Monday, September 10, 2007

the lonely wolf and his facebook addiction

This weBLOG is of a rather personal nature, so if that is not your thing, consider this fair warning.

I've been called a lone wolf a number of times - as a criticism for my aversion to group conformity (under the guise of group cohesion I contend) and as a compliment for my defiant independence. I think both views are fair and fairly accurate. I've always been somewhat of a solitary figure. When I was younger I tended to pride myself in my capacity to be alone without being lonely. I guess in a way, I've always felt different from others and less able or willing to fit in.

In my recent, more politically oriented life, it is a given that my unorthodox beliefs tend to alienate me not only from mainstream settler folk, but also many of my own people as well (specifically the "Aboriginals", old timers and others who just want to live their lives in peace). This gap is not insurmountable by any means, as evidenced by my ability to come to terms with family members who hold radically divergent political views from my own, or others who are relatively apathetic. I love my family of course and that love is of an unconditional nature which makes accommodation perhaps not only easier, but necessary.

My love life might be what you would describe as that of a "serial-monogamist." Between the ages of 18 and 32, I was never really alone for more than a few months and those times that I was, I was insanely busy, working a job that all but consumed my waking hours. The past few years have been different and this past summer in particular was a significant departure from the normal routine of most of my adult life. Last September, when I returned to school for the first time in 12 years also marked the first time I was to live alone, ever.

And this past summer, although technically I had a room mate, in reality I only saw him about four times all summer. Even at my summer job, circumstances dictated that I worked alone for significant periods of time. I don't begrudge my room mate or my workplace. I think I needed it. I've found that often when we fail to learn lessons, life just keeps tossing us more opportunities until we finally get it. I don't know if I got it this summer but I think I learned a bit more about myself.

Enter Facebook. I recently came across this CBC article which prompted me not only to think about my coping with being alone, but also the media desensitization and virtual ADHD that is characteristic of our high-speed wireless times. The article references a study that suggests that which most of us already know: online networking sites connect us with hundreds and sometimes thousands of people in a rather shallow way but do little to enhance real world intimacy. Now I know it is not one or the other, all or nothing, and there are often exceptions to rule, but I can account for my own incessant checking and rechecking of my Facebook inbox all day long.

I've come to realize that in the absence of real world intimacy and connection, I've at times, tried to substitute with online connections. There is a reason people call it crackbook (no disrespect to those affected by real substance abuse problems). It's cheap. It's fast, and it fades quickly. Academics say that we are overstimulated, what with hundreds of TV channels, high-speed online surfing, satellite radio, mobile phones, text messaging, and iPods.

I did have a couple of opportunities to connect with people in the real world this summer and I was reminded of how good it feels. In my radical-indigenous-political circles we often talk about theory, practice and praxis. As a student this is no more evident than upon graduation and the inevitable confrontation with the so-called real world. At one low point of lamenting the challenges of life I commented, "the real world sucks" to which a companera replied, "this is the real world."

aaniikwaa. It is what it is.

I won't say that I've figured anything out but I think I'm pointed in the right direction. I continue my commitment to add as few applications as possible to my lil Facebook pipe. I will unplug when I need to and I will attempt to overcome my social awkwardness and connect with more people in real life more often.

Sigh, the Matrix has us all (especially if you are reading this...haha).

Friday, September 07, 2007

my best comeback of the year...

[Female friend]: Where are all the real Indian men?

[Me]: Probably hanging out with the real Indian women.