AFTER THIRTY YEARS, I SAW MY FRIENDS AT FACEBOOK
Time flies fast. Life is just a moment. Memories linger longer but after a few headlines, it flicker into oblivion. In the end, names, accomplishments, records, affairs are completely forgotten.
A bubbly healthy and cute person hugging life would one day transform into a crawling, ageing specie courting death. That’s the cycle. That is inevitable. There are no side streets; the path is straight, narrow as it were, and without traffic. The end is always there.
But there are two places where time is frozen but these are more artificial than real. It may be a bit surreal but it is better than nothing at all. One is prison. A person locked down to serve time, say for 20 years, may have carried the flaws of his behavior that pushed him to commit infraction, the very passport to imprisonment, yet his time remains the same.
During the period, time would be ignored. It must be wasted literally. Freedom should be achieved by disregarding reality. Until finally, liberty is handed over. It looks more of a rebirth than reinvention.
In a digital world, there is another space where time can be frozen aside from a penal facility. There is Facebook. One’s timeline within this page captures the essence of existence.
There is more functional movement in FB. One can post as many comments he can express—emotional or hilarious, philosophical or pedestrian, quotable or foolish. He can even copy and paste on his wall every angle of his face, adventures and misadventures for all he cares.
Unlike in prison where most of the time a person buries himself out of pain and humiliation, in FB he is there open, enjoining even the world, inviting everyone, to share positive and negative images directly from his mind. Both suspends an instance and at the same time measures a person’s condition. In both situations, the person can express everything he intends to impress to his universe. Meanwhile, he remains in command of his time, in command further of how he wanted to be viewed in time.
But there is a difference in terms of understanding. When I saw a client in prison after three decades, I was surprised to find the fellow hale, sharp and upbeat. He must have adjusted well in a very restrictive environment. Except for a few age related wrinkles, the fellow is physically fit and about to enter the mainstream of free society.
In my FB account, I was also surprised to receive an unexpected link. It came from a classmate from way back the Jurassic period! I could no longer reconcile how my friend looked like. In my mind, while I know he was my classroom buddy, his recent photo, assuming it was his real picture, there was a marked difference. He has changed except that his language, his nostalgic reminders remain static and frozen in time.
Three decades or thirty years may have been a generation already. It could have been an ordinary period used and wasted, spent and used, consumed and recycled, but it remains the same even by stretching another sequence.
Serving time in prison may have stopped a spell after a while, but in FB the spell continues—even when the person is in life hereafter.