Someone should have warned me about Facebook. When I signed up a year ago, very few of my married mommy girlfriends were on there. I naively nosed around a few fishing groups and ended up with a gazillion fishing friends that I didn’t know. Nothing wrong with that except they now had my first and last name, and some of these dudes were creepy. A few bad eggs will just ruin it for everyone.
It was a full-time job to monitor my Facebook Wall which filled up with messages from total strangers who were always “Partying At The Playboy Club in Vegas” or “Recovering From a Six-Day Bender.” Not to mention writing lecherous messages about me.
Sad really, because I grew up in a family that was pretty open and embraced the notion of befriending a stranger. On family roadtrips to Colorado my dad would inevitably pick up some hitchhiker. It was always exotic and terribly exciting to hear their story and blend lives for a short while.
Once, when we were living in London, my mother went to Russia with a friend and they brought home some graduate student who didn’t have a place to spend the holidays. I swear I think we hung a stocking for him on our mantle.
Where did those days go? A simpler time when hitchhiking was the safest form of social networking and travel brought real human characters into your life.
I will say, we had a taste of it in Montana last week. Through an organic chain of events, The Professor and I met up with fishing-guide writer, Gaper, and his buddy Spinner. They were tackling the same stretch on The Big Hole. Now I can’t keep track of all the personalities and screen names over on The Drake site, so it was well into our boat ramp banter when I learned that Gaper is in fact the much-ballyhooed author of the AK Chronicles.
Knock me over with a feather! An urban legend…the blogger that gets a book deal. That’s like the guy who shows up in LA to be a screenwriter or the doe-eyed optimist who arrives in Nashville to be a songwriter. I was terribly uncool and starstruck.
Gaper, however, was the epitome of cool, as was his buddy Spinner. They were a riot actually. When we met them at the end of the day at The Melrose Bar, they appeared to be multiplying, arriving with a third guy. Turns out the extra fisherman, Mike, had been fishing alone on the banks of The Big Hole so they loaded him in their boat as they floated by.
Thank heavens they did because Mike brought a whole different layer to the story. He is a young golfer who played one British amateur and two US amateurs, including nailing a hole-in-one at Eastlake. Initial pass as a professional golfer didn’t pay the bills so he is headed to southern California to be a caddy. While working his way across the country toward that tour of duty, he was living out of his car in Montana, fishing out his final weeks of freedom.
Our boat ramp socializing continued over on The Missouri as well. I ran into my summertime buddy, fly tier Bob Lay, and he and The Professor became fast friends. On a particularly windy day we ran into Bob in Craig. Too windy for him to fish in his little one-man craft so we convinced him to join our float. Such fun! Stories galore and dry fly fishing til dark.
Granted hitchhiking is probably not as safe as it was back in the 70s, but the characters that come in and out of my life on the boat ramps of Montana are priceless. Facebook can’t compete with that.
That said, apparently in the past six months everyone I know has joined Facebook. The other day I was chatting with one of my best friends from high school. She was laughing that our upcoming reunion would be so boring since everyone was already up to speed on Facebook. What? She gave me her username and password to log onto her profile. Sure enough, there were all my friends, yucking it up, sharing pictures of their kids, swapping tales. It did look pretty fun. Damn.
But I’m holding firm in my Facebook boycott. I can always thumb a ride on her profile when I need to take a little spin and catch up with old friends. I’m sticking with blogs and boat ramps to meet the new ones.