This is a follow-on from Most of what I know about social inequality.
A few months ago I finally joined Facebook. Although I had said emphatically that I would never do it, and after being a bit proud of being the only person I knew who didn't use it, I was sick of being hassled about it. So I joined. It's not such a bad thing, I suppose, but I still don't feel good about it. Anyway.
So a few weeks after I made my Facebook account, a little message appeared. It said, "Josh S. would like to be your friend!" He had friend-ed my Mum too, and she had sent me an email asking me what to do. She didn't want to be his friend, but didn't want to be rude, and she was asking what I was going to do. I didn't know.
So I accepted, we're Facebook friends. I didn't want to do it, because I didn't want to talk to him. I don't know why not, but I don't like talking to long-lost people. All that catching up is just tiresome and depressing, maybe because we never have as much to say as we should. He called me once, about a year after he left my school, and I had nothing to say except "how do you know my new 'phone number?" I still feel bad about that.
As soon as I accepted his friend request, he posted on his wall, "I just got back in contact with one of my best ever friends!!" I was scared by his enthusiasm, I hoped that he didn't live near me, so that he wouldn't want to get together. Fortunately for me, he now lives about 700km away (but planning to move again, though, he says).
We talked a bit. He met a girl in year 11 and now she is his fiancée, he lives with her and her mother. He finished high school a year after I did. He is unemployed, but a few days ago he applied for a job at Coles (an Australian supermarket chain). He plays bass guitar and still likes to draw, mostly anime.
When I knew him, his mother was pregnant with her fourth child, a boy. She smoked and drank. Now that boy is in primary school, and she has had two more boys since then. He said that his Dad is sick and probably doesn't have long to live, the result of lifelong alcoholism. I don't remember his Dad drinking more than mine, but then again, I don't even remember his Dad's name. The way he spoke about it worried me a bit, because he seemed very indifferent about it. I don't know, maybe not. Maybe something happened between him and his Dad in the last 6 years (or thereabouts). He said that his sister and her boyfriend are trying to conceive. As far as I recall, she was at least two years younger than me, which makes her 17 or so. It's not a nice thing to say, but all I can think about it is, "at least it'll be intentional."
I suppose that none of this really adds to the story, but I had a mental picture of Josh's life after I knew him, and now I know some of it. I was right about his fast-expanding family. I was right about their habit of moving somewhere new every couple of years. I was wrong about him never finishing school. Right now, I don't really have any strong feelings about him, one way or the other.
Is this what Facebook is all about?