like a rich life. We had hardwood floors, didn’t we?

Thanks for the memories, Facebook. I heart you.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're kilin' me. Who chews on raw chicken fat? Funny funny post.
CDG

AC said...

So funny! One of my college friends wouldn't eat "white condiments" (mayo, alfredo sauce, etc.) so she totally would have paid you a ton of money to eat the jar of mayo or the brick of cream cheese ;)

Christy Raedeke said...

AC - I know two people who are afraid of white condiments, too! I didn't realize this was a wide-spread phenomenon. Albinophobia?

I guess you'd call me an albinophile.

Anonymous said...

I heart your funny, irreverent missive...

It is astonishing that you lived through chewing on raw chicken skin and licking mops -- YUCK! Caution: Do the kids read your Blog?

I would still wear Lanz gowns if I could find them!

Barb

bluelikethesky said...

I'm having the same experience with LinkedIn, too. It's where I've unearthed the folks I couldn't find with FB stalking skills.

Hardygirl said...

Okay, I left a comment last night, and it's not here. Hmm. . . .I'll repeat

I had the Lanz FEET PAJAMAS in the same print as the picture that you show . . . in college . . . in a coed dorm. I was some kinda sexy babe.

Anonymous said...

Lanz of Salzburg...ask Scott, I'm sure he has some delicious visions of me in one. I seem to remember visiting adjacent dorms visiting cute boys...in my gown. Thanks for the memory.

diane

Christy Raedeke said...

I'm going to start a new Facebook group called Fanz of Lanz! It seems that people I like very much have had a storied past with Lanz nightwear...

Suzanne Young said...

This is the funniest post EVER!!!! omg. haha. Can I write a story about the mop-licking? I love it!And as for Facebook... sheesh. I can't deal. It's like reading the bathroom wall.

And I always HATED being on there! hahahahahaha

Carrie Harris said...

I'm going to have Rock the Casbah stuck in my head all day long. Not like this is a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

CR:
Between the Lanz and the Leisure Studies major you brought it all back with startlingly sentimental clarity, or maybe I'm just an emotional basket case right now anyway. I was surprised you left out Prince Puckler's and Rennie's Hideaway though.Regardless,well done.
KMB

Cathy Gersich said...

next you must write about the poopmobile -- you know what I'm sayin'

holly cupala said...

Laughing...cringing...commiserating...this was a great post for my first visit. I never thought of using Facebook in such treacherous-to-the-stomach ways.

Katie said...

This totally made my night!!!!!! This was just the hilarity I wanted to experience! Oh! and those Lanz gowns!!! How did you remember the brand - link and all???!!!

OMG - you crack me up! SF and I have a friend here who we always want to be our biographer. You should def. try and write some non-fiction, funny college and mom stories!!!!

REALLY. You have the gift :-)

Christy Raedeke said...

Holly - welcome! Glad you had a chuckle.

Katie - thanks for all the exclamation points - I live for comments with lots of exclamation points! I could never forget Lanz gowns - one saved me once in very heavy traffic - perhaps one day I will blog that little gem of a story...

Disco Mermaids said...

OMG, CR!!!!!!!!

Laughing so hard, I can't keep my mac-n-cheese down!!!

You are the master (mistress??) of detail. The mop-licking, the Lanz-wearing, the chicken-chewing, the cream cheese-chugging...you kill me!!

Man, I thought I was the Queen of nasty college stories...you've dethroned me!

Well done.

xoxo
Eve

Lenore said...

Facebook is good for checking up on people's lives without writing an e-mail - I mean I would write e-mail if someone would actually write me back :)

Rita said...

Your "How Much" post is gender-bending my mind. I thought that stuff only happened in housefuls of guys. (And straight guys, at that.)

I love living low, which is what I call the look of our college bedrooms. I'm forever trying to recreate that in my current bedroom. (Still got some tall hand-me-down furniture to get rid of.) I think we sleep better, and have more fun.